Paris Tips for American Tourists

Via Kinkajou in the chat room, regarding my pending trip to Paris, France – a set of Paris tips for tourists:

  • Take several pictures of the Eiffel tower at night with its lights on. It’s a wondrous sight, and it pains me to know that my pictures of it were rendered unusable somehow (probably by x-rays at the Louvre or an airport baggage scan, because I used very high speed film when I took the pictures). Hell, just take a metric ton of pictures. A “metric ton of pictures” can vary depending on the size of the medium the picture is stored on – as 2GB SD cards weigh the same as 16GB SD cards, but both are much lighter than 35mm rolls of film.
  • Go to the top of the Eiffel tower if at all possible. Make sure you have warm clothing, because it gets rather chilly up there in the summer months. I can only guess it would be downright freezing during this late fall / early winter time.
  • Go to the Louvre. Okay, it’s cliché – but it’s a beautiful museum with some of the most famous pieces of art. And if you’re awesome, you’ll accidentally trip one of the alarms like I did while I was there.
  • Carry cash. Places will add an extra fee for using plastic. Oh, your AmEx will not be accepted at most places over there. If you must take plastic, take Master Card or Visa. Also, make sure you store your cash in a place a pickpocket won’t be able to snatch it easily.
  • If you buy anything electronic, make sure it will work when you get back to the States before you buy it. DS games will be fine; they are region free. A Clock / MP3 player / Toothbrush with WiFi-powered Internet radio may not be fine and require an adapter in America.
  • If you take your 17″ MBP with you, it may be worthwhile to go to the Apple store and buy a power cord for it instead of hauling one with an adapter / converter. Anything you take that can be charged by USB, try to get the appropriate USB cable for it before leaving (like one for the Nintendo DS, if you take it with you).
  • Try the food. If you don’t like it, there should be a McDonald’s nearby.
  • If you want water (plain tap water), you have to specifically mention it when ordering. Whenever I ordered water over in France and other European countries I got carbonated water that tasted horrible to me unless I specifically said I wanted tap water.
  • Buy a few Kinder Surprise eggs. Chocolate is always a fun treat, and they have little toys in them. Aren’t we all children at heart? When I was there, they cost 1 euro each.
  • Try your best to avoid getting a rental car – instead, relying on public transportation or your own two feet.
  • Get some French Wine. The wine I’ve had here in the states pales by comparison to wine I had in France. If you have an opportunity to visit a vineyard where they make the wine and store it in casks in a wine cellar, GO! It’ll be extremely fun. “Fun” being a relative term that your relatives may or may not understand.

Thanks! There will certainly be more Paris / France tips to come. Do you have anything to add in the interim?