- 250 BC
- Time Zone:
- UTC (GMT+1 hour)
Paris is the capital of France and the fashion capital of the world. Paris boasts the Eiffel Tower, named for its architect in spite of the evident pun on ‘I fell’ in pronouncing it the tallest freestanding structure at the time it was submitted to the 1899 World’s Fair. The Louvre attracts people from around the world to see its vast collection of paintings and sculptures. It’s also notorious for attracting largely American backpackers in flip-flops who run or move quickly past the other art and through the hallowed halls of the museum to arrive breathless at the Mona Lisa, which is always much smaller than anyone anticipates. Beware, most museums are closed on Mondays and if you have a student card or you’re a teacher, you’re often eligible for discounts for museum entrance fees. If you’re from the EU, entrance often free so you could perhaps suggest that you’re a teacher in Spain which you can communicate with a few words of Spanish or a look of exasperated Iberian indignation.
A trip to Paris would not be complete without shopping. Paris offers visitors many shopping options from boutiques to Forum Des Halles, the city's largest shopping center. Nightlife in Paris is amazing with bars, clubs and shows in famous theatres like the Moulin Rouge. Be sure to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a freshly baked croissant from one of the local cafes or have crepes in the park from a friendly Parisian vendor.
Your main safety concerns are going to be against pick-pockets and thieves, who have a variety of schemes such as showing you a magic trick that involves tying a string to your finger that distracts you and leaves your hand stuck while someone takes your wallet. Someone else might offer you a ‘friendship band’ or a ring and then ask for money. Pick-pockets often work in tag teams and will catch you on the subway or on crowded elevators. Do not wear a purse knapsack unless you’re wearing it backwards on your chest unless you’re looking to get rid of your valuables quickly. If you’re determined not to be robbed of your valuables, keep your important things on your body beneath your clothes and carry a fake wallet to thrust at people if you should have a chance encounter with a more violent fraudster. This is rare though as crime in Paris is largely non-violent. If you visit the Pigalle neighborhood, known for prostitution and Moulin Rouge, don’t buy drinks at seedy bars without checking the menu prices first or you may wind up with a bill for several hundred euro for your seemingly harmless cocktail.
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