Paris‘s the charming city par excellence: glamorous boutiques, inviting cafés and brasseries, world-famous museums and monuments, breath-taking views, mysterious churches and an artists’ cemetery. Beautiful, fashionable, proud, and inspiring at every corner. Paris is the city that every fashion victim dreams of. The city where anybody would like to hear a love declaration or a wedding proposal. The city where’s a meeting after midnight could be not a meeting. But ‘the’ meeting. Personally, I find truly irresistible that unique mix of Gothic, glitters, wind, romance, history, art, rudeness, modern and old. But as poetry to be truly enjoyed and saved needs good care, if you visit Paris, no matter if the first, second, third time, you’ll need the same manner, consciousness and respect as in front of a ‘majestic first lady’.
For this reason, I though about sharing with you some tips about the top 10 things not to do in Paris. If you follow them, it will keep shining for what it really is. La ville lumière.
#Book a hotel – Ok beauty queens, I perfectly understand you don’t want to chip your best manicure while washing a dirty dish. – Horror! But the best way to explore a place is not behind a fence, right? So why wasting your budget into a super-expensive, sincerely overpriced 5 star hotel? Thanks to Airbnb, you can now book amazing flats, where you can breathe the bohemian, chic, romantic atmosphere all the same, without being completely aside for the real city. If you don’t know Airbnb, have you been leaving on Mars for the past three years, right?
#Get around town by taxi – Paris is not New York. – Exhaling – So you can’t expect to call a taxi from the street, or to pay a ride just a few euros. By the way, to catch a taxi you need to call and book it an advance or find a taxi stand. The traffic is quite crowded and the city is all, all, all covered by metro. The metro stops have also beautiful and inspiring names and sometimes stylish design. Like in the picture above. And unless you have a date with Monsieur Le President in person, you can wear comfy shoes and walk. Yes, walk. You’ll stay fit and toned, thanks to a lot of steps up and down. You’ll save yourself stress, time, money.
#Shop at Galeries Lafayette or in the Champs Elysée – We’re all shopping lovers, I know, but unless you need a souvenir from the Galeries Lafayette, there’s actually no good reason to shop there. You’ll avoid feeling like The Little Match girl, among women (mostly Arabian and Asian) shopping n°10 Louis Vuitton’s handbags at a time and a Tiffany’s engagement ring with yellow diamonds + a Bulgari necklace and why not a beautiful present for each of the sisters (4 minimum). Beauty products are overpriced, it’s not the smartest option in the world to buy a Canadian, or Australian brand in France, since they pay taxes, transport and mark ups and without teaching you Economics, you won’t find there your French Holy Grails. The same is in the Champs Elysée. Always nice to see, but remember, they’re very much consumer and full of mainstream brands you can find as well in your home city. More or less. A few exceptions, here, as usually in life.
#Get the worst out of the Louvre – The Louvre is immense. Believe me, immense. And it’s also one of the most visited museums in the world. Can you imagine how long the queue at the entrance can be? And the horde in front of Mona Lisa, Love & Psyche, The crowning of Napoleon, the Venus de Milo? So, let’s start with the basics. There’s an entrance you can use from the Carousel du Louvre, exactly below the museum, instead of the main entrance from outside. Buy your tickets at the self-service machines. Study the plan and make a selection of what you want to see. Don’t miss the Richelieu side of the magnificent building as it is amazing.
#Loose time at the Tour Eiffel – Do we really need one more picture of the Tour Eiffel? Or even worse, from the Tour Eiffel? There are many others places with a view in Paris, from the Sacre Coeur to the Pompidou museum, just to mention the most famous ones. It’s only a metal tower and Paris has much more to offer. Enjoy beauty, not common stereotypes!
#Buy paintings at Montmartre – An other stereotype: painters at Place du Tertre in the Montmartre districts are not nowadays bohemians. You’ll be surprised to know that they’re not necessarily French, not bohemians at all and that they’re even only professional sellers. If you’re looking for art in Paris, try to have a look at the galleries and the small shops in the district of Marais, or around Saint-Germain des Prés, as well as far from the Sacre Coeur and the famous square. But visit the church. It’s really beautiful!
#Miss a true baguette – Baguettes instead are not fiction. Parisian people eat them for real. They’re baked fresh and sold un-packaged. Yes. Unpackaged. So don’t buy one thinking they’ll store it into a nice paper bag or something. Parisians carry bread under the armpits. Disgusting? Mhm…well not the top of hygiene, to be honest. But those with cereals, which they call “aux grains” are truly Heaven. Remember, they may cause severe addiction.
#Waste money on macarons – Yes, I sad it. I can’t stand macarons anymore. As well as I can’t suffer cupcakes, but this is because I’m Italian and among the many desserts you can bake or take pictures of it seems like anyone knows only macarons and cupcakes. Oh dear! I’m sorry, but there’s a whole world of chic, delicious, hand-made French pastry and in Paris the offer of boulangeries and patisseries is so wide, that it would be a pity to limit only to those chemical fake-colored tacky bloody hell expensive sweets. And the good news is that in France desserts are sold into luxury boxes and refined down to the very last detail. Don’t be lazy!
#Assume all French men are ‘charmant’ – I’m sorry not to have pictures to illustrate this concept, but French men are not all born gentlemen. Nor been educated to be. It may happen that one of them will push you at the metro stop, or won’t open you the door, nor let you pass in a small alley or give a discount at a bar only because you’re a woman and he’s a French man. This having said, you’ll may meet the one who offers you a glass of champagne at the Four Season terrace or kiss the hand or buy his bottle of fragrance, so that you can smell his scent all the time on you.
#Speak English – Are you daydreaming now? Sorry to interrupt, but if you learn some French before landing to Paris it could be a wonderful idea. Locals will appreciate, be more polite, things will take their right place and most of all, you’ll feel more free, more at ease, more smart. Languages open your horizons. ça va sans dire.