Things You Should Know Before Visiting Paris
When visitors book their first trip to Paris, they are filled with expectations of romantic scenes, delectable cuisine and stylish citizens. Off course, these elements are available on tap for those who want it. However, there are many other facets of this city; some that will pleasantly surprise, others that will shock. Here are a few things that will help new visitors prepare for their trip to this wonderfully complex city.
1. It rains (a lot)
You may imagine yourself strolling along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées on a beautiful, sunny day, but there is a good chance you will need to pack your umbrella. The city is known for it’s sudden showers, which can occur at any time of year. During the winter season, the city experiences an average of 15 days of rain each month. In the spring and summer, this dips but only slightly, to around 11-12 rainy days per month. Be prepared. Read up on the typical weather at your time of visit and pack appropriate clothing and footwear.
2. It is a city for walking
If you take the subway (Metro in Paris) everywhere, you will miss out on the everyday magic of Parisian culture and the architectural masterpieces that line every street. Every corner you turn in Paris, you will find another jaw-dropping sight. So, it is important to pack sensible walking shoes. That said, it is impossible to get everywhere in Paris by foot. Try to familiarize yourself with the metro system before you arrive as it will seem like a labyrinth at first sight. Do also note that on many trains you have to press a button before the door will open to let you in or out at your stop.
3. Not everything is expensive
Paris has a reputation for being costly holiday destination. But this is only true to a certain extent. Luxurious hotels and high-end restaurants are, of course, very expensive, but there are many other options that cater to visitors on any budget. The important thing is to plan in advance. If you just turn up at a hotel or stumble upon a restaurant, you may end up paying much more than you intended to. Before your trip, search online, for example using Housetrip.com for accommodation within your budget. There are plenty of restaurants that offer delicious food at an affordable price. It’s all about knowing where to go in advance.
4. Public restrooms are scarce and not always free
If you plan to be out and about all day, you will at some point require a stop at a restroom. But, unfortunately, they are not always easy to find. Whenever you do spot a public restroom keep a note, so you can return to it if required. Department stores and many of the parks in the city have bathrooms. Always carry a few Euros around with you, as you often need to pay to use these facilities.
5. There are a lot of smokers
It seems as if Parisians, young and old, are not concerned about the health concerns associated with smoking. Wherever you go in Paris, you will notice the amazing number of smokers. Sit indoors at cafes, restaurants and bars if you don’t want to be engulfed in smoke.