By ROSS HUDGENS
I just got back from a trip to Paris, France. It’s an amazing place, with a vibrant culture, beautiful buildings, and incredible history.
I definitely recommend you go. But as with every place on another continent, there are things that tourists should know before going – or find themselves a bit shocked by what occurs. Thankfully, I was able to experience the shock for you so you won’t have to experience it yourself.
1. The Louvre is Closed on Tuesday
As an American, I expect things to be open seven days – and when they do close, it’s probably on a Sunday – sometimes Monday. So when I visited the famous Paris museum the Louvre with my girlfriend on a Tuesday (while leaving the next day) I was totally shocked to find it closed. Never take anything for granted – whether traveling to the Louvre or anywhere.
Thankfully, we had time the next morning to get to the museum before we had to leave. You might not be so lucky.
2. You Shouldn’t Sign That Paper
The one scam we experienced when traveling was multiple people asking us to sign a petition – one for deafness and one for Nigeria. As we learned through a couple Google searches, these petitions are scams – meant to either swindle a money ask out of you once you’ve signed, or to actually distract you as you get pickpocketed.
Yes, that’s right – pickpockets are prevalent in Paris, and you should protect your items.
3. The Eiffel Tower is Not That Great
You see it everywhere, all the time. But the reality is that the Eiffel Tower is simply something kinda interesting to look at, and not nearly as impressive as you might think – at least to me anyway. Definitely, get in striking distance of the Tower to take it in, but taking an elevator up to the top is not worth the multiple hours of waiting you’ll have to endure in order to do so.
You’re better off sitting on a Paris corner drinking amazing coffee and people watching, or wandering a site street to eat a delicious crepe (use Nutella!).
4. Service is Really Slow – Not Bad
It is atypical in Paris to simply sit and relax while eating. Socialize, drink, and enjoy your company. For this reason you will not get expedited service – but it’s not bad, it just happens to be the way the country operates. We also found that few people would give us a check until asked – so if you’re in a rush, make sure you make that request early.
5. The Notre Dame is a Must See
My favorite place to go was the Notre Dame. Amazing on the outside, the inside is even more awe inspiring. Beautiful, intriticate glass makes up the inside walls of the church, awed tourists amble through, and the “be silent” signs add a hush to an absolutely impressive sight within the walls. I definitely recommend it.
All in all, Paris is an amazing place, and it gives some great context to life. Check it out, eat well, relax and take your time. That’s what you’ll enjoy the most about a trip to Paris.
Ross Hudgens works for Travelstart.co.za, flights company based in South Africa.