Visiting Paris

Paris is better known for the most romantic city in Europe and there is more to the city than the Notre Dame Cathedral and ever-famous Eiffel Tower. The City of Light got its name when the revolutionary electrical lighting system was introduced in the late 19th century. It was the Parisian golden age with the creation of parks, establishment of the first Metro line and the construction of Gustave’s famous Eiffel tower. Paris is known for its influx of immigrants and people from many corners of the world are living in Paris. Many immigrants originated from South East Asia and Northern Africa. They brought their unique music, cuisine and other cultural elements.

Like in any capital city, we could find many people with a hurried manner as the walk and drive. Actually, even among French people, Parisians have a reputation perpetual hurriedness and arrogance. In reality, the stress of big city life could drive people to be a bit less patient. When we are walking in Paris, we may need to endure the constant requests from buskers, salespeople and beggars. It should be noted that some of the friendlier people could turn out be crooks who want to scam tourists. We should be a bit careful when asking for direction in Paris. However, many Parisians tend to think that foreign-speaking tourists, with badly shaven face and shabby dress will end up telling them some dramatic life stories and asking for money. For that reason, we shouldn’t be offended if they seem to be suspicious to us.

Courtesy is a very important thing in everyday dealing with Parisians. Even speaking the simple “bonjour” could mean a lot. It means that travellers would need to remember more than a few French words. Speaking in French can be complicated for people who only learn it at school. French that is taught in schools are actually “written French” and it can be quite difficult to understand for an actual French people. French spoken by Parisian could sound like a melodious music with some swallowed vowels and rapid pace. It is a good idea to write down place names and phrases when we want to ask something.

When visiting Paris, we should be aware that the city is divided into twenty districts or arrondissements. The first arrondisement is Louvre, followed by Paris Stock Exchange and others. With a paper pocket map and GPS navigation app in our smartphone, it should be easy to explore Paris and find where we are. There are many monuments and museums in Paris and we can visit them with only one card. The Carte Musees et Monuments is a prepaid card that allows us to enter 70 monuments and museums. Because there are many museums in Paris, we should choose the one that match our preferences and it doesn’t have to be the heavy-traffic Louvre. After visiting Eiffel and Notre Dame, we should go to alternative attractions, such as checking out the city’s skyline from Galleries Lafayette and roofs of Printemps.