Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Paris Takeaway Thoughts & Tips

Arriving In Paris
  • I’ve heard and read a lot of horror stories about the pickpockets in Paris. As a solo traveler, I opted for the more costly option of booking the ParisShuttle to pick me up in Paris Orly Terminal and drop me off to the hostel for only €18. Their regular rate is €25 but I got a discount because I flew using Easyjet.
  • Alternatively, Paris Orly Terminal has a train connecting the airport to the main line. But I didn’t want the hassle of reading maps while being alert with my luggage in a new city.  
Getting Around
  • You can buy a carnet of 10 tickets for €12,50. The carnet is valid in zone 1 only.
  • There is also the Paris Visite Pass comes in two options: a pass valid for zones 1-3 or zones 1-5 which can be valid for 1-5 days.  Plan your itinerary in such a way that the adjoining areas can be reached by foot. You can use one ticket to go there and another one going back.
  • Maps are useful. A pen would be a handy accessory. Don’t be afraid to use them. There’s always someone else reading that map a few feet away from you.
Take a picture of the map at the entrance
The metro
  • The metro map can be overwhelming. Very overwhelming. But it is easy once you try it once and get how to read and do the connections. Just guard your belongings. Using an anti-theft bag can be handy.
  • In my moments in the metro where there is a standing old lady or pregnant woman, I noticed that no one offered their seat.
  • You will probably stand beside a drunk or stinky smelling person. You were warned.
  • Some metro stations are stinky and smelly – even more than out MRT.
Regional trains waiting area in Garu de Nord

Going Around
  • When planning your itinerary, check the schedule of the museums. Some museums are closed on certain days, and some offer free entrance on some days of the month.
  • The map of a museum is helpful in finding your way around – especially the Louvre.

The Paris Museum Pass  
  • Is it worth it? Same to my advise before getting a tour card, you have to do the painstainking work of cost comparison between buying point to point vs. buying a tour card. The tour card will only save you time buying the ticket. You will still have to line up getting inside the museums and if you are getting an audioguide.
  • Paris is the center of designer bags. If you plan to shop to your heart’s content, be prepared to wait in line. I saw long lines in Longchamp and Louis Vuitton stores. Read: Havaianas store during Christmas season.

An LV store with a liiiiinnnneeee
Another long line in Longchamp

  • If you plan to do your shopping spree in Paris, be mindful how you can bring all of those home. I have no idea how to send home Balikbayan boxes  from Paris.

  • You can get a tax refund you spend a minimum of 175€  in the same store on the same day. InGaleries Lafayette, they have a Tax Refund Counter. A representative will check your receipts and check them, then give you forms to accomplish. The form will be submitted in the tax refund counter at your last point of departure where the form will be stamped. I did not present the goods in the airport (not sure if it is required to show the goods when your form is stamped).
  • You can choose whether you will receive the tax refund in cash or by credit card.
  • You need to leave the EU zone in three months (If I remember correctly).

  • There are free talking toilets in Paris. They have French instructions. It is cool actually. Make it a point to try one.
Find these free high-tech toilets all over Paris

  • You’ve probably heard that French people are rude. I didn’t have any rude encounters with them. In fact, I have met a lot of locals who were more than willing to take my picture or to help me find my way. There are also a lot of tourists to help you out when needed.
  • Tap water is drinkable. Nothing funny happened to my tummy.
  • A filling meal in McDonald’s  can cost below €10. They customers segregate and throw the trash away themselves. I think this is a good local practice. Don’t expect anyone to clean up after you. 

 The high-tech food order option in KFC:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Loraine, your entry on hostel plug-inn in paris is not working. Wanted to know if I can also stay there when I go to paris. Thanks, your blog has been very helpful.


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