Top Ten Mistakes on a Paris Vacation

Tips on Making a Trip to Paris Hassle-Free

Author: The Traveling Professor/Thursday, February 6, 2014/Categories: Paris

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Top Ten Mistakes Made When Traveling to Paris

1. Not Understanding Basic Social Protocols

Sometimes travelers think Parisians are rude.   But this is because Parisians think travelers are rude because they don’t follow their essential social protocol of saying “bonjour”, “s'il vous plaît”, and “merci” when appropriate.  After all, we are in their country.

2. Being a Target for Pickpockets

Unfortunately, Paris is loaded with pickpockets, so much so that the guards at the Louvre went on strike to protest:  Don’t carry passports or excessive amounts of money around.  Protect any valuables you may have with you.

3. Not Using Professional Guide Services

Guides in Paris are licensed and are required to take exhaustive examinations in order to get and keep that license.   They are knowledgeable professionals.   Guidebooks and audio guides cannot substitute for the professional guide experience.  The problem is, guides are expensive.  However, there are group tour programs that tourists can join up with.

4. Staying in a Hotel Outside the Historic Area

In selecting a hotel, location and location and location is the most important factor.  I like the Latin Quarter/St. Germain neighborhood.

5. Not Trying Local Foods

To me, eating local foods is one of the essentials reasons I travel.  Try the escargot, boeuf bourguignon, crepes, kig ha farz, raclette and oeuf mayonnaise.  Like I say, if you wanted to eat a Applebee’s, you should have stayed home.

6. Not Taking a Day Off

While it is important to plan an itinerary, I think it is important, especially in Paris, to set out one day while on your vacation, with no plans at all.   See where your metro pass and legs take you – it might be the best day of your trip.

7. Going on Large Group Tours

My friend, the well-known travel expert Arthur Frommer once compared those large 30-40 person group tours to being  “worse than death”.  If taking a group tour, make sure it is with about a dozen people at most.

8. Not Using Public Transportation

First of all, you gotta be nuts to try to drive in Paris.   It amazes me how many people refuse to take the bus/metro and will only walk or take a taxi.

9. Not Buying the Museum Pass

To me, the primary advantage to the Museum Pass is the VIP, no-wait-in-line admission to all the great museums.   If you go to probably 2 museums a day when using the 6-day MP, you will save money on admission fees.  Also, you tend to go into museums you would not normally go into if you did not have the pass.    Note: avoid buying the Paris Pass – not a good value.

10. What’s Your Tip on Things To Avoid in Paris?

I would love to hear your comments


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