Language – While the nationally spoken tongue may be French, I would guesstimate about 70% of the country speaks English, fluently. However, they are always pleased and quite tickled when you attempt to speak French. Try simple pleasantries such as:

Good Morning – Bonjour

Good Evening – Bonsior

Please – S’il vous plait

Thank you – Merci


EurosExchange Your Money – Whether you are coming from the U.S. or another country, they ONLY accept Euros in France. So, do your research and find the best exchange rate possible.


Petit Palais

Plan Ahead – Paris is full of things to do and it can get a bit overwhelming trying to plan on the fly, once you’re already there. Being one the most visited tourist destinations in the world, lines and waiting times can be extremely long. The price for their tourist attractions are very reasonable, but, if you can afford to do so, invest in speed passes that bypass the regular lines.



Transportation – Your biggest expense besides food and lodging will be transportation. If you plan to travel to any neighboring cities, you may want to either rent a car, book tickets on the train or in-country airline way in advance to cut cost.

In regards to taxis, it is best hail a cab versus call one. If you call a cab, they start charging you from the moment they get the call. For instance, if the cab is 2 miles away and it takes them 5 minutes to drive to you, the meter will already have been running and you may get in the cab with $5-6 on the meter before they’ve actually driven you anywhere.


Driving – I can’t say that I know the laws there but from what I gathered, whatever they are, they seemed not to be enforced. And while I believe Paris is a lot like NYC except with French speakers, pedestrians do not rule. I often found myself running to keep from getting hit. So please, jaywalk at your own risk! There are also as many scooters as cars on the roads.


Air Quality – Coming from the U.S., New York City to be exact, it is illegal to smoke almost anywhere in public. However, this is NOT the case in France. You can smoke almost any and everywhere and EVERYONE seems to do just that. Inside restaurants, concert venues, just everywhere…they smoke.


street sign

Navigating Your Way Around – There are plenty of maps around and the streets seems easy enough to navigate but the gimmie gotcha is, their streets signs are almost invisible. They are NOT on the corners attached to a pole but rather on the sides of buildings and easy to miss.



Restaurants – You will notice that most of them have menus in French and may be full of items you are unfamiliar with, but don’t fret, If asked, they can usually provide an English version of their menu.

Also, you may think they have the worst service in the world but after dining out a few times I caught on…they don’t just eat and run, they chill, big time! Patrons sit around eating, drinking, smoking, talking and laughing for HOURS. They are never in a rush and neither is the restaurant.



Power Adapters – They do not use the traditional Western (USA) plugs but rather, their sockets require round prongs, so, be sure to pick up an adapter. You can usually find these for a couple of dollars.

Also, I cannot stress enough, if you are taking any appliances such as a blow dryer or flat Iron PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, make sure they are compatible and made to be used in France. If not you will end up like me, my blow dryer was literally spitting sparks and flames and my flat iron got so hot that it set off the fire alarm and had the all of the people staying at the hotel in the lobby ready to evacuate at 3 am in the morning…yeah I know, EPIC FAIL!



Location – Paris (France) is centrally located in Europe with Germany, Italy, Spain and The UK being the surrounding countries. By train you can get to any of places listed in as little as 5 hours or less. Again, planning is key. If done in advance you can get a lot of vacation bang for your buck.

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2 comments on “Things You Should Know When Planning Your Trip to Paris

  1. Great tip advice. That smoking everywhere is something I would have to adjust to. I wish there was a picture to go along with the fire alarm story LOL.

    • I hated the smoking, I swear my face was breaking out the air was so polluted!

      And imagine me flat ironing my hair, hearing the alarm and NOT knowing Im the one that set it off. I was praying the hotel manager did NOT out me when we were in the lobby, the people probably would have beat me up LOL. People were in pajamas, pillows in hand, it was SOOO embarassing

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