I visited Paris over for their New Year celebrations and was blown away by all the things, I learned about it. Indeed, I was surprised by how quickly I fell in love with Paris. For example, every corner you turn, you’ll be presented with yet another post-card photo opportunity.
Paris is lovely, but I have to admit, there were some interesting cultural differences that I learned – and surprised me. As a result, I decided to write this article to share with you the top 10 things I have learned on my trip.
I Learned that I would Quickly Fall in Love With Paris!
Paris is amazing. You can’t help but fall in love with this city! Seriously it is fantastic. Just get lost in the street of this city, grab some lunch and enjoy! Every area of the city center has its unique flavor.
If it is your first time in the city, you want to visit the main attraction. The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, etc. but try to go off the beaten path as well. Avoid the overly touristy area and get lost where most Parisians shop. You’ll have a much better experience.
Real Estate is Crazy here!
If you think your home is small, Parisian apartments start around 17sq meters (183 sq ft). OUCH! The price of real estate in the city center is crazy! But that is the downside of living in one of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world.
Coffee Shops are wonderful
Starbucks can’t compete here. Indeed, coffee shops in Paris offer an incredible variety of freshly baked goods. Why bother with some plastic-wrapped food made in New Jersey? In the morning, there is nothing better than a freshly baked croissant with jam and a cup of french coffee to start your day.
I Learned to Use The Paris Metro system
Paris has an inspirational mass transit system! The Metropolitan goes pretty much everywhere, fast and efficiently. Yes, it gets crowded at times, but it is incredible. (Click here for the metro map) Indeed, the subway connects to all the major attractions in the city.
Metro prices are low, and you can buy a single ticket or a city pass up to 5 days that allows you to enjoy the metro as much as you need. (For more information click here)
During the week, the metro operates from 5:30 am to 1:15 am. On Fridays and Saturdays, the metro closes at 2:15 am.
You can download an excellent App for your phone to plan your trip with the Metro. The App is free, and it is available in 10 languages.
I Learned that Parisians get Cozy, Sometimes!
With so many people, it forces you to be more comfortable with crowds. My bubble is far smaller now! Europeans are used to share small spaces with many other people. They had no choice. Their countries are small and overly populated. Just think Paris alone has more people than all British Columbia!
I learned to Immerse Myself in the Parisian Culture
There is nothing wrong with seeking out what’s familiar to you on your vacation. But, when you consider a trip overseas, I learned that immersing myself in the local culture can be life-changing! Visiting an amazing European city as Paris will change your mind for sure. The culture, the atmosphere, and the views are sure to change your mind forever.
In Paris, I Learned They Throw Away Old Things!
Parisians throw out old appliances and toilets into the street on New Years’. Indeed, this is an ancient tradition common in many other cities in Europe. Naturally, I didn’t expect it, but once I got used to it, I thought it was entertaining. just look up and enjoy 😂
On this holiday, I got to learn about the traditions of those who live in Paris. Further, I learned that it’s much better to immerse ourselves in the culture, rather than comparing with what we are used too at home.
Bathrooms Can Be a Bit “Foreign” in Paris
I learned that both men and women could share the same dirty bathrooms. Indeed, I am never complaining about a Canadian bathroom again! And yet, Parisians are not extinct from their dirty bathrooms. Indeed, it was a little weird, in the beginning, seeing a woman going in a stall while I was at the urinal. After a while, I told myself, “If she doesn’t care, why would I?”
Also, I noticed that bathrooms in the city are not the cleanest. They are quite dirty by my standards. But, I think that it is almost impossible to keep toilets clean when you have millions of tourists in the city all the time. Anyway, if you are visiting Paris, be prepared.
Cheese and Foie Gras are Condiments
I learned that food in Paris, and France, in general, is impressive! For example, food is plentiful, full of flavor, and usually perfectly presented! I was overwhelmed by the choices, and I did not find anything I didn’t like. When I visit a new country, I always eat local food. It is a big part of the culture that I want to experience.
In Paris, some of my favorite things to eat were cheeses and foie gras. You can find a great selection of cheese pretty much everywhere, and it is delicious. To be sure, some of the best dishes in France get made from meat or fish. So, if you are vegetarian or vegan, you may be in trouble here!
I Learned to Love Tap Water In Paris!
Evian is on tap (in every sink) everywhere! Seriously, tap water tastes delicious in Paris! Go figures? To be sure, there is no need to order an expensive bottle of water. Just ask for tap water. Also, in France, good wine is very cheap! For example, order the house wine, and you’ll be satisfied. To be sure, in my personal experience in France, the local wine is usually the one that pairs the best with the local food.
If you are in Paris and want to visit the Eiffel Tower, and you don’t want to wait in line for hours, I learned that you could go there for dinner! Yes, the Eiffel Tower has its restaurant located in the Tower! How cool is that?
I hope you enjoyed these few tips. Yes, I know some of the points about Paris are a bit satirical, but all I wrote is true based on what I learned.
Have you been to Paris? If so, let us know what you thought about it by leaving a comment below.
Rick Orford is the co-founder of this site, Travel Addicts. He has a passion for traveling, healthy cooking, wine, and making friends all over the world. Some of his other interests include investing, mentoring, and writing about finance.