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Paris Travel Tips

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Chic, historic, and sophisticated – as far as legions of people around the world are concerned, Paris exemplifies continental culture at its most elegant. And while it’s true the city brims with fine art, intricate architecture and pristine green spaces, it’s more than just a static museum of itself. This is a place that’s busy and alive with cool eating spots and hip bars and clubs, a place that everyone of every age can call their own.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Both the spring and fall months are excellent times to visit Paris, with mild temperatures and not too many crowds at the big attractions. You will run the risk of rain, but there are plenty of museums to duck into, and the bad weather soon passes. December is also very pretty, with twinkling Christmas lights and themed markets for last minute shopping. Parisians tend to go on vacation during July and August, when the heat and the crowds of tourists can turn the city into a challenging experience.

 

Not to Miss

 

Paris has attractions so famous they almost go without saying. The likes of the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe should be on any to-do list, but the city is also the venue for many major festivals throughout the year. Paris Fashion Week is held twice a year, in the spring and then the autumn, bringing fashionistas from around the world to enjoy the colourful catwalk shows. The Paris Cinema Festival in July showcases some of France's best independent cinema, and Festival d'Automne à Paris celebrates visual arts, theatre, dance, and music at its most daring.

 

Getting around

 

Paris Charles de Gaulle is one of the major gateways into France, handling flights to and from a seemingly limitless succession of international cities. There are also regular Eurostar train services from London to Paris. Once you’re in the city itself, you’ll want to see as much of it on foot as possible, as there’s no better way of soaking up the famous atmosphere and admiring the impeccable boulevards. If you need to get somewhere in a jiffy, the Paris Metro is a good bet, or you can hop on one of the many buses.

 

Cuisine

 

The cuisine of Paris is one of its greatest draws, and visitors are completely spoilt for choice when wandering the city streets. You'll find cosy cafés, bistros serving rustic French classics like coq au vin, and fine dining eateries with crisp white tablecloths and silver Champagne buckets. Visiting the tempting bakeries and patisseries is essential, where you can try perfectly baked baguettes, rich pain au chocolat, and decadent pastries with endless layers of cream. The tiny yet busy chocolatiers sell sweet treats for souvenirs, or you can sample cheeses from around the country in one of the charming fromageries.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Some first time visitors to Paris can find the French a little abrupt, although this is usually because service is efficient and no-nonsense. Parisians generally don't make small talk or smile at strangers, so don't be offended or take it personally. Good manners are also appreciated, and learning a few words of French will endear you to the locals. When out dining, menu prices will include a tip, so you don’t need to add an extra tip on top unless you had some truly exceptional service.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 2.25 million

Spoken languages: French

Electrical: France runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +33 1112