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5 Common Mistakes Tourists Make in Paris

Posted January 20, 2009 by

Here is a list of 5 of the most common mistakes tourists make during their visits to Paris.

1) Wearing Sneakers! If you want to look like a foreigner while in Paris, it's easy enough - simply wear your sneakers when walking the city's streets. It's always fun to spot the American tourists wandering around with their New Balance gym sneakers on. Trust me, Parisians only wear their sneakers to one place - the gym. If, and that' a big IF - they even go to the gym.

2) Not saying Bon Soire (pronounced Boh(n)swah ) - meaning Good Evening or Bon Jour (pronounced Boh(n)zhoor) - meaning Hello, upon entering a French business. These common phrases are used whenever one enters a French establishment, use them upon entering a restaurant, cafe, or shop.

3) Spending too much time on the Champs-Élysées, and streets like it. Paris has many, many delightful neighborhoods, but the real Paris is best discovered in the intellectual Quartier Latin or the chic Marais district. Sure, visit the Champs-Élysées, but don't spend too much time there. On that same note,

4) Only visiting the Louvre. See more museums than just the Louvre - please! The Louvre Museums is an architectural sight in and off itself. The actual works in the museum would take months to see on their own. Many visitors are surprised, and a tad disappointed, when the finally cut through the throngs of people and get to the Mona Lisa ("It's so small!" is the most commonly overheard phrase upon viewing it). Instead, visit the Louvre, but spend time at the other magnificent Paris museums. The Centre de Pompidou, Rodin Museum and Museum D'Orsay immediately come to mind as a couple of museums that should be on anyone's list of "must-sees".

5) Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. At least, attempting to do so during peak hours. The lines at the Eiffel Tower are legendary - one can wait for hours just to get to the top, only to discover that the smog is so thick that the view is atrocious. Of course one should go see the Eiffel Tower - it is, after all, an international icon. However, don't waste your precious time in Paris waiting in line to get to the top. It's also worth noting that the Parisians hated the Eiffel Tower upon it's completion in 1889, as they viewed as a monstrosity.

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