The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Paris

Paris AKA the city of light, is the most popular city destination in Europe. I have so many friends who return from Paris and the first thing they say is “it’s so expensive” and while that can be true if you insist on being one of those people who follow the sheep but it doesn’t have to be if you just go where the sophisticated glamorous  locals go.

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  • TIP 1.  Its not the 1920’s and the Paris from the movies of old romantic’s is not the same in 2014.  These tourists spend their days doing the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Montmartre, and the rest, you have the guide book, Im sure you know the rest 🙂
  • TIP 2.  Yes that Paris is expensive, and restaurants on the main tourist traps are expensive and not necessarily authentic and sometimes just God awful.  That Paris isn’t just expensive, it can also be rude, cold and flat out obnoxious also. The Paris the locals know however isn’t and we know that Paris doesn’t have to empty your wallet.

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  • TIP 3.  Avoid the belle Epoque cafes along the Voulevard St-German and in the restaurants that line the Champs Elysee’s.  Why??? because plain and simple amateur tourists pay 10 euro in these places and an arm and a leg for mediocre platter of moules-frites.  Some tourists may think it taste’s better when you can see the Arc-de-Triomphe will munching on your overpriced crap food but seasoned travelers and classy Parisians know better.  In fact most of us are more than happy to have these people continue this habit.  We love our authentic places with great prices that locals pay and sharing tips like this has me in a quandary because as everyone knows, I hate tourists.
  • Tip 4. You don’t have to be fluent but learn a few phrases before going anywhere that the native language is not yours.  ESPECIALLY FRANCE.
  • TIP 5.  In the authentic and cost effective restaurants and there are many in Paris the menu’s will be in French.  (if they have pictures and menu’s in 6 languages and automatically offer you an English menu, run)
  • TIP 6.  There are many language translator apps available for your phone so you can get help reading a foreign menu.

Yep, that’s my son. This trip was his choice


  • Tip 7.  Get off the beaten track.  While you wont find the savvy classy French hanging out on the Champs Elysee’s or having their daily cafe on the Palace Vendome, they will be close by.  Explore the side streets, and remember tip 5.
  • Tip 8. The Place des Vosges in the Marais is one of Europe’s most beautiful squares laid out in the first years of the 11th Century and only home to Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo.  Along its arcaded sides are cafes and restaurants that almost exclusively cater to tourists-bland, overpriced food and insultingly small beers.
  • Tip 9.  On a small street just north of the square is Chez Janou (2 Rue Roger Verlomme) a terrific bistro with a menu full of authentic Provencale dishes (all around 15 Euro) that is always packed with locals – you’ll need to practice your school french but its so worth it.


  • Tip 10.  To the east just beyond the Place de la Bastille , is AuVieux Chene on 7 Rue du Dahomey, an old fashioned restaurant with a Zinc bar and a mouth watering three course evening meal for 28 euro.
  • Tip 11. Nearby L’Ebauchoir at 43 Rue du Citeaux is marginally more expensive, but the food is sublime.
  • Tip 12. restaurants frequented by locals the house wine is always good which is not always the case in restaurants with menu’s in six different languages, I run away from these.
Eiffel tower. St Patrick's Day

Eiffel tower. St Patrick’s Day.

Tip 13.  Do a free walking tour.  I do them all over Europe.  Just Google and you will find a company that suits your day and time of choice.  You must tip on average 10 euro minimum per person as they don’t get paid and yes they do expect it.  Companies that charge typically charge up to 30 euro for a tour and you are also expected to tip.

Tip 14.  Use Google maps, free WiFi in lots of places.  Bring up the map in a free WiFi area and it will take you to your destination even when your out of coverage area.

yes that's me

yes that’s me.

Tip 15. Are you a Museum head? bear in mind a lot if not all museums in Europe close Mondays.  In Paris most museums are free the first Sunday of every month.  The Paris Museum pass is worth considering if you want to go to a lot of them.

Tip 16.  Do like the French, grab a baguette some cheese and tomato or great ham and sit by french baggette sandwichthe Seine.  Perfect cheap way to spend a few hours and sit back and watch Paris go by.

Tip 17. Take the metro, its fabulous, cheap and taxis will cost you a lot.  You might not even need a metro pass.  I never get one as I walk everywhere in Paris.  Its a very easy city to navigate. Consider getting a weekend or weekly even daily metro card if your going to be using it a lot.

Tip 18. Do you like markets??? this is my last tip and as Ive been to Paris many times its things like cafe’s, picnics on the Siene and Markets that I like to do. Ive done the tourist things already.  I love markets and I really like parts of the oldest one in Paris, which dates from the 1870’s.  The Saint Ouen flea market.  Parts of it are very touristy now but it you muddle through you will find the original streets and more authentic part of it.  Watch out for pickpockets however.  They are rife here.  Check out this website for help with the market.

see also my other tips on Paris if you are interested and please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” 

― Ernest HemingwayA Moveable Feast 

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About Sandra

Just a girl from Ireland who wants to live everywhere. Not a planner, a winger when it comes to travel. I don't even like people who plan too much. Without spontaneity there is no depth. A jack of all trades. A great friend, loyal and passionate and I expect the same in return. Always ready for the next adventure at a moments notice.
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