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We’ve all been there! It’s our first time in a new city and we have no clue where we’re going, let alone the language! Well, here are 5 tips for first time visitors to Paris that should help you out before you visit the city of love!

Take the metro!

The metro is the fastest and cheapest way to get around the city. The Parisian metro is one of the oldest and most extensive in the world. It also happens to be one of the cheapest. If you buy a ‘carnet’ which is when you buy a book of ten metro tickets at once, it’ll cost under €1.50 a journey!

Read more: 4 unusual metro stations in Paris.

Leave Paris at least once!

It would be a crime to visit the city of lights and not make at least one day trip. Despite common misconceptions, the French transport system is reasonably priced.

Read more: Fairytale Castle Day Trips from Paris

Never order bottled water.

One of the most common mistakes that visitors make when they visit Paris for the first time is that they’ll order bottled water. Instead, make sure to order ‘un carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît‘.

Read more: How to order in a Parisian restaurant.

Pick up a few french phrases before you go.

Never ever tell yourself ‘Oh, I’ll pick up some phrases on the plane.’ Because we all know that that never happens! Also, it’s all well and good telling yourself that you’ll pick up some French phrases when you’re there but trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Even learning the basics before you go will help you enormously. People are a lot more likely to help you if you’re lost etc. if you’re at least trying to make an effort in their language. Even a simple ‘Bonjour. Parlez-vous Anglais, s’il vous plaît?’ is better than nothing!

Read more: 20 Useful and Beautiful French Words and Phrases, False Friends in French

Don’t fall prey to any of the infamous tourist scams.

As one of the most touristic cities in the World, Paris is absolutely full of tourist scams! From the ring scam where someone will try and trick you into giving them money to being pickpocketed, Paris is a haven for thieves. Just make sure that you’re aware of you surroundings all the time!

Read more: Parisian Tourist Scams to Avoid

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tips for first time visitors to paris5 very useful tips for first time visitors to Paris, France! Tips, tricks and practical advice for those travelling to the French capital!

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!


  • Lorraine
    2nd April 2017 at 10:52 am

    Paris is one of the best city I wanna live in.

  • Christie
    18th November 2016 at 5:09 am

    I really like this post! Short and to the point. I totally agree with them all, especially the metro and the tourist scams. Those people are crazy!! Great info, thanks for sharing.

  • Clare
    17th November 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Great tips. I love Paris, been about 5 times. As I practically live in hostels, the first thing I always ask is can I drink the tap water when I get there, need to save as much money as I can!!

  • Diana - MVMT Blog
    17th November 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Great tip about the water! I had no idea. I’m going back to Paris in March and will be sure to order a carafe instead of a bottle. And I definitely found it helpful to know a few French phrases before going. Thanks for the tips!

  • neha
    17th November 2016 at 11:01 am

    This one goes into my bookmarks. I am soon headed to Paris and these tips are really going to prove useful for a first timer like me..

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    17th November 2016 at 2:34 am

    I definitely agree with your second point that one should head out to the countryside at least once during an urban visit. Does ‘un carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît‘. mean tap water please?

    • Barbara Roth
      9th October 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Just what I was wondering. Is tap water ok? Fine? Just passable. Guess the person above has it figured out. Ask people when you get there.

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    17th November 2016 at 2:14 am

    Taking the metro is definitely the best way to get around Paris. Day-trips can easily be taken from Paris so I agree to try to get out of the city at least once if you have time.

  • Katalin @Our Life, Our Travel
    17th November 2016 at 2:01 am

    It’s time to refresh my French! Never been in Paris, but soon it’s time to visit it! 🙂

  • Katie
    16th November 2016 at 11:15 pm

    A great post thanks for sharing! We learnt that water trick the first day of our travels to Paris and loved taking the metro! I wish we had left Paris at some point tho – regret not going to Disneyland (next time!)

  • Kristine
    16th November 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I agree with you on all of these. I live in Paris myself, and the first thing I learned when I moved here was to order food, drinks – including un carafe d’eau – and my daily coffee in french (un café au lait sur place, s’il vous plaît) . C’est necessaire, ça!

  • Emily
    16th November 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Great tips! Seriously. Every single one of these. I fell in to the whole ‘bottled water’ trap, but that was only because I didn’t know how to order a ‘carafe’. For some reason in my five years of French, it never came up ONCE. Crazy right?! As soon as I googled it we finally had our tap water lol. Last time I was in Paris we took the metro everywhere too. It was actually quite easy to use!



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