Some tips from a Parisian for your trip to Paris

I have the chance to meet and speak with a lot of travellers, and some of them have the same questions. Or, after their stay, they say “I wish I had known that before !”.

So, here are 7 little things that can be helpful to know for your next trip to Paris.

This is a completely subjective list. If you want to know something else, please leave a comment, I will edit this story with the answer ;)

Free tap water and bread in restaurants

We drink a lot of (good) wine and (average) beer at night. 
And sadly, it’s not free.

But, what is free all the time at the restaurant (when you order your meal) is tap water and bread (only exception : when your meal is composed of bread-like parts, like burger buns or pizza).

If you do not get them, don’t hesitate to ask a waiter for it.

If they want to charge you for it, leave quickly, you are in a tourist trap !

You can even enter a café and just ask for a glass of water.

Free public toilets and even showers

For a number of years, public toilets have been free and open 24 hours a day. Pretty useful sometimes.

Do not expect perfect cleanliness, but they are cleaned automatically after each use.

There are hundreds in the city, and there is even an app to find the closest one.

In the same spirit, the city of Paris maintains open and free public showers, the best known of which is Les Bains-Douches.

Prices increase when you go next to tourist areas

We should even write : “Prices increase and quality declines when you enter a tourist area”.

But if you’re ready to pay for a 4€ — crème café served by an angry waiter that will try to keep the change, you’re free.

When do you know you’re next to a tourist zone ? You’re sourrounded by tourists. And poor souvenirs shops.

One day, we’ll try to build a tourist-trap scanner for you travellers coming to Paris [edit : we are currently working on it !].

Always say “bonjour” and “merci” in shops

It is the elementary politeness that everybody respects in France. 
When we arrive at the cash register, we say “Bonjour” and, when we leave, we say “Merci” and / or “Au revoir”.

“Bonjour” = hello / “Bonsoir” = hello (but in the evening)

“Merci” = thank you

“Au revoir” = goodbye

[Suggestion from Catherine Kim :] “Bonne journée” = have a good day

Oh, and please, try to say it in French !

The cashiers will understand that you’re not French and try to speak English to you.

Only tip when you want to give a special thank

In France, we have social laws that make everybody earn at least what is needed to live in dignity.

So tipping is not mandatory at all.

Give a tip if you think the service was very good, it’s quite simple.

If a waiter tries to keep your currency by force, do not hesitate to shout “you bloody thief !”

There are NO no-go zones !

This is the second time that incompetent journalists or bloggers from the United States tell shit about Paris.

Let us be clear : this map below, or any other pointing allegedly dangerous zones, are BULLSHIT.

This isn’t Detroit, Paris is safe.

Of course, you should be wary of pickpockets around the great historical monuments, and other small street scam artists. But nothing dangerous.

It’s always better to meet Parisians

The only way to discover the real Paris, the local life, is to be with an insider.

It’s true for Paris, and for all the places in the world.

That’s what we propose with the Welcom’ project.

Find Parisians that will make you experience their Paris, their spots, their life.

If you need tips about enjoying Paris, just ask !

From Montmartre with love,


I read and reply to every comment, feel free to answer. English is not my first language, so if you find a typo, please tell me.

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