Paris is everything you’ve read in novels, seen in movies, dreamt about and more. It was the first city I visited on my first trip abroad and I have stayed there at least one night on every European trip I have taken since.
I have the advantage of being fluent in French so navigating the city alone is not an issue. For those who do not speak or understand the language, luckily most of the signs are also written in English and if you take public transportation from the airport into the city, the announcements are made in French, English and Spanish.
As lovely and magical Paris is, you do, however, need to be mindful of your surroundings and keep your purses and wallets safely hidden. It is apparently notorious for pick-pocketing, in fact, you will find warning signs posted throughout the city. I have friends who have had their wallets and other possessions stolen but so far I have managed to avoid such fate. It can happen to anyone but there are some measures of precaution you can take such as
a) Always leave important documents like your passport in a hotel safe and carry instead photocopies
b) If you must carry a purse, make it a small one with straps you can wear across your chest
c) Carry your wallet in your front pocket instead of the back
d) If you travel alone and need someone to take pictures for you using your phone or camera, I find it best to ask a fellow tourist 🙂
Words of caution aside, every single one of my trips to Paris were filled with beauty, discovery, wonder and adventure. Like the time I stayed in a little boutique hotel in the second Arrondissement, steps from the Louvre
Or the time I went jogging every day right before sunset along the Seine River to the Eiffel Tower
Or the time I first visited the Louvre museum and was so overwhelmed by its splendor and the sense of solemnity it evoked that I cried, and then patiently waited in line to see the Mona Lisa only to discover it is slighter bigger than a college notebooks.
Or that time I walked to the Champs Elysees and started singing the Joe Dassin song of my childhood “Ohhhhh Champs Elysees…”