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Paris: 7 Things Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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There is a reason why Paris is one of the most visited places in the world.

It is a city rich in music, food, history, and architecture. It is a stylish place always at the forefront of art, fashion, and design. Paris is hip yet classy and trendy while also being grounded in values and tradition.

The city regularly welcomes a staggering 30+ million visitors each year, with well over 2 million American visitors in 2019.

Paris Eiffel Tower and river Seine at sunset in Paris, France. Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris.

But before setting off to Paris, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we'll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Paris, including:

  • What are the costs for travelers?
  • Things to know about culture and etiquette
  • What are the top attractions?
  • How safe is it?
  • Local food and drinks
  • How good is the WiFi?
  • How long can you stay?
Paris-square

Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Paris:

Did you know… Next year, Paris will host the 2024 Summer Olympics at venues throughout the city. From July 26 – August 11, athletes from around the globe will compete in 32 different sports for the chance at gold. It will be the first Olympic Games to have breakdancing as an event.

1) Paris Affordability

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The currency in Paris is the Euro or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.06 USD, and $1 USD = €0.94 EUR.

Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:

Accommodation

Accommodations in Paris are not cheap! However, better deals can be found if you book ahead and are flexible with locations or visit during the offseason. These are the average peak summer prices for a room in Paris.

  • Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel costs around $430, while a room at a 4-star hotel is around $730/night.
  • Luxury 5-star hotels: Luxury 5-star hotels, like The Cheval Blanc can cost well over $3000 per night for a suite.
  • If you're on a budget: Paris is home to hundreds of hostels for budget-conscious tourists. While there are cheaper options available, a bed at a well-rated hostel will cost around $45 per night
Young Female Traveler Standing On A Rooftop In Paris With A View Of The Eiffel Tower

Food

Visitors to Paris will find everything under the sun when it comes to dining. How much you spend is up to you.

  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $70.
  • For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay around $15
  • A beer costs between $6 – $7, while a cappuccino is about $4.

Transportation

Getting around Paris is a breeze thanks to an incredibly extensive and efficient public transit system and plentiful bike share and e-scooter companies.

  • A single-use ticket on the metro or bus costs $2, but there are deals if you buy a pack of 10 tickets, a ParisVisite pass, or if you are under 26 years old.
  • Bike sharing and e-scooters are very popular in Paris. In fact, there are 11 different companies to choose from. Prices for Velib bikes are $3, or $20 for a 3-day pass. E-scooter prices vary by company but, in general, cost $1 to unlock and $0.20 per minute after.
  • Taxis in Paris are quite expensive – the minimum fare is $7.50 regardless of the distance traveled, plus an additional $3 per mile.

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a row of bright green bikes line a bike path in Paris

2) Culture And Etiquette In Paris

Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Paris.

  • Do say bonjour: Even if you don’t speak any French, it is important to offer a greeting of bonjour (or bonsoir after 6 pm) before any interaction with another person. 
  • DON’T eat while walking: Parisians take their food very seriously, and it is frowned upon to walk and eat at the same time.  
  • DO know how to greet: If you meet a stranger for the first time, a simple handshake will do. When meeting friends or family, however, it is customary to kiss on both cheeks, starting on the left side, then moving to the right.
  • DON’T touch produce at the markets: Paris is home to some incredible farmers' markets that every tourist should visit. Just be sure not to touch any of the items for sale. If you are interested in purchasing something, let the shopkeeper know, and they will hand it to you.
  • DO tip: If you are happy with the service in a restaurant or taxi, a small tip (round up, or leave around 10%) is appreciated. If you hire a tour guide or join a group tour, tips of $10-$15 are expected.
Paris Cafe

3) Top Attractions in Paris

Paris is full of incredible places to explore. In fact, the city is home to 27 free museums and 394 free sightseeing attractions. Here are a few of the top things to see and do while exploring the city:

  • The Louvre – The world’s largest museum and home to famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.
  • The Eiffel Tower – The city’s iconic symbol is definitely worth a visit, whether you just want to take photos from the grass of Champ Mars or take the elevator all the way to the top for epic views of Paris.
  • Food Tours – A great way to see the city and fill your belly is to take a food tour in Paris. There are plenty of different options available depending on your tastes. Some popular ones include gourmet French food tours, wine and cheese tours, chocolate and bakery tours, and walking tours of food markets.
Young Blonde Woman Wearing A Red Summery Blouse And A Straw Hat As She Smiles Taking A Selfie With The Eiffel Tower In Paris, France, Europe

4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As far as big cities go, Paris is relatively safe. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:

  • Beware of pickpockets: Be especially vigilant in tourist areas and on the Metro.
  • Know the emergency number: Tourists can access emergency services by dialing 112.
  • Women be aware: Catcalling is common on the streets and on public transportation. Avoid walking alone at night, and don’t leave drinks unattended.
  • Watch out for tourist scams: Ignore individuals who approach you to sell something unprovoked.
  • Take a taxi at night: Especially if you are traveling alone. The Metro closes at midnight on weekdays and 1:30 am on the weekends.  
  • DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Paris trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
Romantic couple riding bicycles near the Eiffel tower in Paris

5) Local Eats And Drinks

One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Paris is one of the best cities in the world for food. Don't let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:

Food

  • Chocolate – Paris is home to many incredible chocolate shops. We dare you to try them all!
  • Bread and pastries – you haven’t had a croissant until you’ve tried one in Paris – visit the bakeries early in the morning for the freshest selection.
  • Jambon-beurre – a sandwich made from half of a baguette smeared with butter and filled with ham

Drink

  • French Wine ­– you’ll find it all over the world, but somehow it is even better (and cheaper!) in France
  • Coffee – grab a seat alongside locals at a busy café and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and people watching
  • Kir – a popular aperitif made with blackcurrant liqueur and white wine
People are having lunch in a terrace restaurant, relaxing and friendly moment, style of life.

6) How's the WiFi?

Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Paris for January 2023 were 75.73mbps download and 9.23mbps upload.

A busy street at dusk in Paris

7) How Long Can I Stay?

U.S. Citizens can stay in France for 90 days without a visa. However, they need a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of departure from the Schengen area. It is also important to know that you cannot enter France visa-free on an emergency 12-page U.S. passport, so make sure you have all your travel documents sorted well before your trip. 

Read More:

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Al LeFeusch

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Not a fan. People kept telling me I hadn't seen the right parts yet... So, I went back five times. I can now confidentially say.... I'm not a fan.