First-timers in Paris

Sep 30th, 2004, 04:32 AM
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First-timers in Paris

Any tips for first-time visitors to Paris?
We are a young couple if that helps!
cjes76 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 04:34 AM
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Hi cj,

Start with the miniguide to Paris at
ira is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:12 AM
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What kind of tips are you looking for?

Here's a few:

pack light

learn a few french phrases

use your ATM card to get money

wear a money belt and be alert for pickpockets

buy a map prior to arrival and learn where your "must-see" attractions are

take comfortable shoes

sit at sidewalk cafes and people watch

buy a phone card to call home, don't use the hotel phone

degas is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:29 AM
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Good list. Here are two very useful, low cost publications [amazon]:
"The Paris Mapguide"
"Eating and Drinking in Paris"
RonZ is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Study this! (Paris Superthread)
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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good advice above, fodors offers a lot of information under Destinations, and the Paris superthread is a treasure trove, though you will have to continue to click on links to get to the information.

Aside from the fact that you are young, if you can say how much time you will have, where you are staying, what your interests are (art museums? jazz clubs? great food?), it would be easier to make other recommendations.

I have a long file on Paris; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
elaine is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Buy a copy of The Unofficial Guide to Paris. It's a great resource, especially for first-time visitors.
HowardR is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Posts: 8,617 is also a great resource.
elaine is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:15 AM
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When are you going?
What is your hotel budget?
Any sights that you particlualary would like to see (Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee..)?
Do you like museums,art, architecture?
Food preferences?
Like tours or going off on your own?
What kind of pace do you like (full days...or half day touring half day in cafes
Like castles?

Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Is your hotel your "castle" or your storage and sleeping area (helps to pick and set budget)?

Fodors has a good guide book. I have also found useful the Time Out guide for Paris.I also like Michelin Blue book as a map and have used Michelin Red book as a restaurant guide.

There are a lot of sites with info and for booking train tickets, getting opening hours, booking hotels,etc..

Certain times of the year are busy..I would guess June to October are the busiest. If you are going, booking hotels early is not a bad plan.

All (?) restaurants post their menus outside so you can check prices and do any translations if needed.

The St Germain, Latin Quarter and Marais are districts that may appeal to you for staying and eating.


Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:26 AM
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My husband and I were first-timers in Paris a few weeks ago, and we're in our late 20s. Degas' tips are good... if you ask more specific questions, I'll attempt to answer them!
strass is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 06:49 AM
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Hi cjes76:

I just got back my first trip to Paris with my boyfriend (his first was about ten years ago). We spent 8 days. Here's a few things that worked for us:

-We bought a map of the city before we left so that we could get a sense of distances between attractions.
-We studied a metro map to learn how to get from our hotel to the areas we wanted to visit, once we figured out that one, the rest was easier.
-The Carte Orange for the metro saved us a lot of money.
-We had a spreadsheet with all sights/museums/attractions we wanted to visit including arrondissement, metro station, hours, price and special notes such as closing days or hours to avoid. We sorted the spreadsheet by arrondisement so that, once we arrived in one arrondisement to visit something, we could quickly see what else was around.
-We packed lightly and were very glad since we took the train to and from CDG and it made manuvering much easier.
-We saw one instance of pickpocketing on the metro. I was glad we wore money belts since we didn't have to worry about pickpockets while we were trying to figure out where to get off the train.
-We walked so much that my two pairs of my most comfortable shoes and a plastic container to soak my feet at night became my best friends.
-We visited the Louvre after 6:00 PM W-F when the crowds were gone. Blissful.
-We went up the Eiffel Tower about an hour before sunset so we experienced the view during daylight and twilight, and watched the city come alight little by little.
-We carried a lightweight waterproof windbreaker in our day bags all the time and it came in quite handy many, many times.
-We took time to sit at cafes to enjoy hot cocoa or the amazing gelato, and watch people go by, those are some of the best moments we had.
Have fun!

regalada is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Even though it's a little more expensive than some guidebooks, I love the Eyewitness Travel Guides. Get one for Paris. It breaks everything up into areas (mostly by arrondisements), has pictures and small maps of each area. There is a metro map in the back of the book although you might want to get another one to carry by itself.

Regalada's tips were great. She is right about walking. We actually only took the metro two times, we walked everywhere. Make sure you have several pairs of comfortable shoes because I found that switching between pairs of shoes helped my feet.
Definitely visit the Eiffel Tower at night and the museums on less crowded times. Some depends on the weather so let us know when you are going.
paula1470 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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Get a map and start walking!! Well you can catch the Metro or taxi if you like but it is a city well done on foot.

Our best map was free- we got it in the hotel lobby, easier to read than the purchased & guidebooks ones we had!

Pick a different area each day, a few highlights to see in each (monuments, museum, etc.) and let the day unfold. Stop for lunch when you see a charming cafe.

Paris is an easy city in my limited (and relatively unprepared) experience.
suze is online now  
Sep 30th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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..have fun reading novels set in Paris or movies shot in a hotel early...all of the above info is good but i'd suggest the Michelin green guide as the only one to take (but I use the others for planning) the museum pass but i really think you end up doing as well with a book of tickets (a carnet) as with a pass..I find I walk a lot...dont over plan. have one must see each day and then take it from there...I am not sure of the obcession re money belts..I have lived in Paris and never had a problem....but I suppose I am street wise and familiar with the areas of concern...have a great time and make sure your shoes are comfortable.
travelbunny is offline  
Sep 30th, 2004, 11:24 AM
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We really appreciated our Streetwise Paris map. Laminated, easy to fold, and lists all the streets in the city. Worth the $8 I spent here at home to buy it.

We didn't use moneybelts and had no problems, but I know opinions really differ on that. We couldn't believe the speed and efficiency of the Metro... it puts our Chicago transport to shame. You can see so much in one day via Metro, and it's incredibly easy to use, too.
strass is offline  

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