Phew! I must admit I've been a little behind with all of my travels but I am finally getting settled again and am happy to share the rest of my Paris and Rome recaps with you! I've listed out the top tips I think could be helpful to you. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line or comment below!
G E N E R A L T I P S
- DO try to speak the language! Even if you suck, a little attempt and a smile goes a long way. There wasn't one time where I didn't at least try to communicate in the native language and it wasn't appreciated by the poor soul attempting to understand my jibberish. They always laughed and 9 times out of 10 they will meet you halfway and try to speak your language, too. Be kind and patient.
- If you can purchase a ticket in advance--do it! It will save you time and sometimes money. It eliminates the risk of something selling out before you get there and have a chance to purchase a ticket.
- Keep your passport in a safe place at the hotel. Only carry a copy with you, never your actual passport, in case your bag/wallet is lost/stolen.
- Always check museum, sightseeing and restaurant times beforehand. I built a loose itinerary around the business hours of places I wanted to visit. Keep in mind that European hours are different than American hours and businesses don't stay open as late or on the same days. Lots of places are closed on Sundays AND Mondays. We could learn a thing or two.
- Be prepared (and patient!) for worker strikes. This may delay your plans but go with the flow and find something else to do until it's over. There's plenty to do and see--you're in Europe!
- Paris trains are AWESOME and took us everywhere. In Rome, the bus was the better option. The local Roman Metro didn't have a wide range of stops. Use TrenItalia if you're interested in regional travel to other cities within Italy.
- U N P L U G + H A V E F U N!
T H E e i f f e l t o w e r | p a r i s, f r a n c e
T I P S
- Purchase tickets in advance here to avoid long lines and scams. € 15,5
- Go early in the AM. Even with advanced tickets you have to wait for an elevator to go up and down. Although they run frequently they only hold so many people at a time and the lines can get long.
- Go all the way to the TOP and have a glass of champagne! Not gonna lie it was a little (very) scary if you have even the smallest fear of heights but it's absolutely worth it. I didn't think I would be afraid until I was halfway up where the tower gets very narrow--there's an entire elevator of people in there! It's worth it.
- Depending on the time of year you visit, prep for the possibility of it being much colder at the top of the tower. When I visited It was already cold on the ground level but it was FREEZING and windy at the top.
- The best photos of the tower are across the street or in the alley ways approaching/leaving the tower. The further away the easier it is to get the entire tower (and yourself!) in a photo.
- You don't have to go inside again but visit the tower at night with it's lights! It's gorgeous! Get some cheese, bread and a bottle of wine and sit on the Seine.
M u s é e d u L o u v r e | p a r i s, f r a n c e
T I P S
- Purchase a Paris Museum Pass in advance and use to gain entry.
- Go early in the AM.
- Determine beforehand which exhibits you want to see so that when you arrive you can map out your route.
- Grab a map from the help desk when you arrive.
- If the weather permits, eat lunch outside at the cafe tables.
- Go see the Mona Lisa!
C h â t e a u de V e r s a i l l e s | v e r s a i l l e s, f r a n c e
T I P S
- Use your Paris Museum Pass for entry.
- Take the train there. It's a fun little ride and the weekend we went the trains were all free to help reduce pollution and encourage public transit!
- Use the schedule suggested by Versailles on their website. They have a list of time recommendations for visiting each part of the Palace to avoid the crowds. Note that all of the palace isn't open at the same time so the guide really helps.
- As with all of the sites, go early.
- Plan to visit Versailles on a day where you're not visiting any other sites--you could be there for a while and it's about 30 minutes from Paris so take a day and don't rush.
T H E C O L O S S E U M | R O M E, I T A L Y
T I P S
- Purchase tickets in advance here to avoid long lines and scams. € 12,00
- Upon entry purchase the audio-guide--it's a hand held system (looks like a remote) where you can listen to facts as you go along. I preferred this option as you can go at your own pace and can hear clearly vs. following a large crowd and straining to hear a tour guide. SUPER TIP: Bring your own headphones! € 5,50
- After you tour the Colosseum, keep your ticket to gain entry to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum across the street.
- Do a little research on the history before you go. You will learn a lot while you're there but it will make it a little easier and less overwhelming if you know a little history beforehand.
- Wear comfy shoes!
- DO NOT: Take a photo with the "Spartans" standing outside. They will ask if you want to take a photo (omitting that there's a fee and ask you to use your own phone), then try to charge you € 20 once the photo is taken! Luckily my BFF and I have backbones and refused as he tricked us--we ended up giving him € 3 for the both of us to keep the peace.