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Tag: paris

The best Three Day Paris Itinerary For First-Time Visitors

First time in Paris France #paris #france #paris in 3 days #things to do in paris #paris attractions

Paris is a huge city, full of great museums, galleries, things to do and places to eat. We arrived here from Nice by train and stayed for two nights near Latin quarter. I would certainly recommend this area if this is your first time to explore Paris attractions, as it’s really lively and relatively safe. It’s also very close to the Notre Dame de, which is one of the best Paris attractions and not too far from Louvre. First we chose the Hotel du Commerce, which was one of the cheapest properties in this area.
When we arrived, our room was under renovations, so the hotel offered us a room at another property of their chain – Hotel Moderne Saint Germain.


Instead of writing a typical “How I spent my holiday” I will list a top 5 Paris attractions and suggestions how to spend a few days in this wonderful city if you just arrived here for the first time. Welcome to The best Three Day Paris Itinerary For First-Time Visitors!

Paris attractions

Paris attractions nr. 1: Eiffel Tower

This was high on our list from the beginning on. The tower, it’s construction and history are really impressive. So here is how to get there from, let’s say, Notre Dame. Option 1: walking. It’s going to be a long walk! We only made it halfway and ended up taking a bike taxi. By the way, if you care about your life, don’t take these! The drivers don’t really care about traffic and keep going even if they should give way! We nearly had a heart attack when he started left turn into the traffic, some cars stopping only 20cm from our feet! There is no protection of any kind. Really scary!


Another option is to take a bus 63. It will only cost you 2€ and will take you to this amazing Paris attractions in around 20 minutes. Last but not least, a metro is also an option. Didn’t try it that way, but should be just as good. Metro tickets are a bit cheaper (1.90€).

eiffel tower by night Paris attractions

Eiffel tower by night – photo by Tigrest

We were lucky to get to the tower by sunset, allowing us to take very nice pictures. The tower is really pretty when lit up, so make sure to stay until it’s fully dark, too. If this is your first time in Paris, you might find numerous security checks unusual. Before entering the tower, you will have to go through security gates. We decided to take the lift all the way up (17€), there is also an option to go just half way (so called 2nd floor) for 11€. The lifts are rather slow and getting back down involved a lot of waiting in the queue. It’s totally worth it, as Paris at night is magnificent. Although there are warning announcement every now and then, watch  out for pickpockets. It seems to be a big problem.

first day in paris Paris attractions

The best Three Day Paris Itinerary For First-Time Visitors – by Sightseeing bus of course!

This seems to be a popular option for travelers, who are first time in Paris, as well as people with tight schedule. You can circle around Paris for a few hours and see all main attractions. I noticed at least three different bus operators. Most of them start from Notre Dame. The prices are quite different though. We checked the green line (green buses), and their day pass cost 33€ per person. That’s quite a lot. Good news is that there is a cheaper option – bus line called Foxity. Their daily pass costs 20€ and takes you to all major sightseeing’s, such as Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, Place de Concorde and shopping district near Opera house.


Here is my review of this bus line on Google Maps:

Totally OK bus tour. Yes, there are no clearly marked bus stops, but if you just remember the place you went off, just need to come back to the same spot. We never had to wait for the bus more than 30 minutes. The audio worked on all 3 buses we took during the day. All drivers were polite to us and we didn’t have a single problem. Their only minus to my opinion is not too many stops and the route doesn’t go to Mont Martre/Moulin Rouge. Otherwise great tour and much cheaper than other buses.
montmartre Paris attractions

Montmartre

This is your chance to try out Paris metro. Here is how to get there from Notre Dame: go down to the metro and take Line 4 (direction Porte de Clignancourt) from Saint Michel/Notre Dame. Get off at Barbès – Rochechouart station and walk along Boulevard de Rochechouart until metro station called Anvers. Turn right and you should see the Sacré-Cœur cathedral. Walk up the stairs and enjoy the view over the city from the hill. Facing cathedral, on your left there are some cozy restaurants and artists selling their paintings. You should certainly check them out, even if you are not going to buy. These are small pieces of art, you can see artists at work. If you continue on Boulevard de Rochechouart, you will eventually reach famous Moulin Rouge.

moulin rouge Paris attractions

Although we visited this area during daylight, you could feel it’s not really the same as back in Latin quarter, where we stayed. There are a lot more shady people moving around, so it might not be the safest place during evening/night hours. Unless you are visiting Moulin Rouge for the show (one of the best and known worldwide Paris attractions), I would only recommend visiting this area during the day.

seine

Walking along Seine

There are only so many museums you will have time to visit during your first time in exploring Paris attractions. Instead of wasting your time in long queues, trying to catch every possible attraction, you should really just try to enjoy the moment. You stay at Paris will be unforgettable, if you manage to get the taste of what the city is all about. In order to do that, you need to just be, walk around, do some people watching. Did you know that there are 37 bridges over Seine, of which 5 are pedestrian only and 2 are rail bridges. Some of those bridges are true works of art. The oldest-  Pont Neuf – Paris’s oldest bridge, built between 1578 and 1607.

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All the way along the cost of Seine, there are numerous green kiosks. Among souvenirs, you might find some pretty old collectibles, such as antique books, journals and comics. Working hours are quite unpredictable and depend on the weather. It’s among the cutest Paris attractions!

For around 15€ you can have a boat trip – nice way to spend an evening, have dinner or just relax from long day of walking.

Another cool idea for your Paris visit – Visit Disneyland! Here is Disneyland Paris at Christmas review by Girl Gone London

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First time in Paris – Eating out

Lunch deals

Many restaurants are offering lunch deals – for 10-15-20€ you can have 3 course meal. Sounds great? Well, here is the thing. These lunch deals are not quite the same as normal menu. They are meant for quick bite. So when you order one of those (especially for 10€), don’t expect too much out of this. If this is your first short stay in Paris, I’d recommend avoiding those menus and trying something great instead. It’s not that you won’t get what you pay for, but the food won’t be that great and will leave you with “nothing special” memory. And that’s not the kind of memory you would want to leave Paris with. There is so much great food to try here!

escargot snails

Snails

There is hardly any shortage in places to eat out in Paris! The place we stayed in – latin quarter – has some short streets with different kinds of restaurants coming one after another. Whether you would like traditional French, Spanish, Mexican, Japanses or any other cousine, you can easily find it here. If this is your first time, don’t miss your chance to try snails! That’s right – snails (or escargot, that’s how they call them). I now, it might sound crazy to even think about it, but this is just first thought. Truth is – they are are really tasteful. Just mention to the waiter that this is your first time. He will be happy explain and show you how to eat a snail. By the way, snails are just an appetizer, so make sure to order something else or you might leave hungry. Price for 6 snails: 6-10€.

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Mussels

We didn’t try mussels in Paris, we only had them in Nice, but I don’t think there is much difference. Mussels are really great to try, if you like seafood. I say some restaurants offering them in mussels+beer package for 10€. Go for it, you will most probably enjoy that. I have never tried them before and loved them!

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Pastries

Paris, like any other French city, is filled with Pâtisserie’s – bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets. You will virtually find them on every corner. You could say, ut’s a Paris attractions of it’s own! Among other amazing desserts, one of the most popular ones are Macaron’s. These are great to try and bring back home as souvenirs. The prices are quite high, especially if you by from the bakery rather than from supermarket. While walking along Saint Michel street we stumbled upon an open air market and one of the stalls was selling those. I paid 12€ for 14 pieces, which is not too bad. As I said, you might find cheaper and pricier options.

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Conclusion

Paris is great at any time of the year. However, I would highly recommend visiting at late September, when the weather is still warm, but the tourist masses have gone. September is a great month for most of South Europe – you can combine a bit beach holiday like we did in Nice and then take the fast train up to Paris and enjoy this gorgeous city – all in one week.

Read next – Best Rome attractions if you only have few hours

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police

Unsafe countries to travel to 2018

policeFrequent travelers may hear this question a lot – What was the least safe country you have been to? Especially those who travel alone. What makes a country dangerous for a tourist? Surely some countries are portrayed as least safe countries, even violent against foreign visitors. In most cases they are not safe for their citizens either. As Tom Perko mentioned at his TED talk, the people are mostly friendly everywhere, but it’s the media that creates these images. Also there are rumors, that neighboring countries create about each other which in fact are not true at all. There are, however, real stories, when people end up in unpleasant situations and feel threatened.



Here is my own story:

jerusalem

For me, the least safe situation happened in Israel. And not just because of all the shotguns they were wearing around – that part was actually a bit comforting. The real reason was the constant thought of missiles flying around that could hit you any time. I know it doesn’t happen a lot, but the danger is always there. One funny moment – we were taking a bus back from Jerusalem to Eilat (southernmost point) and it was getting dark. I was sheepish, but i could swear i saw a tank by the road.. Maybe it was just my imagination though. On the way back, at the airport, I was questioned for about 30 minutes, all my bags were checked and they even wanted to inspect my camera for the pictures. One woman from our group had her passport stolen, so she didn’t have a proper document, just a paper from police. I heard she was questioned for 3 hours, including all kind of inspections (no comments). Even though Israel (and Eilat in particular) are wonderful destinations, their security level is crazy and a bit too much for an average traveler!




Brazil is considered one of the dangerous ones, especially the not-so-touristy parts of the cities. Due to high poverty and low living standards, the crime is a serious problem there. As a common advice, it is recommended not to go alone walking in the dark, wearing expensive clothes or having jewelry/electronics and money with you.  Speaking in foreign language may also attract unnecessary attention.

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Paris (France) has high crime rates, especially the areas away from tourist zones. You can, however, get robbed pretty much anywhere – even in a restaurant. Police seems to be unable to help a lot of times, not to mention they have hard time understanding English. Many people have an image of Paris being a “love capital of the World”, but the real picture is somewhat different. While it is a stunning, beautiful city in itself, the reality of street life may change your mind for worse.

During my latest travels in the USA, there was a scary moment, when me and a friend were walking on a dark street at night and a car stopped right next to us. Having heard so many horror stories, I really felt uneasy and tried to quicken our pace. Luckily they were only asking for a lighter. I have heard, however, enough stories with gun being pointed at people for no reason, road rages and danger of walking in unsafe neighborhood. What a shame for a country as powerful and wealthy as US to have such crime problems.


Surprisingly, Germany is climbing the ladder of unsafe destinations, particularly after recent events of mass rape in Cologne. I have spent 3 years in Germany during my studies and never have I felt threatened or unsafe. I have moved around Berlin by bike at 2 am and no problem what so ever. So the reason might be increasing immigration of young, poorly educated males who do not understand western life and standards.

Obviously there are more countries, some of which are at the state of (civil) war. Going to places like that involves a risk, no matter where you go. The map shows the most dangerous countries of the world (Relevant for 2016):

dangerous countries

 Safety tips

Although most large cities are generally safe, there are some tips to make it even more stress free.

  1. Travel light. Try to use just hand luggage – it will save you money on ticket (most airlines allow to take carry on for free). Bringing less personal items with you minimizes the risk of being spotted as a target. It is also more convenient to move around with a smaller bag – taking a bus, metro or even taxi.
  2. Avoid a lot of cash.  Most big cities in developed countries are happy to accept credit card as a method of payment. Having too much cash attracts attention and your wallet may (depending on the currency) increase in size a lot. Try bringing just enough to get by. If necessary, you can always get some more from the ATM.
  3. Store you documents well. If possible, make some copies or take a picture of your passport with your smartphone. It is also a good idea to label your luggage with your name and address and use luggage locks.
  4. Download offline maps to navigate in case you get lost. One of the good ones is NavMii – it’s free and allows you to download the map of the area/city and even store addresses. Saving the address of the hotel may save you a lot of trouble.
  5. Beware of strangers, especially if traveling alone. Do not discuss your travel planes, invite them over to hotel room and don’t go with them if invited somewhere. When going out, avoid excessive drinking. Always be in control!
  6. Be careful with publishing your travel plans on Facebook, as some robberies are taking place when hosts are away.
  7. Do your homework – research about your destination. Make plans, where it is OK to go. Stay away from the not-so-great areas. Avoid walking alone at nights. If lost, pretend you know where you are going and stay on busy streets with traffic.
  8. Investing in travel insurance may be worth it, especially if you are traveling to developing countries. I recommend getting travel insurance, as well as accident cover.
  9. Try to look as a local as much as possible – that way you won’t be an obvious target. Try to blend in, wear local clothes if possible.
  10. Let your friends and family know where you are going. Checking in regularly will keep them from worrying and in case of emergency helps them find you sooner.

Share your scary travel memories in comments! What are your personal travel safety tips?

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