Une Américaine à Paris
It's a tale as old as time; an American in Paris.
I have been to Paris four times in as many years - for the 2020 New Year, at the beginning of my Au Pair adventure in March 2020, in March 2022, and now in May 2022. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I'm a little in love with the city. Each trip reveals something new and wonderful about the City of Light. Since I've gained some knowledge about the city with each trip, I thought I would write some of it down for you. I'm no substitute for the one and only Rick Steves, but I hope I can share a new perspective with you here.
You may be wondering, why Paris? The story begins in kindergarten, when my parents enrolled me at Normandale French Immersion School in Edina, MN. I didn't realize what a gift that was at the time, but my appreciation for the French language has only grown in the 20 years since then. In addition to learning the language, at Normandale we learned about French culture and traditions from an early age. Knowing the local tongue and a bit about the culture has made my time here much easier. That's not to say that it's necessary, but it does help me get to know the city and its people more quickly.
When I travel alone, I like to start my trip without a set agenda. I book my flights and AirBNB in advance, and read up on the city. Then, I arrive with some ideas of what I would like to do during my stay, and let the weather and my mood dictate the day's events. This may not be the most common approach to international travel, but I have found that it works for me.
Before I go out and explore the city, I'll leave you with some tips:
Quick tips for Paris
Use the metro system.
Don't be afraid to wander.
You can get by without cell phone service - download the google map and the Top 50 France playlist in advance, and rely on public WiFi when you go out.
Bring a travel adaptor, your passport, and a credit card without foreign transaction fees. I usually get by without withdrawing euros by using my credit card for everything. Be sure to set travel alerts with your card before you travel.
Pack light and leave room for souvenirs.
Don't do it all in one trip. Take time to soak it all in and relax.