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Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world and yet, despite that fame, there are still many mistakes that first-time visitors make.
There are cultural differences, unsaid rules, and etiquette to know to avoid these Paris Mistakes. Most of these are harmless, but some can potentially ruin your trip! These tips will help you see Paris like a local and avoid the top tourist mistakes.
Paris Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting
Are you traveling to Paris for the first time? Here are mistakes tourists make in Paris:
1. Only visiting the most popular sights
The amazing thing about Paris is that there really is something for everyone! Even quite famous sights are sometimes hidden in surprisingly subtle and discreet places like these best Paris bakeries.
The fact is that there’s more to the city of love than just the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. Naturally, you’ll want to tick off these essential bucket-list items, but leave a bit of time in your plan to explore, escape the crowds and visit the lesser-known sights.
2. Avoiding Public Transport
Public transportation can be intimidating especially if you’re not used to the routes, systems or you don’t understand the language. It’s highly recommended that you walk or make use of the bus or metro in Paris, If you opt for a cab or renting a car, you’ll miss all the Instagrammable Paris sights.
If you do use the metro in Paris, remember to not throw away your r train ticket. As a passenger, you need to carry the proof of purchase and if you fail to produce a ticket when asked for one, you will be fined.
3. Staying inside Paris
There are many day trips from Paris to other parts of France and neighboring countries like Luxembourg, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
4. Visiting at the wrong time of the year
“Paris is always a good idea” but not during peak high season. The best time to visit Paris depends on your itinerary, but it’s important to remember that June to August is summer in Paris and high season while, If you’re wanting to experience fewer crowds, the best time to visit is during November to February.
5. Staying in the wrong arrondissement
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements. The most attractive districts for tourists are those located near major sights, museums, and attractions. There are many Paris neighborhoods to choose from, the most popular are the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 18th arrondissements.
The best advice for choosing a place to stay is go for something central, and as popular with Parisians as they are with visitors.
6. Falling for tourist scams
The most common tourist scams in Paris are pickpockets in tourist hotspots, strangers offering you free roses or bracelets then getting aggressive and insisting that you pay and purse snatchers. If you are traveling alone in Paris, avoid shady areas and take cabs or Ubers at night over the Metro.
It’s best to carry a small amount of cash, have a backup card hidden in your luggage.
7. Don’t pay for water
“Can you drink tap water in Paris?” Yes, Parisian tap water is perfectly safe to drink. When you go to a Parisian restaurant, ask for a “carafe d’eau” instead of buying expensive bottled water, this is a great way to save money in Paris!
8. Believing the best view of Paris is from the top of the Eiffel Tower
One of the most common Paris mistakes that visitors make is believing that the best view of Paris is at the top of the Eiffel Tower, this is actually incorrect – so you can avoid waiting in long lines and head to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the tower of Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the rooftop at Galeries Lafayette.
9. Tipping too much
France is one of the countries that pay their servers a respectable salary so they don’t have to live off tips. One of the top Paris mistakes made by tourists is overtipping, it’s important to know that the service fee is actually included in your bill but tips of 5-10% are also appreciated but discretionary.
10. Not learning basic French
The French have a reputation for only speaking French, You don’t have to be fluent, but it’s highly recommend to know how to say “Bonjour” (Hello), “Merci” (Thank you) and “Au revoir” Good-bye (until we meet again).