Vous parlez française? Non? Pas de problème!
With these free resources, you’ll have no trouble getting around Paris– even if you don't know French!
Rule number one when travelling to a foreign country is to make an effort with speaking the language– even if you don't know it. At all. Being able to say a simple hello or having the ability to politely ask for directions can make a world of difference when it comes to showing people in the country you’re visiting that you respect their culture, and this is especially true of France. Now, thanks to this wonderful audio language guide by the BBC, you can download the audio files for a number of key phrases directly onto your phone and use them to help you get around, order a meal, and shop in France.
If you’re anything like us, you don’t want to look too much like a tourist when roaming the streets of a new city. To solve this problem, we love this Paris Travel Guide and Offline Map app for iPhone & iPad or Paris Offline Guide for Android. Instead of struggling with a large paper map, this travel guide allows you to look like a slick local checking your email on your phone, when you're really trying to figure out how to get back to the Eiffel Tower...
So you’ve reached your final destination on the Eurostar and are getting off at Gare du Nord, but now what? Chances are, you’ll probably need to take the Metro to get to a hotel, conference center, or shopping district that you’re hoping to visit. This handy Metro Guide walks you through how to purchase tickets, find help, and get around Metro stations. We especially like that the guide includes both the French and English instructions, which allows you to pinpoint French words and phrases you might need when asking locals for help.
Speaking of the Metro, plan your route before you get into the busy stations and download this great Paris Public Transport Map onto your phone! There's nothing worse than trying to fight for space in front of the Metro map inside the station.
Looking for a restaurant can be difficult, particularly when you’re on the trot and don’t want to succumb to a touristy meal that’s overpriced and under-spiced. To avoid the usual tourist destinations, we suggest scrolling through the terrific food blog Paris By Mouth. We especially love their “Not Terrible Near…” feature which gives you details about the best places to grab a bite near many of the city's major tourist destinations.
Romance in Paris
If the weather allows it (and even if it doesn't), you must have at least one picnic in Paris. Our favourite picnic spot is along the Seine, where you can watch Parisian life and the river roll past, but there are hundreds of places to put down a blanket and enjoy. Whilst there are loads of great restaurants in Paris, it's lovely to step into a fromagerie or patisserie to get a real taste of local flavour (we love Paris By Mouth's guide to provision shopping).
Yes, the Louvre is marvellous, but one of the most loved museums in Paris is the Musée d'Orsay. Whilst we love this museum because it used to be a railway station (the museum's history is very interesting) they also just so happen to have a terrific collection that includes masterpieces by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh and more (so. much. more.). We definitely recommend stopping in.
Paris, of course, is a city of romance! Whilst the Eiffel Tower, the winding lanes of Montmartre, and the Palace of Versailles will undoubtedly woo you with their ornate decor, one of our favourite– and free!– daytime destinations is that Jardin du Luxembourg where you will find over 100 statues amongst the beautiful foliage on the 25 hectares of land. Walking through this beautiful space will transport you to your own little world.
Want to truly get swept away to another world? Book tickets at the National Opera for a performance that will undoubtedly move you– even if you don't know what they're singing! The Opera National de Paris is also home to the Paris Opera Ballet, one of the most prestigious and talented ballet companies in the world. Prepare to be swept off your feet!
On a slightly sillier note, we think a self-guided tour of Kissing in Paris is an absolute must for anyone travelling with a partner, spouse, or lover. With destinations around the city, The Best Places to Kiss in Paris: Romantic Rendezvous in the City of Lights is the perfect guide to romantic touring. And don't forget your camera– many people prefer to kiss and tell by documenting each lip-lock as they work their way along the self-guided tour!