Paris Tips and Hints

Paris is a city I never stop visiting and never feel like I have enough time to fully immerse myself in the Parisian way of life. On my last visit to Paris, I had the fortune to sit down with one of my favourite tour guides, Eglantine to give me her best Paris tips and hints for visiting.  Eglantine isn’t your average tour guide, with a masters degree in history and a desire to show clients the hidden side of Paris, her tips extend beyond the ‘see this and see that’ to how to live like a Parisian and experience the culture of the city.

What made you want to become a Tour Guide?

I love history and Paris is so rich in it!  After completing a Masters in history I wanted to use my degree to tell Paris’ story.  People often come a see the big sights, but I wanted to bring the hidden side of Paris.  I love taking people on tours of Saint Germain and taking them to jazz and bars while telling the stories of the people who made it famous.

What’s the perfect 48 hours in Paris?

I always tell people to be Parisian, sit in a cafe and people watch, go for an afternoon picnic on the Canal Saint Martin.  It’s where the locals go and on a sunny afternoon all of Paris will be there.

Canal Saint Martin, Paris

Canal Saint Martin, Paris

What are your musts in Paris?

Montmartre, you must go, you must experience it.  The art and creativity that was born there makes it almost sacred to me.  It was the centre of the Belle Époque from 1872 to 1914 where Van Gogh, Matisse, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and others created a rebirth of Paris culture.  Also, you must take time to learn about the French Revolution, if you don’t understand that, you’ll never understand Paris.

Any tourist traps to look out for?

Any cafe in the tourist areas.  To be honest, for locals, cafes are cafes they are all similar and all have good coffee and wine but the ones close to the attractions are very over priced.  Just walk a couple streets away and find a local one.  Also, if French Onion Soup is on the menu….don’t go!


The question we get asked most….to tip or not to tip?

You don’t have to tip.  If you like the service, it’s okay to leave some small coins but it’s not expected.

What are some local customs visitors should adapt?

Drink in public!  We love picnics or lunches on the side of the river.  It’s perfectly acceptable to drink in public but, never get drunk.  It’s not uncommon for Parisians to have a bottle of wine each at dinner, but over many hours.  We never get drunk in public, if a friend starts to get too drunk, we get them home.  Binge drinking and acting out is probably the most frowned upon thing tourists can do when visiting France.

Any other last tips or hints?

Say Bonjour and Merci.  Even if it’s all you can say it shows respect to the locals.  Most speak English and are perfectly fine talking to you in English but just saying hello and thank you shows you acknowledge you are in a different country and that you respect their culture.