The title says all I think about Paris. Alongside Barcelona or Spain in general this is my dream city; and maybe some of the Greek islands. I wouldn’t move there, cause it is expensive, but this is a city to come back forever, at least for a few days in every season. In this case it is very hard for me to do a list of don’ts but there are some. Just to know them and to avoid them in order for you to have a great city break.
I was in Paris for 6 months first and then for several times for so many years. Last time this year, just visiting and enjoying my Sunday coffee in front of Georges Pompidou museum of contemporary art.
It is hard for me to do a DON’Ts list about Paris but there are some things to avoid, so let’s get started:
- it’s expensive if you wanna be in style but there are ways to save. But still it remains an expensive destination – 4 euros “un caffe au lait” at a terrace it’s not cheap, but you pay for the view, so compare it with a tour ticket. It is not Italy’s 1 euro max ristretto at the counter. Too bad that the Colombo Caffe in the Marais closed – it was the best coffee with a view. Now I like the coffee shops in front of Georges Pompidou.
- first is the public transport from any airport – Beauveais, 30 euros return ticket so what you save on flight you pay on transport ( that’s ironic), Charles de Gaulle 18 euros return by RER to the center – Les Halles, or Gare de Nord.
- taxi is out of the question – 70 euros from Charles de Gaulle Airport. If late than try to share a cab with other passengers of your flight, don’t be ashamed.
- best is Eurostar or any TGV from other capitals – 3 hours straight to the city center, from city center. I am a fan of TGV or Flixbus. I save expenses related to transport to and from the airport.
- never rent a car to go to Paris from airports nearby. As I have done it many times, I can assure you it is one of the hugest mistake because of the parking – expensive and hard to find even if you have the parking apps. There are few hotels with parking places. Maybe some private flats on Airbnb. Use the public transport – there are different fares that suits any kind of trip, and it is very well organized, especially the metro.
- Don’t take the metro at rush hours! it’s like in any other capital, a disaster. And there are a lot of pickpockets. Be calm and stay safe.
- accommodation is expensive in Paris so you tend to go out of the very city center, but don’t go to Saint Denis neighborhood (never ever); Moulin Rouge and Montmartre -area for sex clubs and loud parties; same for Les Halles; or Gare de Nord – like in any capital central train stations are to be avoided.
- try Marais neighborhood, for an authentic Parisian feeling, like an under the roof room, but keep in mind that most hotels there have no elevators, steps are steep and narrow. I found hard for me in my 30s to go up 5 floors every day.
- try to book as close as your budget allows you to the city center, to avoid taxis, uber or public transport. This is a city to do by foot so avoid transport time or reduce it. Taxis are expensive.
- don’t book late, hoping on a last minute deal. Hard to find in Paris. If short time then try surf on http://www.airbnb.com, as in Paris rooms are good (not like in Spain).
- don’t book with breakfast – you are not here to eat in your hotel. Go out and have your breakfast, cheaper than the hotel one, in any small brasserie on your way. Have a traditional french breakfast, butter croissant with coffee and orange juice freshly squeezed. You can’t go wrong and you get to look at the Parisians and admire their attitude and get maybe some tips about the fashion.
- and yes….men are more fashion addicted than women in Paris, even more groomed. Every time I go there I find it hard to explain as I had a prejudice about the elegant Parisian women. You find them in upscale neighborhoods, place Concorde, Lafayette, Opera, Elysee. They don’t walk alongside tourists.
- personally I do not appreciate this mass consumerism fashion with all this cheap brands ….like most of what you find in the commercial center of Les Halles and the surroundings.
- Put your money in special experiences like – local guides, food classes, food tours especially if in Paris, some french language classes, professional photo shoots, eat with locals, or any other interesting experience you might find – I suggest you to look on LikeALokal app (not an add).
- Paris is not a destination for shopping if you are on a low or medium budget. In fact….stop wasting your time in shop hopping, especially if the same brands from back home. Start seeing the city and the streets, admire the locals.
To be continued.