Between the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe, there’s plenty driving American tourists to Paris, France.
But they often stand out like sore thumbs once there.
A recent Quora thread asked locals what mistakes American tourists make while visiting Paris, and some of the answers may surprise you.
Keep scrolling to find out how to blend in better on your next trip.
1. Not staying in a central location (hoping to save a few euros)
I know those affordable hotels near Paris Disney sound tempting, but unless you are spending every day exploring the Disney park, it’s not a good idea. Commuting into the city every day can get expensive and eats up a lot of valuable time. I just don’t recommend it.
Especially if you’re only planning a short stay, it’s essential to stay in a convenient location that provides easy access to all the sights.
2. Not learning how to speak these key words in French
If you’re short on time, I recommend buying a French phrasebook for a quick fix to help you speak common phrases. This will be especially valuable when reading restaurant menus (if an English one is not available).
While it does help to be fluent in French, it’s not necessary for enjoying your trip to Paris. Most people in the service and tourism industry (hotels, restaurants, museums, etc.) speak basic English. Some even speak fluent English.
3. Forgetting to bring voltage converters and adapter plugs for your electronics
Most visitors are already aware that the voltage in France is 220-240, but still many people forget. If you don’t already have an adapter, I recommend buying this great all-in-one travel adapter and charger before your trip.
If you did forget though, don’t worry. I saw a couple of tourist shops that had voltage converters and adapter plugs for sale.
4. Trashing your metro ticket after entering the metro
Keep your ticket after entering the metro because you might be required to present it upon exiting (or have to pay a fine if you don’t have it).
A metro officer checked my ticket when I took the RER train to Versailles and when I exited the metro near the Eiffel Tower. Luckily I read this tip before my trip to Paris so I made sure to keep my ticket.
5. Only going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Some people think that the Eiffel Tower is overrated and put it on their “skip it” list when visiting Paris. Those people are silly and it’s a shame if you listened to them.
I really enjoyed going to the sommet of the Eiffel Tower. Yes it costs more than just going up to the first floor, but it was totally worth it! If you’re only going to Paris once, why not go up to the top? Make your own judgment.
But while going up the Eiffel Tower is nice, you miss the view of the Eiffel Tower in your photos. (Just like when you go up the Empire State building in NYC, you see everything except the Empire State Building).