Paris for Beginners

I am certainly experiencing the holiday blues again.

Yeah I know, I posted something like this a couple of months ago moaning about how depressed I was about coming home from holiday but I’m doing it again alright? Alright.

This time I went to Paris with my boyfriend and had an amazing time. We only went for the weekend so didn’t have a lot of time to do stuff and let’s just say that by the end of the weekend, my feet were throbbing and I never wanted to walk again.

It was the first time he had ever been to Paris, I had been before but wasn’t an expert on getting around, so it was hard work!

So for any of you that are planning a trip to Paris in the near future and have never experienced the Paris Metro before or have no idea how to speak French, I have a couple of little tips for you to help your trip go smoothly!

1) GET A MAP
When you land at the airport, you will definitely find a stand somewhere with  free maps of Paris. Pick one of these up because I promise you, they will be a life saver. It will give you an overview of all of the attractions, street names and most importantly, metro lines.  There are 16 metro lines that you will have to navigate so these maps are pretty pretty handy.

2) Using the Metro
The best thing about these metro lines is that they are colour co-ordinated both on the map and around the city. So if a metro line is blue, if you see a metro entrance with a blue line on the sign, you’ll know that you’ll be able to get that metro line from that station, but usually you can catch about 3 or 4 different lines from some of the bigger stations so really pay attention to signs on the way in.
Also do not panic when you walk out of a metro entrance and you’re just thrown into the middle of a city street. In Liverpool, when you get to a train station it is a train station, with bricks and walls and stuff…but in Paris, most stations just lead to a set of stairs that lead you out into the middle of an open street. It’s quite easy to panic, but as long as you’ve got your map and you’ve checked what street you’re on, keep note of what is around you so you know where to come back to and find the station that will take you back to your hotel.

3) Getting To The Centre
On our trip, the green metro line that went to Marie D’Issy, was our life line. This was because it went to our hotel but it also took us pretty much to the shopping districts like Madeline and Auber. It was pretty easy to change stations with this line as well since it went pretty central. Look for stations like St Michel Notre Dame and Gare Du Nord. You’ll be able to do lots of changes at Gare Du Nord to get to other districts.

4)Buying your ticket
The machines you’re looking for in the train station are green machines, some have touch screens and some have what looks like a metal rolling pin for you to scroll through the screen to buy your ticket.
Click buy tickets then it’s the first choice you can make, the T+ ticket. This is the ticket that will allow you to use the metro, but use your ticket for the bus and tram as well, if you really want to. These are under two euros. Select how many tickets you want to buy (we just bought them as we went) and validate. Pay by cash or card, collect your ticket and head to your platform! (Know what station you’re going to because there will be lists on the wall telling you which platform you have to go to.)

5) Phrases to Remember
I hate travelling to a country and not trying to learn the language. You don’t have to be fluent, but the fact that you’ll try and speak to people in their own language, whether it’s a waiter at a restaurant or a shop assistant, it will put them at ease slightly.
Bonjour- Hello
Bon Soir (bon swar) – Good Evening
S’il Vout Plais (seel voo play) – Please
Merci (mersee) – Thank You
Au Revoir (aww ree vwa) – Good Bye
And if you are really struggling to understand somebodies french, ask them Parlez-Vouz Anglais? (parlay voo anglay) – Do You Speak English?

A Little Tourist Tip-  Because the Arc De Triomphe is a war memorial depicting British soldiers as well as French soldiers, if you take your passport or your drivers license to prove you’re a British Citizen, you can get to the top for free, saving yourself €9! I didn’t have mine on me, my boyfriend did and I was furious! If you do take your passport though, keep it safe and keep it out of sight!

Also, remember to keep your bags zipped or buckled up and your valuables out of sight, there are a lot of pick pockets, especially outside attractions like the Eiffel Tower and in metro stations.

Au Revoir and enjoy your trip!

 

 

 

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