1. You can charge your phone at the bus stop
Hate that feeling when you’ve saved important directions on your phone, only for it to run out of battery at the crucial moment? Or whenever you’ve forgotten to charge your camera for an important day sightseeing? Apparently, so do Parisians. That’s why they’ve installed USB chargers on their brand new bus stops! Just look out for the new stops with large shelters, plug in, and go!
2. Wine is cheaper than diet coke
Sitting down in a café for a quick drink anywhere in Paris can give you a bit of a nasty shock when the bill comes. Even if you avoid the touristy areas, drinks can be more expensive than you’re used to in the UK. You’d be forgiven for opting for a coke instead of wine or coffee to save a few euros in this situation, but in fact in Paris it’s often cheaper to buy a glass of wine or an Espresso than a simple diet coke! Don’t get caught out – always check the wine list first (great advice for all walks of life we feel).
3. There are plenty of places to enjoy free views over Paris
Although the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral offer spectacular views of Paris and are well worth a visit, they’re not the only places you can see the views from in Paris. Some other great spots to enjoy free views of Paris are the rooftop of Galleries Lafayette, the Parisian equivalent of Harrods, on top of The Institut du Monde Arabe and the top of the steps of Montmartre, in front of the Sacre Coeur.
4. Skip the Metro and walk
You could walk from Notre Dame, to the Champs Elysees via the Louvre, on to the Eiffel Tower, pass the Arc de Triomphe and finish up at the Sacre Coeur all in less than 2.5 hours walking time. You don’t even need to do all of this in one day of course, but it’s definitely possible to avoid the metro in a lot of cases.
5. Avoid the Avenue de Champs Elysees
Although the Avenue de Champs Elysees is an iconic Parisian street you’ve probably seen in plenty of French books and films, no Parisian in their right mind would try shopping down there! If you’re looking for somewhere to shop, instead head to Rue Rivoli for the main chains or the vintage shops of Le Marais for something a little of the beaten track. For designer shopping, try the department store Printemps which is also a good shelter from the rain if you’re looking for a good rainy day activity.
6. Not all parks were created equal
On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than flopping down on the grass with a French-style picnic of fresh bread, grapes and, of course, lots of cheese and wine! There are plenty of parks in the city but not all of them are picnic friendly. Go to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement for a picnic on sloping green grass with a great family-friendly atmosphere. I promise you it’s worth the journey!
7. Get on your bike
Paris had the electric bike scheme way before the UK did, and it’s the biggest bike sharing scheme in the world with nearly 20,000 bikes. A 1-day ticket costs as little as €1,70 providing you use the bikes in short 30 minute (or less!) bursts before returning them. You can take them in and out as much as you like, providing you stick to this time limit. It’s a great, fun way to see the city used by locals too.
8. You can get sparkling water for free!
Only in Paris. There are plenty of cities that give you boring, bog standard tap water for free from their fountains, but Paris has really taken it that step further. They offer special “Eau de Paris” water fountains in various parks and locations all over the city which you can use to fill up your water bottle with fresh, cold spring water carbonated in the fountain. Definitely worth looking out for.
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