As a Parisian for more than 13 years, I think I’ve explored almost every bit of Paris from the touristy places to the secret ones. Paris is one of the most beautiful and attractive city, architecture wise but also cultural wise. If you plan to visit Paris soon, you won’t be disappointed (maybe by the weather). Every street is a path to another breath taking place. However, don’t be fool by the good impression everything give you. Just like other big cities around the world, you better carefully look around. just giving 5 most important reminders you need to write down before coming. It’s nothing that you don’t know already but just a little reminder…
1. Stop at a random café or restaurant
This one is so dear to me since Paris is known for its gastronomic food and countless café. If you read my last article about my favorite café in Paris, you’ll know that the best café are not the one that are right around the corner and this also applies to restaurants. With a little bit of research before your trip and a good sense of orientation, I’m sure that you’ll be able to find the best cafés and restaurants, usually hidden. Those places are usually come with a cute decoration, affordable prices and if you are an Instagram/Snapchat person, you’ll be pleased to post delicious souvenir photos to remember of.
2. Go to Rue de Rivoli (75003)
If you have anxiety, avoid this street. It’s hell even for a shopaholic ! I swear only few Parisians stop there to do shopping because it’s a struggle to find something when you have hundreds of people in the same store. I would only go there for Sephora which is one of the biggest one in Paris. Besides that, it’s not pleasant to shop there because it’s a hotchpotch of random stores that you can find Avenue des Champs-Élysées or in mall. Talking about shopping center, avoid les Halles which just next to Rivoli because this mall is a complete non sense. However since the recent renovation, it looks better and it’s more ergonomic. Still not worth it though. There are many other great mall like Beaugrenelle (75015) or So Ouest (92300).
3. Play games on the street
This will never be said enough but unfortunately watch out for your personal belongings. I mean WHERE EVER you go in Paris ! This is probably one of the most classic advice a Parisian can give to tourist because we know how it works and your stuff can be gone in a blink of an eye. Most of the time you’ll hear that in the subway because it’s where most of the stealing happen. But, if you walk around the beautiful streets of Paris, you’ll probably see people gathered around guys who are pretending to play a game that looks very fun. You bet money… But you will NEVER EVER win. This is the most stupid thing invented to steal from tourist and still, there are people who fall for it like wtf ? Do your things, enjoy your trip don’t be stupid just because you’re abroad please !
4. Buy souvenirs from gift shops
This battle is beyond my strength… Have ever seen those souvenirs ? I can’t even call that a souvenir because, first it looks cheap as well, second it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen like seriously a “I LOVE PARIS” t-shirt as a reminder of your visit ? I promise there are so much more than “that” to offer. It’s so old school but in a negative way. As far as I’m concerned, every country I’ve been to is full of those mugs and t-shirts. There are many great gift shops and even bookshops where you can find delicate and chic gifts to bring back for a price worth its quality.
5. Spend your day in Galeries Lafayette
Paris is a city full of such attractive stores. Galerie Lafayette is for sure a must to visit. I will never tell you to not go there because it’s wonderful aesthetically but also fashion wise. However this store is a gigantic luxury mousetrap. You can easily need an entire day to explore everything because they located each stores so you get lost and spend lot of cash which you will do. Within an hour, 300$ can be gone from your wallet. When you go, locate the stores you’re interested in, otherwise prepare the cash. The Galeries Lafayette is a great store but it’s not worth spending so much time & money if you’re just here to visit for few days. There is much better to do.
6. Buy food near the Eiffel Tower
Sometimes when you visit another country and especially when it’s not the same currency, you don’t know the exact value of things you’re buying. Is it cheap or expensive ? Who knows. Of course, it happens to everyone because you’re just happy and fortunate to visit a place different from what have seen before. Well, let me tell you something : 3€ a crêpe bought from a food truck down the Eiffel Tower is NOT ok, especially when it’s an industrial powder mixed with water, how delicious. And here we are, back to advice number 1. Of course, tourist do tourist things but sometimes it’s just too much. Bring your own snack or even better, buy snacks at a grocery store (Monoprix, Franprix…). It’s a lot more fun because you get to try different snacks that you might have at home but in a different form.
And I’m just going to end this article with this simple and philosophical question to all Americans : Why the f*ck don’t you have Kinder Chocolate ?