1. Metro - the metro (AKA the underground subway station) will be your best friend when traveling around the city! They do have buses that can also take you most places, but they are very hot and crowded in the summer, so beware. Claire and I waited a few days to figure out the metro and that was one of our biggest mistakes! It is so cheap and easy to figure out...download the app RATP to get directions to anywhere you want to go using the metro!
2. Language - I am so happy that we took the time to learn some basic French because it absolutely made the biggest difference! The French really appreciate tourists who at least try to speak the language and are definitely more courteous when effort is given. Just learning the basics (hello, goodbye, thank you, I don't speak much French, excuse me, I would like...) will get you far. Many people there know English, but it is just courteous to start out with a little of their language, even if you aren't fluent!
3. Public bathrooms - there are not many public bathrooms in France, which was definitely one of our biggest hurdles when we were there. There are usually some in the museums (but trust us when we say, they don't smell the best) and others you generally have to pay to use. I suggest going as much as you can at the place you are staying. Sometimes in the middle of the day, we would head back to our apartment to have a little snack, rest, and use the bathroom!
4. Vitamins - I brought my vitamins with me, including an immunity one, to help keep my body in balance when coming into a totally new environment. They helped so much and I didn't get sick at all while I was there, except for a few random bloody noses! If you are someone that finds it hard to sleep in new places, I really suggest taking the sleepy time vitamins that I have been using. You can read my full post about the vitamins I take here.
5. Weather - I think it's always a good idea to remember that weather can be so unpredictable when traveling! Even though it was the dead of summer when we went, we still had some crazy weather. The first week we were in Paris the temp was in the high 80s and then the second week it was rainy and in the 60s! We made it a point to pack for all kinds of weather and it helped out when the weather took a turn on us! Lots of layering pieces are always a good idea. PS, don't forget to pack lots of comfy shoes...my espadrilles were a lifesaver! Here are some of my fave pairs...
6. Timing/planning - Paris can be a very overwhelming city, especially if you are there for a short period of time. There is so much to do, so much to see, and so it can be really helpful to plan out some of the trip. Claire and I tried to plan our days by what attractions and restaurants where in the same area so we weren't going all over the place, all the time! Download a map of the city's arrondissements to make some mental notes!
7. Airbnb - we rented an apartment through this website and were so happy that we chose to! The rent was so inexpensive and the apartment looked exactly like the pictures. We were able to see pictures beforehand, everything it included, read reviews, and chat with the owner through the website. All you have to do is search a city and so many different options, at different price points, will come up! I highly recommend checking it out if you aren't look to stay in an expensive hotel the next time you travel.
PS, use this link to get $30 off your next Airbnb rental!
8. Paris pass - one of the best decisions we made when planning our trip was buying the Paris Pass. It is kind of expensive but completely worth it because it covers everything. You get entrance to most attractions (lots of which you can skip the lines for!) and it includes free transportation for the metro and buses for the duration of your pass. We bought the 6 day one and it saved us so much time and money!
9. Jet lag - flying on a plane and totally messing up your sleep schedule can be really hard on your mind and body! I would strongly advise to sleep on the plane if you can, to help you stay awake if you arrive early in the day. After we arrived we took an hour nap too, and that really helped us get through the first day. The best way to fight jet lag on the trip, and when you get back, is just to try and stay on schedule and not sleep in too long and stay up too late!
10. Non-tourist places - if I were to suggest anything about traveling to Paris, it would be to try and check out some non-tourist places as well! While it's absolutely amazing to see the main attractions, some of the best times that we had were at places that were totally off the grid. Rue Cremieux was our personal fave!
Read my entire Fashion, Food, Fun Paris guide here!