Paris is the cultural capital of the world, plain and simple, and no matter where you end up in this city and which landmark you decide to visit, you will not make a mistake. Having stated that, you should also know that, considering just how much unrelenting beauty this city offers, you can easily get sidetracked and lose time on the “most popular” places and activities which are not as captivating as they might initially seem. With that in mind, here are Paris tourist traps to skip and what to see in instead.
Skip: Dedicating hours to the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is truly a bona fide Eighth Wonder of the World, but you don’t have to spend hours upon hours marveling at it. You can easily get smitten by its majesty and waste several precious hours on it.
Tip: If you are truly bent on climbing the tower to the very top for an amazing view, you should do it as soon as you arrive at the landmark.
Book tickets to go on a more intimate climb of the Tour Saint Jacques, but only if you’ve arrived between June and September since this is the time frame when it is open for visitors. Five to seventeen people in a group make a climb for around $12 for a breathtaking view of Paris. If this is not available for you, you can always climb to the top of the Montparnasse Tower or the Arc de Triomphe.
Skip: Going on a boring impromptu tour
Avoid pre-packed on-foot or bus tours of the city, especially if they are impromptu. We live in modern times and you can easily download guides that will give you all the information you need. Regular, old-fashioned tours are a waste of time and are just as damaging as not studying the packages and tours beforehand.
Do proper research before you travel to France on a captivating journey and find the sort of unique experience of the City of Lights that will color your visit in exciting new nuances. Why would you go on a boring tour when you can have a unique experience of the city that concentrates on specific indulgences?
Skip: Champs-Élysées altogether
Have you ever heard of the term “herd mentality”? This phenomenon is exactly what plagues Champs-Élysées. The famous street is always packed with tourists and it is nigh unbearable to walk through it. It’s a wasteful experience of what was once a captivating street. It has truly become one of the worst tourist traps in Paris.
Go on an unpredictable and truly captivating exploration adventure of the winding streets of Paris. The city is comprised of fascinating neighborhoods that are encased in mesmerizing facades and curious buildings. Many locals will know a word or two in English, and if you go out of your way to find a French dictionary for tourists and learn a few phrases, you can ask around for some truly intriguing places. Just don’t forget to have a trusty GPS ready in case you really get lost.
Skip: The overhyped restaurants
While in Paris, you really do not have to spend a fortune on Michelin star restaurants. Inspect the places first before you decide to sit down for a meal. Menus that have big English letters are usually a bad sign, and so are overpriced “universal” foods such as hamburgers. If you see some “stereotypical” hallmarks of French restaurants like frog meat and ratatouille overmarketed in the front, run in the opposite direction.
Look into the side streets for the most laid-back bistros and secret restaurants you can set your eyes on. Relaxing evening meals in these “joints” are mostly reasonably priced and they offer the authentic Parisian culinary experience you have always dreamed about.
It’s easy to get seduced by overhyped landmarks and places in Paris. After all, each of them offers something truly unique and irreplaceable, but you should always stay aware of the fact that every corner of the city has a unique side to it and there are countless beautiful, staggering sites and activities that deserve just as much attention (if not more so) than some lauded Parisian places. With that in mind, try to keep your head cool and your schedule filled up in order to get the ultimate Parisian experience.