Paris has world-famous museums, tasty cuisine, beautiful architecture and amazing shopping destinations. All these make the French capital one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations. However, like any place that has a big tourism sector, the natives are quick to point at the mistakes that tourists tend to make when in Paris. From bad manners to mislead itineraries, here is a list of mistakes that travelers to the capital city often make and some tips on avoiding them.
Doing Too Much
Cramming many things to do in just a few days is a big mistake. Trying to soak up all of Paris’s beauty can be overstimulating and visually overwhelming. Paris private tours guides say that many of their clients fit in things that take a whole week into four days. They suggest tourists be choosy and go for some activities for each day. For example, take a private Louvre Museum tour in the morning, have lunch at an onsite restaurant and an evening activity. The last activity could be an amble through Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris or the Marais district.
Not Saying Hello in French When Entering a Shop
Say bonjour when you enter a restaurant or shop as this is a courtesy in France. In several nations, it is polite to say ‘excuse me’ to start asking an anonymous person a question. Likewise, as a visitor to France, you are expected to greet the natives in French when getting into their establishment.
At French museums, cashiers tend to greet one with a hello or bonjour and he or she say in reply how many tickets they are looking to buy. This is not good manners; rather, greeting them back and settling into a conversation is. One will get better service when he or she starts a conversation with bonjour.
Not Checking Opening Hours
Paris establishments do not open round the clock, and places tend to be closed a day or two or have odd hours. Sometimes, an emergency may arise, like a flood-like situation, causing establishments in the area to shut the doors to the public. So it is a good idea to know the working hours of the place you are planning to visit beforehand.
Eating Hurriedly At Restaurants
In most restaurants, you may spend an hour or so for lunch or dinner, except if it is some fast food restaurant or small eatery. Never start lunch around 12:30 pm expecting to finish it in good time for your 01:00 pm scheduled visit to the Musee du Louvre. It takes time for French restaurants to serve you. Never make noise if your ordered food does not come immediately.
Buying Unnecessary Museum Entry Tickets
These passes are worthwhile only if you intend to visit two museums in one day at the least. Otherwise, it is not worth investing in too many passes. You can purchase online passes for all major Parisian museums and get priority entrance by skipping the line. When you have an admission pass to the museum, you occasionally need to book a time slot on the reservation service website.
Talking Excessively Loudly
If you talk this way, especially in English and in a Paris metro station or restaurant or another enclosed space, it would make a rather disruptive environment. The French appreciate manners that do not break their privacy. Besides, why would you talk loudly and let your private details known? It is better to not create unwanted attention to you or your conversations to avoid pickpockets in a metropolitan city.
Bringing Croissants and Baguettes Home
It may be a good plan to buy these bread items for your loved ones who reside in a different nation. However, long hours of flight would make these stale by the time you reach home. If your kids want some French bread, then purchase large country bread instead of a sliced one. Put it inside a paper cover to keep it good and fresh for some days.
Only Going To the Major Places
Adding the major landmarks and museums to your itinerary will mean that you will eventually spend the bulk of your Paris vacation waiting for entrance/sights. Rather, visit the much smaller, lesser-known attractions. So many people who come to Paris city only go to touristy places. You should discover this big city on foot, strolling through popular neighborhoods full of little streets and shops as well as artisans.
Overtipping at Restaurants
It is not easy to understand this thing, particularly for Americans. It is technically referred to as a service fee, but you only have to pay the final bill at a French café. For example, if €25 is the bill amount, it includes both the tip and tax. Still, it is a customary thing to leave anywhere between 3% and 5% of that amount as a gratuity in cash. It is fine if you do not have coins to not leave anything.