Paris Travel Guide For A First-Timer: Things To Do, Where To Eat, Tips & Tricks

I’m really stretching “better late than never” by publishing a Paris travel guide 10 months after our trip. I’ve been meaning to share this post for a while, but you know how it goes. We booked the trip on a whim and stayed in an Airbnb in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. In retrospect, we’ll probably book closer to the Eiffel Tower or another landmark when we go back, but we had the loveliest time at our Airbnb. Without further ado, here are some highlights from our magical trip to France! Let’s start with a few things you should definitely do if you’re going.

Visit The Louvre At Night

tampa bloger ayana lage stands in front of the louvre museum in paris, france

We accidentally ended up at the Louvre on our first night in France, and I’m not exaggerating a bit when I say that it was magical. I never would’ve thought to visit at night, but seeing the museum lit up is an experience I won’t forget.

Take The Metro

We saved so much money by purchasing Metro cards when we got to Paris! We weren’t sure whether we’d be able to navigate the Metro with Vagner only knowing conversational French and me knowing how to say approximately three words in the language, but it was super easy. We did take some Uber trips when we got tired of walking, but we were able to save money on transportation by using Google Maps to learn the Metro.

Order Coffee Everywhere

coffee at a parisian cafe

You’ll never look at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts the same after drinking coffee in France. We are being cheated, my friends. Even the cheapest cups of coffee in Paris were incredible quality and worlds better than the coffee I’m used to in the states. And I’m not even much of a coffee drinker.

Visit A Fromagerie

The highlight of our trip, by far, was dinner at a cheese and wine shop called Fromagerie DANARD. It’s been almost a year since our trip, and Vagner and I still regularly reminiscence about how good the food was. I’ve never tasted meat and cheese so flavorful in my entire life. (Can you tell that I’m drooling thinking about it?)

Drink As Much Cheap Wine As Possible

I’m a bit of a cheapskate, especially when it’s time to look at a drink menu. Here’s the incredible thing about drinking in Paris: Much like the coffee, even the bad wine is still really good. We ordered a glass or two with every meal. So worth it.

Some Things We Wish We’d Known

  • Don’t try to do laundry in France unless you know what you’re doing. Their dryers are a lot less efficient than ours, so we had to hang our clothes to dry at a friend’s apartment on our way to London — otherwise, we would’ve been stuck with a suitcase filled with wet clothing.
  • If the Metro stops running due to an accident or delays, finding alternate routes can be difficult. We got stuck in a Metro station near the Arc de Triomphe trying to get to our hotel (for those of you who know the city, we were staying near CDG airport). We ended up taking a bus to the airport, but it was stressful because we didn’t know enough French to ask for help.
  • Get to popular spots early if you want pictures! Otherwise, you’ll have to wait in long lines.
  • Watch your bags when you’re in touristy areas, because pickpocketing is a thing.
  • Call restaurants to find out their hours! I can’t tell you how many times we traveled across the city to check out a cafe only to find out they closed early. Unlike American chain restaurants, the French aren’t beholden to their hours (which is kind of charming, TBH).

 

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