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Everything you need to know in a nutshell

laguna niguel,ca
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Everything you need to know in a nutshell

1. Stop worrying about thieves and pickpockets - yes they are there they will only bother those who are unaware and clueless I over prepared and feel silly now. It really was no big deal.

2. Don't worry about what area you stay in they are all good and transportation is a breeze - you can walk almost everywhere and thats when you will see the best stuff -Taxis to me were well worth it because I got to sight see at the same time

3. Learn simple French phrases to be polite but realize everyone speaks English and you won't have any trouble communicating - I spent a year learning French and barely got a chance to finish a sentence!

4.Do not over plan pick a few things you must see and spend the rest of the time just walking and exploring each neighborhood is beautiful, interesting and different

5. French people do not hate Americans and they are very friendly - forget everything you have heard about French being rude it is outdated and untrue. They are more polite and formal but certainly very friendly

6. Pick what you must see at the Louvre and go directly to that exhibit -if you spent 30 seconds looking at each piece of art it would take 4 months to finish it all so pick ahead of time

7. Expensive French food and fancy restaurants are wonderful if your passion is gourmet cooking otherwise our best meals were spent in cafes sitting outside people watching - do some research here for simple good restaurants - we spent hundreds in Michelin star restaurants before we determined we enjoyed the cafes far more

8. If you don't like museums don't go to them - Paris has so much to offer you can skip all the major tourist attractions and still see amazing things

9. It is really beautiful to go outside of the city and there are many options - just search and plan a day if you have enough time (my favorite Brugge, Belguim)

10.Do not miss seeing the Latin Quarter, Montmartre area and the market streets where you can pick up great food for a simple picnic and people watching

11. Sit, watch, enjoy, drink the wine, eat the pastries and soak up the surroundings the days we had little planned were by far the most enjoyable

12. With the exception of August when many places close down there is no bad time to go to Paris all the seasons are gorgeous - If you are going to see major tourist attractions buy the museum pass and skip the lines

Philadelphia
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1. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

Exactly. Especially #12. :-)

Edited: 06 January 2014, 06:21
Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

We have been in Paris during August, and the only closure that we noticed was the Berthillon Ice Cream shop on the Île-St-Louis. And that did not matter much, as there were plenty of places on the Île selling Berthillon. Maybe some small shops and restaurants were closed, but there were many that were open.

Taiwan
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3. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

1. Always be aware of potential thieves and pickpockets.

2. Think well about where you want to stay down to exact street. Some streets have nothing, some streets are charming. Research well and select what fits your taste as travel is easy anywhere.

3. Learn the basic words and be award that ordering food can be challenging as menu's commonly have no English.

4. Plan well, but be flexible and stroll around and don't try to fit every single event in unless you'll never return.

5. French people are great but be aware that the style in Paris may be a bit more formal and abrupt.

6. If you want to see the Mona Lisa, arrive early, as the crowds limit good viewing.

7. Try eating at nice places and simple places, and more importantly, do as others do and grab a couple baguettes, meat, cheese, and make your own meal and enjoy it somewhere on the street or park.

12. There is no bad time to go to Paris as even when it drizzles, it sizzles. You might not even notice closed shops in August as many if not most remain open these days.

Selinsgrove...
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4. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

You nailed it.

Paris 4th Arr
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5. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

No disrespect to other posters on this thread but I think the OP's post stands on it's own.

Paris, France
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6. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

It´s all opinion of course but I find sunsandsurf61´s points all well taken.

And the idea that Paris should be avoided in August is usually expressed by those who themselves have spent very little time in Paris during that month. Airconditioning might be a plus for a hotel room during August but otherwise I find it a wonderful time to be in Paris.

Paris 4th Arr
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7. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

I spend every summer including August in Paris. All the advice we give TA posters on the Paris forum about getting away from the single digit arrondissements, venturing out from the touristic sections, trying that little brasserie/boulangerie/café/etc - falls apart in August. If all you are going for is a touristic experience, August is just like any other month. Otherwise, you'll need some local skills to find which businesses are open in any given neighborhood. You might luck out but you're more likely to find yourself shopping at only supermarkets because the local purveyors of quality French food are on vacances.

That said, I love August because the city is half as crowded as any other month of the year. Good luck finding a plumber if you have an emergency but if your local corner café/brasserie is open during August, it's almost like old times.

los angeles
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8. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

metromole, that semi "closed down" feeling was my experience in August during one of my first trips to Paris, almost 15 years ago. I have been avoiding Paris in August ever since, but was wondering if my thinking was obsolete, so thanks for the update. If the only time I could go was in August, I certainly would not pass up the chance, but I prefer to have the world [of Paris] as my oyster. Thanks again.

This is not to find fault with either of the nutshell lists here. Both are very helpful. Often, two things can be true at once (such as plan and don't plan)!

Edited: 06 January 2014, 18:08
Pennsylvania
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9. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

I have stayed in the non-touristy arr. of 12 and 9 and I disagree that everyone speaks English. Not in my little local boulangerie or patisserie or in my local supermarkets or cafes. I like it that way -- I studied French for 5 years so I could use it!

Paris, France
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10. Re: Everything you need to know in a nutshell

Maddie - this is a good point. It's true that first-time visitors might be uncomfortable staying in certain areas where tourists are in the minority.

Paris is a safe city, and people will be friendly enough if you need help, but not overly-so, as they tend to be in tourist central. You won't see as many menus translated into English, for example, and asking for directions can be problematic if you don't speak French. I think it's a good idea for people who are interested in the "real" Paris to have a look around many other neighborhoods, but I don't think it's necessarily a good idea for them to stay there - especially if they plan on renting an apartment.

I often wander around outside of the famous "single-digit-by-the-river" neighborhoods, and am always surprised at how different the ambiance is, there. Particularly noticeable on Sunday afternoons, it seems, when not many women or children are in sight and mostly men are sitting at the cafes. My French really does get a good workout, though.