10 Things Expats Tell You NOT To Do In Paris – But They're Wrong!

If you lived in Paris (stop drooling!) you probably wouldn't walk along the Seine every day. If you lived in Paris you would probably avoid popular tourist areas like Notre Dame. If you lived in Paris it's unlikely you would visit the Pantheon on a weekly basis.

But you don't live in Paris — you're a visitor. Expats who do live here can give you good advice, but don't listen to everything they tell you. They live in Paris. You don't. Here's where they go wrong —

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The Most Popular Food Tours in Paris

Discover the Food & Wine of the Marais
Visit the top food & wine shops in the historic Marais, tasting the best of French foods. There's plenty of sampling on this small-group tour.
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Cheese & Wine Tasting in a Paris Cellar
In the cheese-aging cellar of a Paris fromagerie you discover 7 classic French cheeses and the wines that pair with them. Lots of sampling!
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1. Do Some Touristy Things

The Seine

You are, in fact, a tourist, so it's okay to do things Parisians don't do every day. Visit the Louvre (but book a tour in advance). Go on a river cruise. Walk around Île St Louis. Stroll through Saint-Germain-des-Prés and revel in the history and the shopping. And don't forget to visit Le Bon Marché on the Left Bank.

2. Seek Out French Food

At a Parisian Market

Expats will tell you how much they love sushi, Thai takeaway, and Indian restaurants. We say, "No thanks"; you can find these international foods in your home town. In Paris eat the local cuisine. French food is worth crossing an ocean for, so make sure you don't miss it. Confit de canard, croque monsieur, frites, soupe l'oignon…

Bon appétit !

3. Smile

Smile

Expats may tell you not to, that nobody smiles in Paris, that it's somehow akin to a chimpanzee's smile that is really a grimace. But guess what? Sometimes a smile gets you the best service, the most help, the friendliest greeting. And, it's nice being nice.

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The Best Ways to Visit the Champagne Region from Paris

A Day in the Champagne Region, with Hotel Pick-up & Lunch
A small-group tour led by an expert guide to the Land of Champagne for a day-long tasting of the bubbly. Inclues lunch & pick-up at your Paris hotel.
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Champagne Tour from Paris: Moet & Chandon + Family Wineries
Taste champagne at top producers on a day trip from Paris as well as at smaller, family wineries. The small-group tour also visits Reims Cathedral.
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4. Wear Flats

High Heel Walker

Expats encourage you to wear heels comme les Parisiennes (like the locals), but, once again, guess what? Those women in Paris have been practicing high-heel walking for years (even riding bikes!) and, besides, they're not going to be clocking in several kilometres every day. Don't wear hiking boots or runners, for heaven's sake, but make sure you can last an entire day in your sensible yet attractive shoes.

5. Don't Worry About Speaking (Much) French

Concorde Fountain

The only French words you are likely to need are — bonjour, bonsoir, merci, madame, monsieur, excusez-moi, and au revoir. C'est tout ! Almost everyone you're likely to deal with is going to speak far better English than you can hope to speak French.

6. Ask For Directions

Excusez-moi, monsieur?

Even the locals do it. Of course, be polite, but that's just common sense, right? This is where you trot out a couple of the French words you've been practicing — "Excusez-moi, monsieur ?"

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The Top Paris City Tours

Paris in One Day City Tour: Louvre, Eiffel Tower plus Seine Cruise
See the best of Paris in one action-packed day. A river cruise + guided tours of the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Île de la Cité
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VIP Twilight Tour: Champagne Cruise + Eiffel Tower
See Paris at night, with monuments all aglow, while sipping on champagne. Next: view the lights of the city from atop the Eiffel Tower!
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7. Take A Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour

Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

We know, we know — it's touristy. But you're a tourist and you're probably not going to find yourself in Paris again anytime soon. So, make the most of your holidaying time by taking a few tours on buses and boats to get an overview of the city.

8. Give Up Your Low-Fat, Vegan, Paleo, Low-Carb, Teetotaling, Weight-Watcher's Diet

Give Up Your Diet

Don't listen to advice for vegetarian and macrobiotic restaurants or wine-free luncheons. Be a part of the Paris culinary scene and enjoy the exhilarating food culture of the country that invented fine dining — full fats, pastries, breads, cheeses, sausages, sauces, and of course, wine.

By the way, you may be surprised to discover that the portions served in France are smaller, yet still satisfying.

9. Buy Paris Memorabilia

Paris Memorabilia

Expats (of course) think it's kitschy to have Eiffel Tower memorabilia on your fireplace mantle at home, but to us it's a memento of wonderful days spent in the City of Love, of Music, of Art, of Memories.

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Find Hotel Deals for Your Dates in Paris

Check with Booking.com to find today's sale prices on hotel rooms in every arrondissement of Paris. Save 20% to 30%… or even more!

Booking.Com Paris Hotel Deals
Find hotels in the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, the Right Bank, the Marais, near the Eiffel Tower.
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10. Have Fun!

Have Fun

You're not in Paris to impress anyone, you're here to have fun. (Of course, that doesn't mean that we approve of you wearing shorts, running shoes, and a fanny pack!) Want to take a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower? Go for it.

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Bon Voyage !