Travel to Paris FAQ’s

by Weekend In Paris
Travel to Paris FAQ’s need answering

No question is a dumb question when it comes to preparing for a trip to Paris. Below, please find answers to the most common Paris FAQ’s.

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 10.36.09 AMQ. What’s the weather like and what should I wear?

A. I usually answer that question with a few questions of my own first. What are your dinner plans? What are you doing during the day? Are you a stroller or taxicab kind of person? My recommendations are general guidelines for summer in Paris (upper 70’s during the day and low 60’s at night).

Pre-pack options that include cute comfy skirts for daytime, walking sandals and crisp white tee shirts. Throw in a colorful cardigan sweater if you get cold easily. Always plan for rain – bring a light jacket with a hood. Pack a few options for pants at night, black capris if it’s very warm and long pants in case it’s cold. Pair pants with a stripe, polka dot or silk long sleeve blouse and a jacket or dressy sweater for night. Wear with a stroppy heel as high as you are comfortable wearing. Change your look each day with a whimsical scarf. Add a pop of color with a pair of red shoes.

Don’t go out and purchase new clothing to go on the trip, find what you feel good wearing in your own closet. Save your money for buying chic new pairings to go with the basics you packed.

PlugBug Converter Plug for Paris

Paris FAQ’s include what converter plugs to buy – PlugBug is one of my fav’s

Q. Should I bring a blow dryer? If so, what type of converter plug do I need for Paris?

A. Five star hotels have good, reliable blow dryers so this is one item you can skip when packing. Your cell phone will need the converter plug so go ahead and bring that no matter what level hotel you are staying at. The French use the two-pronged plug. Four star hotels usually have decent blow dryers, but check first with the concierge to ensure that they are hand-held versions verses the built-in kind which most assuredly are the type that resemble a vacuum hose that blows, verses dries your hair with hot air. If you are at a three star, definitely don’t risk having bad hair days. Bring a dual wattage dryer and converter plug or contact the hotel ahead of time to confirm what type of dryer they provide.

Q. How many Euros should I bring? Where should I buy them?

A. Did you know you can get currencies delivered to your door ahead of time? You can also arrange to have your money waiting for you at your airport of departure or you can pick up currency at a location close to you through a company called Travelex. Forgot to get money ahead of time? Don’t panic! Each airport has contracted service companies to provide money exchanges. There is a large fee involved, however, if you are unsure as to how many Euros you will need, some exchanges allow you to purchase them with the “buy back” option where no fee is charged to convert Euros back into dollars. Your personal bank usually has the ability for you to order Euros at the best rate of all.

Your best bet, however, is to take cash out from ATM’s. They offer you good conversion rates and many banks don’t charge you a withdrawal fee. Check with your bank before your trip to find the rules and also to let them know your travel plans. Your ATM card must have the chip in it to be able to use it at train stations.

How many Euros to bring is a very difficult question for me to answer for myself, let alone anyone else. But, here are some general guidelines: you will need cash in hand for street vendors, tips for doormen, waiters, and for porters at the airport.

Tumi backpack for ParisQ. What type of purse should I bring?

A. Daytime sightseeing times are when you are the most vulnerable to pickpockets. Crowded summer months are also peak times when the thieves take advantage of tourists. I feel that during these times it is important to carry a cut-proof strap, cross-shoulder or backpack style with a zipper that closes and the option to put a light travel lock on the main compartment. It might be a pain to open the combo lock when shopping, but it’s an even bigger drag to have your credit cards and ID’s stolen overseas.

I have used a Baggalini bag for years and recently “retired” it when I got a new Tumi backpack/handbag converter bag. It fits my laptop, iPad, iPhone and cords along with my wallet and passport in secure inside zipper pockets which can be locked with a mini travel lock. It has the added ability for me to tuck the shoulder straps in and use it as a proper handbag. I usually pack a smaller black evening bag for nighttime and love having the option to purchase something fun while I am there too! In the winter when it’s less crowded I don’t worry as much and carry any bag as long as it has a strong handle and inside zipper options.

Are you headed to Paris? Still have questions after reading answers to my Paris FAQ’s? If so, please ask them in the comment section below and I will answer in a future post.

Bon voyage!

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James wright November 28, 2013 - 4:51 am

I never read this article before but fortunately my card works perfectly everywhere in Paris maybe because It has a 4 digit pin. Though I had enough cash with me but I paid rent of the apartment via my debit card. There were not any issues. :)

Kim 24/7 in France July 1, 2013 - 12:11 am

Great post – I too always use an ATM to get cash and find it generally has the best exchange rate. The most important advice you gave, though, is about keeping belongings safe from pickpockets – sadly, a racket business in Paris!

Joan von Ohlen June 30, 2013 - 10:46 pm

Helpful information but I’d like to correct one thing – American ATM & debit cards DO work in European ATMs (chip or no) as long as you have a 4-digit PIN, so getting cash is easy (and ATMs generally have the best rates). However, to use a card in self-serve kiosks (like in the metro to buy tickets) or ticket machines in the railway stations) you must have a chip card with a PIN (I’ve had friends whose banks had sent them chip cards but they didn’t realize they’d need a PIN to use them…). So my advice is do bring your ATM/debit card for getting cash.

Weekend In Paris June 30, 2013 - 11:27 pm

Hi Joan,

Thanks for the clarification and for taking the time to write in. I have never been able to use my debit card or credit card in the train kiosks or other machines to purchase tickets of any kind. My debit card does not work in the ATMs in Paris for whatever reason because it does not have a four digit pin. I have recently changed cards and am assured they will work in the machines now. But, I found the best exchange rate so far has been with my local bank. There needs to be an “app” that shows us who has the most competitive rates and where, n’est-ce pas?

Please keep reading and chime in when you can.

Again thanks and cheers!

Comments are closed.

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