What You Will Need
To visit France, U.S residents must have a valid U.S passport with at least one blank page and valid at least 3 months beyond your planned date of departure. If you are visiting for more than 90 days you will need a tourist visa, otherwise a visa isn’t required. For more information on entry requirements click HERE.
- Comfortable shoes. Trust us, comfort over anything else!
- A light Jacket (if visiting during summer months as it gets chilly at night)
- A travel adapter for your cellphone/camera/laptop chargers
- A converter if you will be taking bigger appliances such as a blow dryer, hair straightener etc. To determine the right voltage converter for your appliance, first find out the voltage (110 or 220 Volt AC) and wattage rating (watts or amps) information on the back or bottom of the appliance or from instruction book of an appliance. If no Watts are shown and only AMPS are shown, multiply the Volts (input AC) by the amps to find the watts.
Volts(AC Input) x Amps(amperage) = Watts (Wattage)
110V x 0.5A = 55W
This information i use as a guideline is provided via voltage-converter-transformers.com
Tip: In your carry-on: Make sure you put your gels, liquids and aerosols, in a quart size ziplock bag. They are very strict about it and will pull you to the side to go through your bag if you don’t!
*Beware of phony cab drivers trying to charge you 3-10 times the rate. Always make sure there’s a meter, that it’s turned on and keep your eye on it.
The primary language in France is obviously French. You will come across some locals, particularly in the service industry who speak some English and some who speak Spanish. It is important that you go to France knowing at least a few words in French. It is rude to assume and/or expect that someone speaks English. As a rule of thumb always ask if they speak English (in French) before you start to ramble on. You will of course need to know at least some French to ask the question. Below are some suggested phrases/words you should learn:
- Parlez vous Anglais? “Do you speak English?”
- Excusez-moi “Excuse me”
- Je ne parle pas français “I don’t speak French”
- Bonjour “Hello/Good Day”
- Bonsoir “Good Evening”
All About The Money
When you get to Paris, exchange your U.S dollars into Euros in one of the local exchange houses or through your local bank if they provide the service. There are plenty of options all varying in price once you are in Paris. The Euro at the time was at .89 for every $1 USD and we were able to exchange it at .86 ahead of time through our bank (Bank of America). We also exchanged it at an exchange house in Paris for .85. Always know what the Euro is valued at when you travel and try to get as close to that as possible. DON’T do it at the airport! The airport was paying .79! Remember the XE APP helps you keep track of ongoing rates.
Where to Stay
Paris has 20 neighborhoods so it can be overwhelming for a first-timer when trying to decide where to stay. During this trip we stayed at this Airbnb flat located in the 10th ARR. Average pricing $180/night. If you are new to Airbnb get up to $40off your first reservation using this link to sign up. Message the host and let her know Suzzstravels recommended it.
- The apartment is well maintained, and has very cute decor. The space can hold about 5 people but i would say it better suits 3-4 people max. The rooms are divided by curtains. The location was PERFECT for us. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants around the area and the canal Saint Martin is nearby. This area is less touristy and filled with locals but still close to the main attractions.
- If you still want another option with a local feel, the neighborhood of The 9th will give you that as well! You won’t find many tourists here either, what you will find are great local bars and restaurants. You will probably even forget you are just visiting. It is still close enough to explore all the big Paris attractions.
- The Marais: Central location with a cultural mix and some great shopping options.
- St Germain: still considered a central location but with more tourists. Close to the Notre Dame.
Ps. You can drink in the streets of Paris
•Palace of Versailles
•The Grand Palais
•Palais-Royal. Tip: grab a coffee at Cafe Kitsuné
•The clock at Musée D’orsay. Tip: start backwards
•Place du Trocadero
•Le Mur des Je t’aime
•Musee du Louvre
Ice Cream Shops & Creperies Suggestions
•La Droguerie Du Marais
•Le Perchoir Du Marais. Tip: go early evening for a great view of Paris
•Lavomatic-you MUST go here. All i’m going to say is you will be entering through a washing machine, yup that’s right!
•Dirty Dick’s- tiki bar, the drinks were good but service wasn’t great the night we went
•La luche libre- go during happy hour and check out their downstairs for some entertaining wrestling!
•Experimental Cocktail club-we LOVED the drinks and service here, we went back twice. On Monday night they had a live DJ.
•Little red door- They treat Cocktails like a form of art here!
Tip: Make sure you check if a place is open before heading there. Many places were closed on a Sunday, others on Monday. This applies to restaurants as well
•Mama Jackson Soul Food-Don’t miss this place whether it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner
•Thai at home-Thai, Pan Asian
•Baguettes Cafe-Cafes, Breakfast & Brunch
•Candelaria-(There’s only tacos in the menu so if you are not a fan, this place isn’t for you. Go in through the front, where you will see a few stools and tables to eat in. After you are done, there’s a door that goes to the cocktail bar). Their Carnitas & the Zanahorias tacos were our favorite.
Disclaimer: we are Mexican, so anytime we travel, despite the location, we try to scout out Mexican restaurants to see how their food compares to what we grew up with.
We highly suggest you walk around as much as you can. The architecture in Paris is so beautiful. We spent 6 hours walking around in just one day. For this trip, we spent 6 days in Paris and decided not split our time on a second location.