I’m starting up a new section of the blog called Travel Tips, which will include some practical tips and things to know before visiting each country. These will include things that we had to look up or wish we knew, such as tipping, how to get around, and whether or not you need to get out cash before you go. This one includes helpful tips for traveling to Paris.
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The French use the Euro, but everywhere we went took credit card. It’s always good to have some cash on hand, just in case, but I don’t think we really used any while we were there.
Tipping is not expected in France; typically at restaurants, the service charge and the tip are already included in the bill. If a server does exceptionally well, you can tip 10% or round up a few Euros when paying with a card. To tip with a card, you have to tell the waiter the amount you want to pay before you swipe your card – there isn’t a line to add a tip on the receipt. For example, if the check is for $33 and you want to tip $2, you simply say “can you make it $35?” and they will thank you, enter it into the card reader, and then swipe your card.
It is super easy and cheap to use the Paris metro system! A single ticket is 1.90 Euro, or you can buy a package of 10 tickets. For a four day weekend, we got two 10-packs of tickets for less than 30 Euro. We liked that they gave us 20 individual tickets and that we didn’t have to swipe the ticket again to exit (like you have to do on the Atlanta Marta). The metro is really easy to navigate, and they come frequently. They can get a bit crowded during the normal commute times though, so you may have to squeeze in.
They also have Uber in Paris, but the traffic can be pretty bad, so it’s faster to use the metro if you can.
We’ve all heard the rumors that Parisians are rude to tourists, especially if you can’t speak the language, but we noticed that if we walked into a place and said “Bonjour!” everyone would smile and just start speaking English to us. It is definitely easy to get around Paris without knowing any French – but here are a few key words that are helpful.
- Hello – Bonjour
- Goodbye – Au revoir
- Thank you – Merci
- Where are the bathrooms – Où sont les toilettes
- Sorry/Excuse me – Pardon
Other Travel Tips
One thing to note is that Paris was by far the most fashionable city we’ve traveled to (so pack cute clothes). However even though Parisians look fancy in their clothing, they still wear casual footwear to get around the town (hello Adidas*).
And don’t forget to pack your European power adapter. We love this* one because it has two USB ports and two American plugs, so you can charge four things at one time.
Any other Paris travel tips? Leave them in the comments below!