Going to Paris: What must I do?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by amateurmacfreak, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. amateurmacfreak macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    I'm leaving day after tomorrow for Paris. =]

    I'll be there for about 6 days (the reason being that my dad is a musician and is playing a gig there) and... just ideas on what one has to do while in Paris?

    And it's my first time there. AND I will be going on a class trip to France in the spring, where I will be seeing a lot of the common tourist places to go.

    Any tips for just cool neighborhoods and sections of Paris to go to would be great. Or any things that I just HAVE to see. Oh, and we're staying in the 16th District.

    And I'm a 13 year-old girl. So idk, just to get that out there in this land of males? ;)

    So anyways, I don't know where I'm going w/ this, but any suggestions for things to do would be great. Thanks. =]

    (and yes, my parents will actually listen to my suggestions on what to do, thank God...)
  2. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    First fact, do not expect the Parisians to help you much. Even the rest of France is ashamed of them because they give them a bad name :) Best thing to do is to doordinary things in life, ie go on the bus etc. If you live in the US, i advise you to go and watch a proper sport (football/soccer to you), Paris Saint-Germain is a good team. The tourist stuff and that is really all that i got.
  3. wimic macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    quick to do list:

    - see the eiffel tower for the first time at night... it's much more enchanting that way

    - visit notre dame (take a few minutes to really appreciate the architecture)

    - take a night cruise down the sienne and take lots of pictures

    - visit a bistro or a small, non-main-stream cafe, sit, look, listen and absorb the culture (it's amazing how much you can miss out on by getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of travelling)

    - visit versailles... the gardens are phenominal

    - visit the Arc de Triomphe, and La Defance but read about them before you visit.

    - try a real french croissant, crepe and gelato (thanks to your close proximity to italy!)

    - Visit the Louvre... see the Mona Lisa, but don't be oblivious to all of the other amazing works of art around you (FYI - the mona lisa is going to be a let down). Be sure to see Venus de Milo - it's breathtaking.

    - Don't be tricked by "innocent" tourist or pedestrians... they're likely not innocent. Pick-pocketing is extremely common and tourists are most often the target.

    - Wear a Canada Flag... you'll be treated a lot better if you do.
  4. extraextra macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2006
    Try to avoid being too touristy! Seriously. They'll pretty much ignore you. Annnd dress nice. If you dress in your everyday average clothes you'll feel trashy there. :( I went out in a sweatshirt and jeans and felt horrible the rest of the day because everyone else had decided they were going to look amazing just to walk around the street.

    Don't throw random French words in. "Oui," is the only thing you know? Don't say it. Better to just stick to all English rather than throwing in a few mispronounced French words.

    This has been my experience. I dressed nicely for the most part and acted indifferent (ok ok, and I speak French so it was easier to get by) and I loved it there. Lol :p But have fun!
  5. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    Go to the Musée d'Orsay (18th-19th century art) and/or the Centre Pompidou (modern art). Both are amazing museums in their own right. Yes, I know it's easy to get overarted in Paris.

    While visiting Notre Dame, be sure to visit St. Chappelle further down on the island. Amazing, huge stained glass windows -- spectacular on a sunny day.

    If you want to get out the big city for a few hours, take a train ride out to Chartres. It's about an hour outside of Paris. Check out the cathedral and the grounds.

    Have fun!
  6. amateurmacfreak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    Saint-Chappelle is a definite yes, as my French teacher raves about it all the time. And of course Notre Dame.
    And I will try to dress nicely and be as not-touristy as possible. :/ I really don't want to be viewed as the stereotypical American; I hate our current government and what they've caused America to be viewed as by the rest of the world. Honestly, I think Europe's generally a much cooler place.
    And I will try to take the time to sit down and enjoy a croissant and soak in the culture.
    The Musee D'Orsay is also a go. I'm looking forward to this trip as a chance to more soak in the culture; Traveling with a clump of adolescents in the spring will be, um, "fun" but I'm sure we will be viewed as obnoxious American youth who dress in blue jeans and have no apprieciation for culture.
    And we'll be with people who have been to Paris repeatedly, so hopefully we won't stick out... as a horridly bad blemish of fat cultureless humans on the world. Ah bah, bad description, but I'm tired. :eek:

    EDIT: Centre Pompidou sounds great. =] I'll mention it to my mom and stuff. I'd love to see some neat art museums.
  7. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    Hi there amateurmacfreak,

    I recently was in Paris (just after the Tour de France) and I have to say wimic has all the right ideas. I would also add that the Museum of Man had some interesting exhibits and I think it was the "Musée des Arts Décoratifs" had a copy of Rodin's "The Thinker" in their garden... At least I think it was that Museum, I only saw the statue on one of those 'hop on/off' tourist buses as we drove by. :(

    Paris is a fairly friendly city, but you might run into some egotist protective of "true parisian french"... I only had one bad experience using my horrible grade 9 Quebecois french on some geezer, other people were very polite when I was speaking french (some were even surprised!)...I guess the moral is that if you show an effort in trying to communicate with the natives, you will generally be rewarded! :)

    Wimic also had it right with the pickpockets so keep your Euros out of sight. While I didn't have that experience personally we did run into a couple of tourist scams there. The first one was a friendly guy/girl comes up to you with bits of coloured string saying they 'want to show you something' and ask for your wrist. What they do is tie the string on in an impossible-to-remove knot and then demand that you pay an outrageous amount for it (I think the victim we saw was quoted €10, and the dad 'bargained' them down to €5). Another one we heard about in the hotel was a sketch artist approaches you and is very complimentary when he/she talks to you, then they ask if you could sit while they sketch you, the rub is that afterwards they try to sell you the picture for €20!

    We ran into both of these scams, each time my wife had a briliant and effective way for a female to escape the situation... she simply smiled and said "I'm sorry, but I can't talk I really have to go pee!" :D Might not work for guys, but I'm sure you could make good use of it. :cool:

    Finally to avoid attracting the scam artists in the first place all you have to do is not speak english, to the scammers it's a homing beacon that just screams 'tourist'.

    Enjoy you're time there, while I've devoted a large segment of this post to the more negative side of Paris it's truly a wonderful place with rich culture and experiences... almost everywhere you go will amaze you!
  8. Graeme A macrumors 6502

    Graeme A

    Aug 6, 2003
    Melbourne, Australia
    Oh yes, the Musee d'Orsay... I so enjoyed this place when I lived in Paris, they had a great Van Gogh exhibition on at the time, and it made me appreciate his work a lot more than just looking at photos in a book.

    I loved the model of old paris that they have in the floor and the cross section model of the Opera, and its more accessible than the Louvre.

    For tips, use the metro (work out your journey and lignes/directions beforehand), avoid the usual scams like the people telling their life stories (je suis sans resources, or chomeur) and then coming around with their hand out.

    Have an air of indifference for everything around you, and you will be taken for a natural born Parisienne.

    Practice a few select French phrases; "Est que tu pense que je suis une touriste Americanne" -- Very helpful when your taxi driver is trying to rip you off.. Ca fait chier -- I am not impressed by that.

    Don't ask for Cafe (espresso) in Cafes, try Cafe Elongee... Its a regular black coffee which lasts longer if you are doing some people watching.

    Avoid the back streets around Les Halles and behind les Grands Magasins... No place for a youngster.
  9. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2006
    Paris is my favorite city in the world. Of course it is often nicer if you speak french (which I do), but the french seem to like teenage girls so you won't have too hard a time ;) :D

    Anyway, I've been to Paris 3 or 4 times and all over France and the rest of Europe (I am 16), and my most of my favorite things have already been mentioned- I have two to add.

    First of all, never eat anywhere the near the attractions. My strategy is to walk for a few miles away from where ever i just was, get lost, find a place full of locals, eat, then try to find my way back. If i can't, get a cab and tell the driver where you want to go and he'll get you there, although he will probably hate you for being alive.

    Second this is go to Sacre Coeur. I am jewish, so it wasn't a religious attraction, but Monmartre is one of my favorite places in all of Paris, even if it has become touristy. Amazing views and crazy priests who will beat you to death with a condle stick for wearing a hat or a short skirt inside. Recomended.

    Also, while Parisians in general may hate you for not being one of them, I've found that many of them are very nice. The nicest people, it seems, are those who work in small resteraunts or behind the counters of little shops; the more money any given Parisian has (or is exposed too, in the case of waiters) the meaner they are. Of course that sounds like a sweeping generalization, which it is, but it is true in my experiance, if not the experiance of others.

    I also took a trip to Paris in 8th grade (I was 14) in the spring- you don't go to the French American/Gilkey int'l school in Portland do you? (No I am not a creepy 50 year old man, I am just curious, especially as my sister goes there now.)
  10. amateurmacfreak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    Haha, nope, I don't. =]
  11. amateurmacfreak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    And thanks for all the advice! The Sacre Coeur is another place I would like to visit; My French teacher has talked repeatedly about it also.

    And I have some basic French, but not tons. I'm not even all the way through French I yet. :eek:

    I plan to try to use French to blend in, but the Parisians will probably be craving for me to speak English so they don't have to listen to a teenage girl single-handedly butcher the French language. :eek: We will be, although, with people who speak French fluently, and I hope to really speak a little bit of French in the first real setting I have since Quebec, which at the time I knew almost no French.
  12. Graeme A macrumors 6502

    Graeme A

    Aug 6, 2003
    Melbourne, Australia
    one more thing that may or may not rock your bateau...

    The area around Place d'Italie (5th and 13th arr.) has a bunch of roller bladers on Friday evenings after 8pm I think. Hordes of people on blades, skates, etc. just following a route... Its great to watch but, so painful if you are in a taxi at the time with the meter running...
  13. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    Don't worry, French teenagers are the same, you won't stand out as much as you think.
    These are all great suggestions. Man, I'm so jealous. I haven't been to Paris in years. If you have time take the Métro up north and visit the Basilique St. Denis. It's a beautiful old church where many of the past kings and queens of France are buried.
    Also, don't forget to go shopping! And no, I'm not just saying that because you're a girl, there are lots of awesome stores and cool fashions you can't get in the US.
  14. amateurmacfreak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    Ah, the Basilique St. Denis, yet another place my French teacher mentioned. :)
    And yes, I will go shopping. I think I'll like the style. I'm not the typical mall-going Abercrombie-shopping teenage-girl, but I like style more than, erm, maybe they do since they're all wearing the same stuff. :eek: ;) :)
  15. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    I was in Paris a week ago, for the first time as a tourist (I live in the south of France). I agree with all of the above comments (especially to take advantage of the métro, as your feet will be very tired after hiking all over and standing around in museums). If you go to the Centre Pompidou, make sure to go up to the very top floor (it's a café). The view of Paris from up there is great, as good as the Tour Eiffel, I would say, because while it may not be as high, it is perfectly located.

    Wandering and (window)shopping on the Champs-Elysées and Rue Fauborg is also a must.
  16. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    For clothes and shoe shopping, the Boulevard Haussmann area is pretty damn good, better than the Champs Elysée IMO. I'll also second others recommendation of Montmartre, especially for the art markets.

    And if you do go to La Louvre (which you really should do) on top of the Venus don't forget all the Egyptian artifacts and Michelangelo's The Dying Slave.

    And get a Metro map as they don't have the lines labelled as Northbound, Eastbound etc. at stations, so if you don't know the network it's easy to jump on the wrong train.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Sacre Coeur is so overrated. And be careful in that area. Lots of pickpockets. When you go down the hill into the area with the Moulin Rouge (forgot the name, although I've been to Paris like 3 times), be careful of pickpockets there as well. Not the best area. ;)

    You can go to La Louvre, but go after 3pm and get a discount. You won't need hours and hours there. ;) Don't get me wrong. I like art. I just don't necessarily like looking at hundreds of paintings of Christ, some angels, Joseph and Mary, etc.

    If you need to go to a major museum, the Musee D'orsay is much better. It also used to be a train station.

    Beyond that, I'd go to Versailles and the gardens at the back. I'd also take the suggestion others have given about going on a night cruise down the River Seine. Paris will be fantastic for night photography. :)
  18. Glen Quagmire macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    Go to every public square and yell "J'aime President Bush" at the top of your voice.
  19. Palad1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2004
    London, UK

    You can also check the "Musée rodin" out, it's located near the "invalides".

    Still, 6 days are not enough for all the suggestions given here. I'd suggest you pick a theme and try to follow it through various museums.

    6 weeks are not even enough for the louvre museum!

    The weather is not too bad currently, so you may also plan to spend some time in the gardens (tuilleries or luxembourg are very nice).

    If you like sculpture, you may also visit the pere-lachaise and montmartre cimetaries.

    Enjoy your stay!

    A bientôt, peut-être!
  20. amateurmacfreak thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2005
    Oh yes, thank you for trying to get me killed. :)
  21. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    It would be worth the drive to go visit Normandy.
  22. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Easy... you need to head to the 18th, which is just north of the Gare du Nord, it's the edgier side of Paris, populated by lots of musicians, artists and designers which gives it that slightly boho vibe, it's also massively cinematic in it's appearance, the epitome of film noir, par excellence. That and it also has Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen... and of course Tati. :D
  23. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    You do realize that it's about 300 kilometers to the Normandy beaches (which is what I image you're talking about), and that the OP is 13 years old?
  24. Lyle macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2003
    Madison, Alabama
    If that doesn't seem to be working, take up smoking and go without deodorant.
    Agreed. The restaurant in the Orsay is also quite good (well, it was about six years ago, anyways).

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