||[Dec. 23rd, 2010|09:17 am]
Chris the Tratcher
So we're looking at going to Paris soon. Suggestions? (Note: we don't speak French.) |
Best resource I've found so far: http://wikitravel.org/en/Paris
My recommendation is: don't. That's because I hate Paris. It's *dirty*, and the people aren't very nice. But!
Last time I went there (admittedly 10 years ago), the tap water wasn't fit for consumption, so we had to drink bottled water. This was because the pipes were lead, and because the bacteria was different than what we're used to on this side of the pond. That might have changed between now and then, but definitely look into it. Also, meat is cooked differently there -- "well done" there is what we'd call "medium rare" here. Just FYI.
I do have a coworker that lives in Paris, though. I'll ask him for recommendations. When are you going?
Don't worry too much about the non-French. Any romance ling background at all? Cram some vocab into your brains (I dunno how far off this trip may be).
A pocket dictionary and some prior practice w/ pronunciation will get you by on a vacation.
When I was there I saw city workers actually scrubbing the streets & in the train station there was a lady who cleaned the toilet seat after every use.
Look up the major travel books (frommers, lonely planet, just go to the barns and noble to see what titles there are) and see if they have some good forums for personal stories.
If this is a place you've wanted to go, and you've got the time and means to do so I say do it. How much time do ya got? Those fore mentioned books can suggest good day trips.
Bottled water is the norm in restaurants, you've got to specify tap water when you ask for it. ALSO if you don't and bottled water comes it may be carbonated, if you don't like gas ask for water w/o gas.
If your shooting for not staying in hostels because that's your preference then that's all good. But don't write them off because you don't think they'll be clean or nice to stay in. They can save you a lot of money, and many have private rooms cheaper than a hotel.
Learn some French. I've noticed a strong correlation amongst people I know between their ability to speak French and their enjoying time in Paris. Figure out things you're likely going to need to say ("Excuse me", "Please", "Thank you", etc.) and learn those words. Learn to ask if the individual speaks English if you know the conversation will be out of your depth in French.
Also, get a map of the subways (RER, pronounced "Air-ou-air"). It'll be your friend.