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Any and all tips for Paris

FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,365
Headed to Paris next week. Will have 5 1/2 days there. Have a lunch reservation at le pré catelan. Seeing an opera at the Palais Garnier. Planning for some shopping, have a few bars we want to hit. Otherwise the schedule is pretty open/fluid. 

What are you must spots in Paris? To eat, drink, shop, buy a book, whatever. What is a must to avoid? We don't plan to visit the louvre and we will only take pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Want to avoid anything crazy touristy/value our time. Due to the strikes and the short trip we probably won't leave the city.
Boom
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Comments

  • JonWessonJonWesson Posts: 8
    Always keep your head down when walking, dog poop is everywhere.
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 7,818
    We enjoyed the "free" walking tour when there. The tour guide was from the US and she walked around Paris and explained the surroundings. Lots of walking but was enjoyable. You tip the guide at the end of it.

    We didn't know a lick of French but tried our best when talking to locals with the help from our phones. 

    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,365
    WeberWho said:
    We enjoyed the "free" walking tour when there. The tour guide was from the US and she walked around Paris and explained the surroundings. Lots of walking but was enjoyable. You tip the guide at the end of it.

    We didn't know a lick of French but tried our best when talking to locals with the help from our phones. 

    going to hope google translate  does a lot of work for us haha. we have it downloaded an it will act as our universal translator (stupid scientist need to get on that, btw)

    won't use any data and can translate voice and text
    Boom
  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,365
    JonWesson said:
    Always keep your head down when walking, dog poop is everywhere.
    sounds like San Francisco, except dogs and not people
    Boom
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,278
    No Louvre? Wow!

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,365
    No Louvre? Wow!
    does not seem worth it with the crowds. we will visit an art museum, thinking Musée d'Orsay or Petit Palais
    Boom
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 7,818
    edited January 7
    WeberWho said:
    We enjoyed the "free" walking tour when there. The tour guide was from the US and she walked around Paris and explained the surroundings. Lots of walking but was enjoyable. You tip the guide at the end of it.

    We didn't know a lick of French but tried our best when talking to locals with the help from our phones. 

    going to hope google translate  does a lot of work for us haha. we have it downloaded an it will act as our universal translator (stupid scientist need to get on that, btw)

    won't use any data and can translate voice and text
    If you're anything like us you'll stick out like most Americans do. Most of Europeans wear tighter fitting clothes. Sorry but you won't ever catch me in skinny jeans. I asked my English friends when over in England if people could tell we were Americans. They laughed and said right away. They said the clothing and the way I walk. She said we walk with confidence. 

    Now put that thought with a bunch of French people who might not like us from the start. My first experience and really only experience with snobbery was within the first 30 minutes and sitting down at a restaurant. The waiter was less than amused with us being American. His body language was super clear of not wanting to serve us. When he came back to take our order we tried to say what we were ordering in French or even just part of what we were ordering. I'm sure it wasn't even close and completely butchered but his attitude did a full 180. (Most do know a little English and out hotel front desk loved talking to us in English as they wanted to practice)

    I went there thinking everyone was going to hate you. That was the complete opposite of what I found. As long as you try to connect in some way we really enjoyed ourselves the few days we were there. You guys will have a blast. (Also don't tip for anything. It's considered disrespectful. Unless you have a US tour guide for the walk.)
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,876
    Beware of pickpockets.
    canuckland
  • FanOfFanboysFanOfFanboys Posts: 2,365
    WeberWho said:
    WeberWho said:
    We enjoyed the "free" walking tour when there. The tour guide was from the US and she walked around Paris and explained the surroundings. Lots of walking but was enjoyable. You tip the guide at the end of it.

    We didn't know a lick of French but tried our best when talking to locals with the help from our phones. 

    going to hope google translate  does a lot of work for us haha. we have it downloaded an it will act as our universal translator (stupid scientist need to get on that, btw)

    won't use any data and can translate voice and text
    If you're anything like us you'll stick out like most Americans do. Most of Europeans wear tighter fitting clothes. Sorry but you won't ever catch me in skinny jeans. I asked my English friends when over in England if people could tell we were Americans. They laughed and said right away. They said the clothing and the way I walk. She said we walk with confidence. 

    Now put that thought with a bunch of French people who might not like us from the start. My first experience and really only experience with snobbery was within the first 30 minutes and sitting down at a restaurant. The waiter was less than amused with us being American. His body language was super clear of not wanting to serve us. When he came back to take our order we tried to say what we were ordering in French or even just part of what we were ordering. I'm sure it wasn't even close and completely butchered but his attitude did a full 180. (Most do know a little English and out hotel front desk loved talking to us in English as they wanted to practice)

    I went there thinking everyone was going to hate you. That was the complete opposite of what I found. As long as you try to connect in some way we really enjoyed ourselves the few days we were there. You guys will have a blast. (Also don't tip for anything. It's considered disrespectful. Unless you have a US tour guide for the walk.)
    so don't wear cargo shorts, an American flag t-shirt, and white New Balance shoes?

    I did hear that making an attempt to speak French goes a long way. 

    We are pretty excited, I have never been to Europe and she has never been to France
    Boom
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 2,639
    I strongly recommend at least saying a few words in French yourself.  

    Memorize "Bonjour, Madame," "Bonjour, Monsieur," (and say those every time, and every time you walk into a store, etc.) and "Excusez de vous deranger" (I think the last one might be right -- my French was years ago, but it's along the line of excuse me for bothering you).  They appreciate the respect and the effort, and, conversely, don't always respond with gratitude to people who imperiously expect them to speak English.  Even if it's just those few words, if they see that you're being respectful of them and their country and their ways, they are likely to be helpful.

    Also, many French people will be happy to stop and help you but won't necessarily smile the way Americans often expect.  Many people in France find the American custom of huge smiles and pretending we're all best friends, and it's it just so WONDERFUL that we're talking like this artificial and potentially suspicious.  So don't be turned off if they don't smile.  We expect people to smile, so when they don't, we might perceive them as being "unfriendly," when actually, they're taking their time and trying to help -- they're just not smiling and pretending to be something they're not.  Some Americans come back hating the French, but I think it's because they went there expecting them to be just like Americans.  Just try to do it their way, as much as you can, and you'll have a great time.  I haven't been there in ages, but I love Paris.

    And my favorite thing to do (other than hang out in Notre Dame, which, of course, you can't do, these days), was just to walk all over the city, taking it all in.  I loved it. And I went to Pré Catelan many decades ago and LOVED it!  Beautiful setting, glorious food.  Savor it all!
  • Kent8621Kent8621 Posts: 800
    i was just there in November for work and Uber is your friend.  makes it easy to get places and you dont have to speak french.  we are actually going back in may/June and my wife is going to join.  when i was there the first time i did a boat tour around the city it was pretty good views of the city and some good information.  use the concierge at the hotel they are invaluable.  they can point you to good food and will help with reservations. if you go shopping make sure to carry your passport for the VAT Refunds and go the center at the airport and scan everything, it is fairly painless but does take time to get your money back.  you get more of a refund if you do the credit card return but it takes 2+ months in my expereince so far. 

    2 Large Eggs - Raleigh, NC

    Boiler Up!!

  • AcnAcn Posts: 3,054
    WeberWho said:
    WeberWho said:
    We enjoyed the "free" walking tour when there. The tour guide was from the US and she walked around Paris and explained the surroundings. Lots of walking but was enjoyable. You tip the guide at the end of it.

    We didn't know a lick of French but tried our best when talking to locals with the help from our phones. 

    going to hope google translate  does a lot of work for us haha. we have it downloaded an it will act as our universal translator (stupid scientist need to get on that, btw)

    won't use any data and can translate voice and text
    If you're anything like us you'll stick out like most Americans do. Most of Europeans wear tighter fitting clothes. Sorry but you won't ever catch me in skinny jeans. I asked my English friends when over in England if people could tell we were Americans. They laughed and said right away. They said the clothing and the way I walk. She said we walk with confidence. 

    Now put that thought with a bunch of French people who might not like us from the start. My first experience and really only experience with snobbery was within the first 30 minutes and sitting down at a restaurant. The waiter was less than amused with us being American. His body language was super clear of not wanting to serve us. When he came back to take our order we tried to say what we were ordering in French or even just part of what we were ordering. I'm sure it wasn't even close and completely butchered but his attitude did a full 180. (Most do know a little English and out hotel front desk loved talking to us in English as they wanted to practice)

    I went there thinking everyone was going to hate you. That was the complete opposite of what I found. As long as you try to connect in some way we really enjoyed ourselves the few days we were there. You guys will have a blast. (Also don't tip for anything. It's considered disrespectful. Unless you have a US tour guide for the walk.)
    so don't wear cargo shorts, an American flag t-shirt, and white New Balance shoes?

    I did hear that making an attempt to speak French goes a long way. 

    We are pretty excited, I have never been to Europe and she has never been to France
    I mean, that is a really good wardrobe recommendation anywhere. 

    Definitely take the time to learn some basic French phrases; trying to speak their language is just common courtesy.  I'm sure YouTube has basic conversational French videos to help get pronunciation a little closer.  I recommend everyone in your group knowing at least the following, and leaving google translate for more involved discussions or other questions: 

    Bonjour madame/monsieur (Hello ma'am/sir):
    Au revoir (goodbye);
    S'il vous plait (please);
    Merci (thank you);
    Comment allez-vous (How are you?):
    Ca va bien (I'm doing well);
    Parlez vous anglais (Do you speak English?)
    Ou sont les toilettes (Where is the bathroom?)

    Most people in the tourist areas will speak English, and I believe that there is some English signage in the subway, and announcements are made in French/English/German.

    Musee d'Orsay is phenomenal, and definitely more doable than the Louvre.  Even if you don't go in, you should at least stroll by the building itself and the tuileries.  We enjoyed Sacre Couer and walking through Montmartre.  Are you staying in a hotel?  For window shopping, we loved walking through Place Vendome and checking out the 80,000 euro watches that Patek Philippe had in their window.

    The Arc de Triomphe should be visited; they have an unknown soldier who was killed in WWI and the eternal flame has been kept burning, even when Paris was Nazi-occupied during WW2.  We also felt the city views from the top were also worth the fee to go up. 

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 13,297
    Learn how to say "I would like one of each, please." Especially if you like macarons. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • JonWesson said:
    Always keep your head down when walking, dog poop is everywhere.
    Not nearly as bad as Italy, in my experience. 
  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 15,629
    Try to get to one of the places that makes crepes.  The better ones are excellent.  

    When we were there we had locals to take us to one.  I want to say they thought it was the oldest creperie in Paris.  

    Second Musee d'Orsay.  That is a very cool place.  
    "A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses." - George Orwell 

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike

    Living large in the 919


  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 13,687
    edited January 7
    If you are into art....consider taking the train out to see Monet’s home and gardens. Was my favorite of my 10 day Paris trip. It’s near Normandy.....but no way you see both on a day trip. If you have a rainy day, might I recommend a Paris culinary supplier that sells to both restaurants and public. If interested, PM me.... I have to look up the name of the place. Been around for several hundred years. They do old over there real good. I could have spent at least a couple of days there. 

    Finally, if you are a Doors fan, go to Pere Lachaise  (might have butchered the spellin....hell I got challenges with English).....the cemetery is really neat. Do it even if you don’t care.to see where Jim Morrison is laid to rest. Beautiful grounds. 

    I agree with John on the crepes. Don’t think fruit crepes like we see......think entree creeps and cider. We spent several evenings in this tiny place that sat maybe 15 people. Incredible food.
    Columbia, South Carolina with a Medium, MiniMax & a 17" Blackstone

    “May the four winds blow you safely home.”
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 3,082
    Take the time to sit at a cafe and relax- as Americans we often miss pausing and smelling the roses. You will notice the locals having coffee/wine/snack and just taking everything in and enjoying the company of the one you are with. 

    I wouldn’t skip all the tourist spots- they are famous for a reason. Go to the top of the Arc, the Eiffel tower, Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre, etc. 

    might not make it back so see it while there. 
    Greensboro, NC
  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 13,687
    Wolfpack said:
    Take the time to sit at a cafe and relax- as Americans we often miss pausing and smelling the roses. You will notice the locals having coffee/wine/snack and just taking everything in and enjoying the company of the one you are with. 

    I wouldn’t skip all the tourist spots- they are famous for a reason. Go to the top of the Arc, the Eiffel tower, Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre, etc. 

    might not make it back so see it while there. 
    We stayed in an apartment in Sacre-Coeur. Great time in that area.
    Columbia, South Carolina with a Medium, MiniMax & a 17" Blackstone

    “May the four winds blow you safely home.”
  • dannysdannys Posts: 90
    Amazon has a book "The Little Museums Of Paris". This describes a bunch of smaller museums if you don't like to fight the crowds at the Louvre or Musee Dorsay.

    Other xstops to consider is Dehillerin, Fauchon, La Lauduree. Dehillerin is probably the best cooking store in the world. I bought most of my copper cookware there. Fauchon is an interesting foodie place (you only need to go there once). La Lauderee makes the best macarons I've had and they have sandwiches and tea there as well.

    Enjoy your trip.

  • OhioEggerOhioEgger Posts: 592
    If you really like great cheese, there is a little cheese shop not that far from the Eiffel Tower that is just magnificent. Super knowledgeable people running it as well (kind of the opposite of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch).
    Fromager Marie-Anne Cantin, 12 Rue du Champ de Mars

    My absolute favorite cafe for a great lunch is Le Rive Gauche, 6 Place Saint-Michel (more or less across the river from Notre Dame).
    Cincinnati, Ohio. Large BGE since 2011. Still learning.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 20,551
    Been a several decades since touring Paris with a great European GF but always dined at great hotel recommended restaurants.  And for adult entertainment- check out https://www.lecrazyhorseparis.com/  Still going strong.   B)
    Louisville;  "indeterminate Jim" here; L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,721
    The airport is a mess.  When flew through there coming back from Budapest.  3+hours to get through passport control almost missed out flight.  We got redirected on our way there because they were striking and the airport was shut down. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 32,096
    Coming from a country with a ruling party that hates immigrants,  what could possibly go wrong?
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 15,629
    U_tarded said:
    The airport is a mess.  When flew through there coming back from Budapest.  3+hours to get through passport control almost missed out flight.  We got redirected on our way there because they were striking and the airport was shut down. 
    As a frequent international traveler, I avoid CDG like the plague.  
    "A generation of the unteachable is hanging upon us like a necklace of corpses." - George Orwell 

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike

    Living large in the 919


  • EoinEoin Posts: 2,789
    I would say you are right to avoid the Louvre, too crowded.  Musee d'Orsay is excellent and definitely visit the Musee d'Orangerie to see Monet's Water Lilies series - 8 large paintings displayed in 2 purpose built oval rooms.

    If you go up to Sacre Coeur, take the steps up from the Place de Suzanne Valadon - my great great aunt. Sacre-Coeur offers a good view of the city, the other view worth a go is from the Montparnasse tower - https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/en/

    The Centre Pompidou is good and near to the large Catelet Les Halles shopping centre.

    Check an up to date guide book like Lonely Planet for decent places to eat / drink.
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 15,011
    Buy passes for the museums as soon as you arrive. There are several kiosks throughout the city which provide the entrance documents you need that eliminates the long lines waiting to buy tickets to go stand in long lines to get in. It helps alleviate the crowd issue significantly.

    Rethink the Louvre. 

    Find the Rodin museum.

    If your are a fan sculpture and culture, I second Robin's choice for a day tour. I think James Douglas Morrison's final resting place is perhaps the least impactful of those which are buried there, but a really cool thing to see if you are a doors fan.

    The history of that one square mile of cemetary at times can be overwhelming. Some of the greatest names which shaped our world are there.

    Hugo, Chopin, Proust, Wilde and many others are there, often with interesting stories of their location and those which the icons have met so much. Père Lachaise Cemetery is worth the trip.

    Get to the islands. There are great shops and bookstores throughout and around. The world's number one rated Ice Cream shop is on the islands. Be sure to get a bottle of wine, some cheese, a baguette and either ham or roast chicken and join the folks along the Seine at the end of the day. It is a party.

    Learn the subway. There is an app you can download, pick your destination and it will give you the route to get there.

    If you get the chance see Versailles. Worth the trip.

    If you want specific recommendations PM me with what you want. My Beautiful Wife and I go there every couple of years, so we may be able to help you dial in your choices just a bit better to fit your schedule vs where you are staying.

    One thing about the French, they are introverts, do not take that as dislike, or rude. It is humiliating to them to be asked for help and they can't give you what you need. They love to help, but they can be shy.
    Really wonderful people, and if you could get to the countryside, you will see.

    Do watch for pickpockets. Gangs of gypsies roam the streets in Paris, typically Romanian, and be very careful around the Moulon Rouge. It gets kind of crazy around there, and people get strongarmed.

    Paris, Is one of my most favorite places to hang out, I hope your trip will be wonderful.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • AprèsSkiAprèsSki Posts: 33
    There are a lot of good recommendations above, allow me to add these.

    The best meal we had in Paris last year was at Pierre Sang in Oberkampf https://pierresang.com/en/in-oberkampf-en/ Make a reservation, there are 2 seatings per night. Get the wine pairing, the som was amazing. It was far from the most expensive meal but easily the most enjoyable evening.

    If you have any interest in military history you must go to Les Invalides, the French military museum and site of Napoleon's grave all on the site of the world's first veterans' hospital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Invalides If the Mrs. doesn't enjoy military history send her to The Galeries Lafayette https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galeries_Lafayette  to shop while you geek out on history.  

    As touristy as it sounds, do take the Batobus. https://www.batobus.com/en/homepage   If you don't, at least take one of the evening boat tours on the Seine. The Eiffel Tower looks better from across the river at the Place du Trocadéro

    Sadly it is closed until March but anyone reading this in the future, check out the The L'Atelier des Lumineries. https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/en/home A former foundry that has been converted to a projection room where art is projected all around you and choreographed to music. Like all Parisian museums or events buy tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines.

    I second the endorsements for Musee d'Orangerie and the Rodin Museum. 

    Bring comfortable shoes, my wife tracks her miles and not one day was under six miles and one was nine.

    Lastly sit down and take it all in, preferably from an outdoor cafe seat with a drink in front of you. The French are amazing people who know how to live.

    Bon Voyage I'm jealous
    Firing up the XL BGE in Salt Lake City
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 32,096
    If you want a very interesting but not necessarily unique experience, dress full-on mime while you are there.  Don't speak to anyone, just use hand gestures.  Run into lots of invisible walls for the hilarity.

    Image result for mime gif

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Mdames501Mdames501 Posts: 21
    The Musee d'Orangerie to see the water lilies Should be top of your list. It’s really incredible even if you’re not really into art. Going to Sacre-Coeur is really cool and you can spend sometime walking around Montmartre. Those where two of my favorite things when we spent two weeks there
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