6 Things to Consider Before Traveling to Paris

Paris is one of the most worthwhile tourist destinations in the world, with its respected reputation as a central space for romance, creativity, activities, attractions, and events.

Even if you have already prepared your airtight itinerary of sightseeing and shopping, there are still practical tips to properly navigate the capital city of France.

Along with making sure your passport is up-to-date, there are also these six things to take into consideration before traveling to Paris. 

Paris Etiquette

In order to fit in more with Paris, you will want to have an underlying understanding of the acceptable etiquette of the culture. 

From the outside looking in, Parisians may appear to always be in a hurry. Therefore, when visiting restaurants, cafes, parks, museums, and shops, be sure not to disrupt the flow of people and movement. 

Similar to other European cultures, Parisians often greet one another by giving kisses on the cheeks, two in Paris, among family and friends.

Prepare for Paris

It is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the exciting attractions in Paris, so make sure that you pinpoint your top tourist destinations in advance and book any tickets for museums, exhibitions, or theatre performances prior to appearing at these places to avoid waiting in lines. 

Save the spontaneous adventures for strolling around landmarks.

Bring comfortable walking shoes and clothing to explore the sights, sounds, and smells on foot. If you are looking for a dressing tip to blend in with local Parisians, consider dark clothing.

Communicating While in Paris

Making sure that you know how to communicate with local people in Paris can really come in handy if you get lost or are in desperate need of finding a washroom to use the bathroom.

Learn how to ask for basic directions and polite phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” “good day,” “good evening,” and “goodbye.” in French instead of being rude and demanding that locals understand your native language, which they have no obligation to because they already have their own language. 

Traveling Through Paris

Before you even set foot on the soil, know how to effectively get around the city of Paris. 

You can use cost-effective solutions like riding the metro and RER (suburban train network) as well as using luggage storage while in Paris to not be bogged down with all of your belongings. 

Put any bags, backpacks, purses, or luggage down on the ground and try not to use the folding seats as extra storage, especially when the transportation is full during rush hour when using the metro and RER in Paris.

When it comes to accessibility, there are some stations that have resources such as wheelchair ramps and they are normally identified on metro maps.

When you are moving about in transit regions, walk on the right side to avoid bumping into other passengers. 

While you are traveling via the streets, be aware that some roads are shared, and they are typically quite busy. 

There will most likely be plenty of bikes, cars, delivery trucks, motorbikes, scooters, skaters, and pedestrians, all these various forms of motion are taking place simultaneously, and you must navigate them while remaining aware of your surroundings at all times.

Let’s assume that you come from a country like Canada or the United States where you are not used to driving on the right side of the street like the French. It may take a little getting used to. If this adjustment gives you anxiety, stick with public transportation or cab services. 

Those who are traveling via bikes and scooters tend to use their own dedicated lanes that are typically moving in the opposite direction of cars. 

As a result, if you are a pedestrian moving about on these roads, be sure to always look in both directions before stepping out into traffic to remain safe and to also prevent an accident involving others from taking place while you are traveling in Paris. 

Eating While in Paris

Get a front-row seat of Parisian culture from the vantage point of the wonderful aromas and tastes inside street-level cafes and restaurants.

Be sure to tip your waiters even if you are somewhere where tipping is not required.

Tips to Stay Safe

Many people would suggest that the northeast of Paris tends to be the location where there is a concentration of crime taking place.

When traveling in Paris, use your instincts and be aware of sketchy activity, and don’t stop for apparently drunk or aggressive strangers attempting to engage with you.  

Remember, you are new to this city, and locals may be a lot more aware of this fact than you realize. Refrain from walking around the streets alone. 

If necessary, get yourself a taxi when it is getting dark outside, and don’t make it easy for pickpockets by neglecting your personal belongings.