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Parisian Vacation Fails

On a recent visit to Paris for a wedding, I realized that the city is vastly overrated. Here’s how to get the most out of your Parisian vacation without spending a ton of money (because honestly the city is way too expensive for its own good).

1. Pick one or two things you really want to explore. The only thing my family actually did was visit Versailles because we all love the history of it. However, be prepared for overcrowding and not really getting to see much of what you were hoping for. Most places in Paris are too busy for visitors to actually take time to enjoy what they’re seeing. Have your camera at the ready and snap as you are whisked past. Those blurry pictures are probably the only reminder you’ll have of your time at each location.

2. Go on one of the numerous bus tours of the city instead of walking around trying to visit everything. You’ll get through the city faster, see more of the sights, be less crowded in, and if you find a tour in your spoken language, you’ll understand what’s going on around you better too!

3. Don’t walk along the Seine River at night. It seems romantic and sweet, but the young people drinking to excess and the bums living under the bridges really ruins the romantic feeling. If you want to enjoy the nightlife of the river in a safer, less smelly way, try one of the nighttime (or daytime) river cruises offered throughout the city.

4. Don’t fall for the Eiffel Tower trap! There are tall buildings all around the world. Spending hours and hundreds of dollars to climb up one with a million other people, so that you cannot even enjoy the view at the top is pointless. Enjoy the beauty from the bottom plaza or better yet from across the river where there are even less people, giving you the chance to take that pretty, once-in-a-lifetime photo everyone at home will be jealous of.

5. Look for the busy restaurants. You’ll be exploring throughout the city and suddenly get that lunch hour hunger craving. That small, seemingly abandoned café on the street corner may seem like a fun idea of eating like the Parisians but look for where the people are actually eating. Chances are that abandoned café is abandoned for a reason. The fully packed restaurants may require a wait and seem like too much effort, but they’ll be much better overall and obviously worth the wait if everyone else is waiting too.

6. Don’t pretend to know what you’re doing. The only thing the Parisians are more annoyed by than foreigners is foreigners pretending to be Parisian. If you have a question or are unsure of something just ask. You may get an eye roll or in some cases a rude comment, but it’s better to get the answer and move on with your life than waste time pretending you know what’s going on when you don’t. Chances are your time in Paris is limited, so get the most out of it by enjoying it and doing things that matter. Not aimlessly meandering through the city.

7. Don’t feel bad if you miss something “important." As previously mentioned, the Eiffel Tower is overcrowded, Versailles is too stuffy, the Arc de Triomphe has three similar sisters throughout the city. You don’t and won’t get to see everything, so don’t let it discourage you.

8. Enjoy it! As pessimistic as this post may seem, don’t let yourself forget that you are experiencing something that most people would kill to be able to do. How many people can say “I’ve taken a Parisian vacation"? As long as you are careful to temper your expectations, you can still enjoy yourself and your surroundings. Take that picture of the Eiffel Tower for everyone at home, enjoy the cuisine, do it all if you feel up to it. 

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Parisian Vacation Fails
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