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Tourist Traps?

Vancouver
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Tourist Traps?

Hello all,

Hubby and I are going to paris the 1st 2 weeks of June - so excited!

We'd like to experience Paris like locals do -- so please list of your places/things to avoid (i.e. TOURIST TRAPS!)

I've gotten advice like don't go into a restaurant if all you hear is english being spoken...or if waiters are outside trying to coax people in...or if menus are provided in multiple languages...

Anything/place specific?

Thanks a bunch!

Leeds & Germany
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89 posts
207 reviews
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1. Re: Tourist Traps?

We've just really enjoyed the cabaret la Nouvelle Eve in Rue Fontaine near Pigalle. Singing, dancing, bit of titillation, excellent tumblers and only about 90 euros pp for seats and a bottle of champagne.

Conversely, avoid the Lido cabaret on the champs elysees like the plague. Nothing to do with Paris or the French, more like cheap Blackpool / Vegas entertainment and masses of tourists, loooong queues and fighting among the queuers / queue-jumpers. We left after 30 mins as it was so bad!

Seek out the market on Rue Mouffetard for some local colour, especially on a Sunday morning. Sadly the tourists have discovered it but it's still a great market and the seniors open air ballroom dancing to a French accordion combo is quite touching

Victoria, Canada
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2. Re: Tourist Traps?

To experience Paris like the locals do, may I suggest you get a job, get an apartment, eat at home every meal , and leave your camera at home, LOL

Ok, so now, we have established that you are not going to "experience Paris like a local" ,,, since you are in fact, going to be a tourist on vacation.

You can however avoid "tourist traps". Avoiding restaurants just because you hear someone speaking english, well that is rather impractical, what are you going to do , circle places all night and listen in,, LOL. I personally agree with the recommendation to avoid restaurants where a man is enticing you in from the street, just like home that to me implies the food is not enough to draw in trade.

I am also one of the " avoid Moulin Rouge" , but there are many who disagree and enjoy the show very much. I do know my relatives who live in Paris have never been there, but then , I should also tell you that some of my relatives had never been to the Louvre either!! So you can't avoid everything locals do...

Read these boards, they are very helpful, I had been to Paris many times before I even found these forums, and I am surprised still to learn so much every time I go on ..

Rent an apt rather then a hotel for a more authentic local experience, like having to shop at the market etc.. but, unfortunately you have left it a bit late for that, June is mega busy month.

Have fun.

London, UK
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1,502 posts
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3. Re: Tourist Traps?

Why would locals want to publicise the places they go on a tourist website and hence turn them into tourist traps? I certainly wouldn't do it on the London forum.

USA
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4. Re: Tourist Traps?

>>>I've gotten advice like don't go into a restaurant if all you hear is english being spoken<<<

BEWARE of over-reaching travel advice.

I take it that you speak fluent French ??...otherwise by the definition of whomever gave you the advice (no doubt they at least speak fluent French?), the place YOU 've just entered has just become a "..TOURIST TRAP..".

Most of the restaurants that have shills and hawkers out front, button-holing passers-by to come in will be located in the Place Saint Michel/rue de la Huchette/rue de la Harpe section of the upper-5eme-Latin Quarter. One could be profoundly deaf and not be able to hear a single syllable of ANY spoken language and still recognize this immediate area and most of the restaurants here as '..tourist traps..'. Actually some of the restaurant 'shills' in this neighborhood can be fun to watch. I once stood, utterly fascinated by one of these 'shills' on a Saturday evening in summer, who seemed able to banter in at least five(5) languages that I could recognize and a couple more that are still a mystery to me. This guy's 'repetoire' was remarkable...switching from one language to another, with no more difficulty than I might turn a light switch on or off. As a profound 'monoglot', I was IMPRESSED....so impressed that we almost succumbed to his 'pitch' to dine at his restaurant....but then simple self-preservation and common sense reasserted themselves.

English is the UN-official, 2nd-language of a large, international-city like Paris...as well as a great many of its foreign visitors (of all nationalities). So many restaurants will offer menu listings with English '..sub-titles..' as a practical necessity. If you avoid restaurants with English on their menus...then you will be avoiding many of Paris' best restaurants. An all-French language menu may say something about a purity of language...but says NOTHING about the quality of the food.

Florida, USA
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5. Re: Tourist Traps?

<Why would locals want to publicise the places they go on a tourist website and hence turn them into tourist traps? I certainly wouldn't do it on the London forum.>

WELL, because they are giving travel advice. I live in Florida which by nature is a very touristic state. When I give advice on where to eat, I try to send people to the best food depending on their budget, wants, and needs. I don't send people to the "tourist traps." In most people's minds -- or should I say mine, (I don't presume to know nor want to what are in most people's minds -- eewwwh!) a tourist trap is an establishment that is filled to the brim with tourist, serves mediocre food at inflated prices, etc. Obviously the poster is not going to get a job, go to work, blah, blah, blah. Again, the poster as I do, would just like to see a little of Parisian life and have dinner where a Parisian would go out if not eating at home. I think maybe that is what the poster is asking.

I myself have eaten at restaurants with a 3 language menu and some of them have been really good. I went to one in Venice twice it was so good. And in Rome had one of my fondest food memories at one. Don't discount them, just do your homework.

Vancouver
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6. Re: Tourist Traps?

Thank you thirstytrotter. I think my original post may have been misunderstood. By no means am I saying that I am going to Paris not to be a tourist.

We have indeed rented an apartment and are looking forward to shopping and cooking some of our own meals. We also intend to visit the Louvre and other tourist sites, but want to avoid the obvious rip-offs geared towards tourists.

I was just looking for some friendly advice as others do on this forum. I didn't expect this much commentary - just a list of places I should avoid...Sorry if my original post offended anyone!

Williamsburg...
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7. Re: Tourist Traps?

Hi Paris1stTimer:

One of the best bits of advice (deeply hidden amongst the verbiage) was to rent an apartment, if you want to get some semblance of a Parisian's life, small and short lived as it may be...) So glad to read you have rented an apartment. I'm sure you will enjoy it. I think it is fun to shop in the markets (Rue de Buci, Rue Mouffetard, etc.) and pick up your own fruit and veg, etc.

I would add that you will want to avoid going to the cafes near major tourist sights like Notre Dame. I do believe they fall into the category-tourist trap. But there are lots of cafes/restaurants in the near vacinity- a few blocks away, where you will able to mix with the locals (who have taken a break from their jobs, etc.) and other tourists.

Bonne chance and bon voyage!

BT

8. Re: Tourist Traps?

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