We put together 17 top travel tips you should know before you visit France.

Whether France will be your first foreign trip or your hundredth, you can benefit from this travel advice.

Well, it doesn’t matter how many times because you can never get enough!

We’re happy to know that you’ve decided to spend time and treat yourself to a different atmosphere and culture. 

But we also realize there are some fundamentals that you should know while planning for that trip to France.

We don’t want you in long lines and missing out on the best experiences.

And then the pickpockets and scams!  Oh!  They are truly dreadful.

We made this post because we want you to get the best out of your trip.

Here are 17 tips to consider before making that visit to France.

Ranging from the best time to travel to the best means of transportation, we’ve got you covered in all angles.

So, read further to know how to make the best out of your lovely trip. 

We promise that it’ll be worth your while.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Best To Go In The Shoulder Seasons

We have noticed that the best time to visit Paris is during the shoulder seasons. 

By “shoulder seasons”, we mean just before or right after the peak season, which is summer.

This way, you get to enjoy your stay with good weather but without the crowds that come with the warmer season.

We have also noticed that spring and autumn present the best times for picture taking.

With the cherry blossom season in April and the fall foliage in October and November, they provide the perfect picture opportunities.

Lastly, prices are a lot cheaper since they are not peak seasons.

Plan Where You’ll Stay Long Before You Depart

There’s a high chance that your accommodation would consume the largest portion of your travel budget.

So, we advise you to choose your accommodations early enough!

Accommodations can always be chosen on personal preference. 

Most luxury hotels can be found in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

While the budget hotels can be found near the peripheries. 

Notwithstanding personal preference, we would never advise you to get accommodation close to the airport.

Well, unless you’re traveling the next morning.

Get Ready For A Walk

Using Paris, like a lot of European capital cities, it is usually best explored on foot.

It is through walking that you get the feel of the city and the settlement from the native’s point of view.

This way, you also get to see the little details and little treasures that you may have missed on the bus or standing on the metro.

Explore With Some Self-Guided Walking Tours 

The best way to explore a city you’ve never been to is by utilizing all the free walking tours.

A lot of companies offer these tours for free although expecting you to tip at the end of it.

You could also search for these tour guides online to have a variety to choose from.

Look Out For Pick pocketers and Scams

It isn’t uncommon that you’ll come across a variety of scams in Paris.

It is even more common in often visited tourist areas like the Hotel de Ville, La Marias, and around Montmartre.

These scams range from signing fake petitions to tying a string to your hands!

Also, because pickpocketing is quite common, always watch out for your belongings. 

Try to carry a bag with a zip.

Don’t wear backpacks on your back or leave valuables close to the top of your bag. 

Public Transportation To The Rescue

Why not take the metro and avoid traffic?

It’s efficient, fast, and affordable!

You may want to purchase a “carnet” if you’ll be taking the metro a couple of times.

This is a group of 10 tickets which is cheaper than buying tickets individually.

Also, be careful of scams that involve people buying your ticket for you.

You should only buy tickets from machines or designated kiosks and always watch all your belongings closely. 

Speak A Little French!

Even though you will encounter a lot of English speakers, it makes you look super-cool to try and communicate in the French language.

The common myth that French people are rude has been proven false.

You should instead try using a few of their words.

You can start with Hello/Good evening (Bonjour/Bonsoir); Thank you (Merci) and Sorry (Pardon).

Additionally, you can always get a French phrasebook.

Go Outside Of Paris!

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to confine yourself to only Paris, France! 

You should leave enough time to see the small medieval towns, beautiful countrysides among others outside the French capital.

You can plan day trips to places like Versailles, the chateau at Fontainebleau, and the medieval city of Provins close to Paris.

But if you’re feeling like an explorer, you may consider going to see Meaux and Auvers-Sur-Oise which deter from the usual tourist destinations. 

Drop Those Heels!

To explore a little, you have to get lost a bit.

Exploring such a wondrous city like Paris can make you forget just how many steps you’ve taken.

You may even go as high as 20,000 steps a day!

You can’t do that in heels.

So, consider a comfortable pair of trainers or sandals.

The City Is Closed on Sundays

Not surprisingly, like many primarily catholic countries, a lot of businesses are closed on Sundays. 

Some businesses do open but for a very limited time.

This information is important so that you can stock up the day before in case the store or restaurant is closed.

Although, major tourist attractions like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower stay open on Sundays.

Additionally, some museums like the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay are usually closed on Monday or Tuesdays.

Take Your Student ID  When You Travel To France

Worthy of note, a lot of attractions, monuments, and museums allow free entry to persons under 26.

Although they must be residents of the EU.

Additionally, some other establishments, as well as restaurants, offer student discounts after meeting the requirements. 

So, be sure to toss that ID in your purse when you’re coming out.

Remember To Sip On That Espresso  

Sounds a little cliché yes?

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try!

Over the past few years, the coffee culture in Paris has soared.

This has resulted in thrilling new openings and lots of delicious coffee.

There are also some extremely pretty coffee shops scattered around in the city.

Some of them are Le Consulate (Montmartre), Odette (The Latin Quarter) and Café Oberkampf (the 11th arrondissement).

So, go grab yourself a coffee and watch the world go by.

Try The French Cuisine

Asides from the coffee, you must try the cuisine.

Paris is seen as one of the best gastronomic capitals in the world, be sure to eat good quality and fine food.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, head over to Le Refuge des Fondus.

Here you can sip on your wine from a baby bottle!

Many meals are vegan-friendly with a meat-free and dairy-free twist.

Dress Like The French

You may have to leave neon tops and loud colors at home.

Dressing like a Parisians entails you switching your wardrobe to more monochrome clothes.

Neutral sneakers are good for walking around and it isn’t out of place since many Parisians wear them.

The French Love Late Dinners

The French tend to eat late.

Usually after 8 pm but could be as far as 9 pm or 3:30 am!

This means that a lot of restaurants don’t open till about 7 pm or even 7:30 pm.

So, if you want that local French meal, you may have to wait for a little.

We advise you to take some snacks with you as you wait for your dinner.

Greeting People With A “La bise”

Coming from an English-speaking country, you may be accustomed to greeting friends and family with a hug.

But in this country, it is not a typical way of greeting. 

What is most appropriate is to greet one another with “la bise”.

This is an air kiss on both sides of the cheeks.

But for formal affairs, a handshake is most appropriate.

You Can’t See It All In A Weekend

We know you’re looking to take in all the sights, culture, and atmospheres of France.

But it’s not quite practical to think you can see it all in one weekend.

So, if you’re staying for a short time, try to concentrate on a topic or area.

You can maybe go find Art Nouveau architecture or does the beautiful Montmartre catch your fancy?

Conclusion to Visiting France

The French lifestyle is awesome!

From the food to the language and the absolute beauty of the city, you really can’t get enough.

As highlighted, it’s not all fun and games.

Scammers and thieves lurk around looking for their next victim, so you must make sure you’re extremely watchful.

But away from the negatives, there are many beautiful aspects of France.

From museums to other tourist-attracting establishments, these places are worth visiting.

Remember not to restrict yourself to the main attractions and explore a little.

Also, stay away from the big chain restaurants and try the sumptuous local food.

Don’t forget your phrasebook! You can learn a couple of words and short sentences.

Take as many photos in the spring and autumn.

This would be great to share with your friends! 

As important as all these are among others, the most important tip is to enjoy your stay in this beautiful country.

We hope we have been able to guide you enough to impact your decisions and make your stay more wonderful.

We hope you have a brilliant trip.

We only wish you could tell us about it!

17 Top Travel Tips You Should Know Before Visiting France

Chris Jay Sewell
Chris Jay Sewell

Pure The Experience specializes advising and planning luxury travel experiences for high-end travelers and their families. Ready for your first or next luxury experience in another country planned out the easy way? Apply to be our next 'Travel Experience' client.