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I'm Going to Paris!

High and Wide

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Some tips:


  • Don't go up the Eiffel Tower, unless you really want to. You're going in a bit of an off-season, so it might not be too crowded, but it's usually a pain in the ass. It's expensive and you're bound to wait in line for some time. [On second thought, you'll be in Paris for a while, so maybe 1-2 hour wait won't matter to you.]
  • Instead, go up the Arc de Triomphe. It's also a really nice view of the city, and, as an added bonus, you can get all of your pictures with the Eiffel Tower in it! It's much cheaper (I think 6 or 9 euros) and there's no line to get to the top (usually).
  • Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, it's beautiful at night. I highly recommend going to see it at night.
  • Versailles is pretty awesome. Tons of French history, obviously mostly surrounding Louis XIV. It's not overly expensive and it's only a 30 minute train ride from the city (IIRC). I'd look into it, if I were you.
  • Renting the public bikes and biking around Paris was one of my fonder memories of being there. I really felt like it was one of the best ways to see the city. The infrastructure there supports bikes more often than not, and the drivers there expect/respect bikes. Worth it, IMO.
  • Make an effort to speak French. When you need to ask someone a question for whatever reason, start with, "Pardon, parlez-vous Anglais?" If they say yes, great! You can carry on your conversation like a normal English one. I found that French people appreciate it when you make an attempt to actually speak their language. If you want to get fancy, when they answer your questions, throw in a "Merci beaucoup!" ;)
  • Watch for pickpockets and scam artists. Don't buy anything from those dudes at the Eiffel Tower. Ignore them. Also, don't sign any petitions. Ignore them. Watch for groups of little kids. They like to grab things and run. Just be aware any time you're in a crowd of people, especially on the train.
  • The Pantheon is pretty cool, and it's right near a bike station if you're renting bikes.
  • I was only there for 2.5 days. It was a whirlwind. I didn't go in the Louvre, I went outside of it at night. And that was pretty cool. I also didn't go in any of the other museums, gardens. Didn't go into Notre Dame. But I felt like I saw a lot of the city. It also helped that I took 3 years of French in high school, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on much. You'll be there much longer, so maybe you'll do those things. It's a nice city, tons of great architecture, food, and things to do.


If you have any questions, just ask. This is all that popped into my head.

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Ile de l Cite and Notre Dame


the Bateaux Mouche boat ride around the center of the City


Montmartre....take the Metro


Per la Chaise. Cemetary where Hugo, Gertrude and Alice B, Oscar Wilde, Zola, Dreyfuss,, Eloise and Abelard and Jim Morrison of the Doors all rest

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Was there 3 years ago.

Louvre is free on Friday nights I think. Awesome macaron shop in there (there's one off Champs Elysses) too but I don't remember exactly where.

Rent a bike

Galerie Lafayette is a huge cool department store. Yeah it's a store but there's roof access with excellent views of the city and Eiffel Tower for photo ops.

Sacre Coeur is a great church to go in on Montmarte. Since its on the hill you'll have the best views of the city.

Great restaurant in the Latin Quarter called Le Navigator. When we went they had a 3 course meal and a jug of wine for like ?30.

Centre Pompidou is pretty cool.

Eat as much as you can. Food is amazing.

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First trip out of the states. Finally. I'll be going from January 21st through February 3rd. I need some advice. I need some cheap/free things to do, and places to go that are in reasonable travel range. I'm open to anything and am big on history. Fire away people.


Okey dokes.


Haven't been there since my honey moon, but before that went many many times.


I used to stay near Boulevard Voltaire as the hotel deals were good, and it was near my uncle's old apartment and near my aunt's old apartment ? both have since moved back to Brittany.

but obviously that area is sadder for what happened. I used to absolutely love my time there.


My advice would be to read and digest a few literary guides to paris









and digest and memorize street maps and metro maps as much as possible, so you don't have to be constantly referring to them in the street.


To me and my wife and ex-wife, it is the consummate walking city. There's almost no reason to take the subway if your legs are up to walking randomness radiating out from as central a location as possible. We used the bus a bit, my wife reminds me. That is a good thing to remember as a more scenic alternative to the Metro.


I don't know what you preferences are, history or literature or art, but the maps in some of these books are sometimes useful, too.


Enjoy the bidets, enjoy the shared toilets in some cheap hotels.


I doubt they still have squat/crouch loos they had in the 60's and 70's that ever-so-temporarily traumatized me as a young Brit. lol -- I found it tremendously uncivilized, but got used to the idea as my mom taught me what the deal was.


Enjoy buying your own baguettes from a boulangerie or two == find the level of doneness that appeals to you. Take it back to your hotel room with a bottle of wine and some brie or camembert or tomme-au-raisin, or Pont-l'Eveque, St. Andr?, Chaumes, and if you like blue cheese, Roquefort, or whatever. Do not be put off by the smell. The smellier the better. Ripe is good.


Get some saussicon sec, rillettes (cold shredded pork in a kind of mushy loveliness) which is awesomeness on a baguette. Eat in as many restaurants as you can -- but avoid obvious commercial traps near train stations. Get as much intel on restaurants as possible. And walk a lot, walk everywhere you can.


If you have a literary or artistic bent or even historical, just about every street has a story. It's a freaking amazing awesome city, and the more background you have the better it is, because a lot of it stands the same as when the history originally went down.

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