Things You’ll Be Glad You Knew Before Going to Paris
When visiting the City of Light, there are a few key strategies that will help you see the city and be a savvy traveler.
Purchase a Paris Museum Pass, which grants access to the top museums and sites in the city, often skipping the long ticket lines. Act like a VIP at the Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Orsay Museum, Notre Dame Tower Climb, Versailles Palace, Rodin Museum, Napoleon’s tomb and more. These passes can be purchased for two-, four- or six-day increments often for the less of the price of all of the attraction admissions if purchased separately.
The Museum Pass does not cover the Eiffel Tower ascent, but reservations can be made online -- saving at least an hour (if not more) of waiting in line. The best time of day to ascend is right before dusk to catch a glimpse of the Paris in daylight, during sunset and then again as the city lights begin to sparkle.
When visiting the Arc de Triomphe, do not try to dart across the massive traffic circle to see the Arc up close. A somewhat hidden underground tunnel safely transports tourists to the massive landmark.
Cabs are difficult to find and completely unnecessary to get around Paris. The subway system shuttles locals and tourists to every nook and cranny in the city, including top attractions. If you will be in the city for more than a handful of days, the most cost effective way to purchase tickets is to buy a book of 10 – saving money on each fare.
The subway train doors do not automatically open at each stop. Save yourself the embarrassment (unlike me) and push the button to open the door to exit/enter the train instead of standing at the door waiting for it to open.
Many restaurants offer preset menus for lunch, which includes an appetizer, main dish and dessert for 11-25 euros per person. The three courses are often significantly cheaper than purchasing the dishes a al carte. This is a great way to sample the best Parisian dishes such as duck confit, escargot, onion soup and quiche. Just be sure to take the long way back to your hotel to walk off the creme brulee.