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Old 01-03-2017, 12:59 PM
 
2,143 posts, read 3,557,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
nobody under the age of 60 does that any more.

I went to Europe many times, been to notorious Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Naples, Prague etc., and never lost a dime. And I always put my wallet and cellphone in the pockets. You just have to be a bit alarmed about your personal belongings when travelling. But I lived in China for 22 years so that probably helps.

A money belt would look ridiculous and screams "American tourists" (maybe Rick Steves recommended that thing).
I've used one the last couple of trips over to Europe. Granted mine isn't a belt per se, but I guess you can call it a neck wallet of some sort. You wrap it around your neck and have it under your clothes. Better to be safe than sorry, just b/c we haven't had any experience of getting pick pocketed doesn't mean the next person will have the same experience.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:00 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,872,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerFall View Post
I'm going Paris and Prague in May of next year. I have never been to either place, and I'm excited! Does anyone who has been to either place have any tips?

Also, people keep telling me that people in Paris do not like Americans, and will be snotty to them. Is this true? I'm trying to pick up some French before I go, hoping that will help things. Any other tips?

And as for Prague, I read on another thread to be careful of pickpockets there. Any other tips for Prague?

Thanks so much for any tips or suggestions you may have
Enjoy!

I've been to both, Paris several times. Even a few basic French phrases will be helpful. A few tips for Paris:

-Assuming you will go to the Louvre, enter via the Porte des Lions. There will be no line, and you will enter right near the fantastic Easter Island statue that many visitors miss.
-Say hello when you enter a shop and goodbye when you leave.
-Be ready for some long meals. Lunch and dinner are typically 2+ courses & coffee in France. They are not rushed.
-Use the metro. It will save your feet & is super-efficient.
-Parisians are not snotty, nor do they dislike Americans. But Paris is a big city & the French tend generally to be more reserved than Americans.

And for Prague:

-Don't order beef. Just don't. Beef is typically cooked somewhere between well done and burnt in Prague.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
I haven't been to Prague but I have been to Paris many times.

As others have already said, make an effort with speaking French. It will be appreciated!

If you plan to visit museums then buy the museum pass. That can help you bypass queues.

Paris is very walkable. If you do need public transport then the metro is best.

Be street smart with your belongings and try not to look like a tourist. Leave your passport and other valuables in the hotel safe and only carry one credit card and enough money for the day.

Generally, Europe does not like American Express cards and prefer Mastercard or Visa. It is quite common for stores and restaurants to not accept Amex.

Prices are 'what you see is what you get'. Unlike in the USA, tax is included so if an object is 20 Euros then that is what you pay.

You do not need to tip 15%-20% in restaurants and bars. The general rule of thumb is to round up. So, if your coffee/drink bill is 5.60 Euros then just leave 6. If your restaurant bill is 77 Euros then just leave 80. Nobody will object if you don't leave anything.
I generally agree with this. You don't need to tip at all in bars, restaurants, or cafes in Paris. I don't usually get any museum pass when visiting a city.

Pack as light as you think you can, then pack a little lighter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DomRep View Post
Buy a money belt if you can
I wouldn't. I keep a wallet in my front pants pocket. Women who carry purses may consider slinging them across the body for a little extra precaution against snatching.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:04 PM
 
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I liked Prague much better than Paris. I've been there several times already. Paris was dirty, Prague was much cleaner and I always felt safe there.
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:39 PM
 
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Paris is a much bigger city than Prague.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:04 PM
 
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Whoever said wearing a money belt will make you look like a tourist -- are you confusing a fanny pack (which is worn on the outside and indeed screams "tourist") with a money belt? The latter is worn inside your clothes and out of sight, so nobody will see it. I've used them in past, and they're actually not the worst thing to have if you don't want to leave anything in the hotel safe, though nowadays given the prevalence of free use ATMs and tickets that can be held as email messages, the need for them is less than before. Of course if you use one, don't go digging into it out in public, which defeats the purpose of using it -- keep the money you need for the day in a wallet in your front pants pocket instead.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
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I've been to Paris twice now, and the last time was on our honeymoon last year.

Parisians will speak English, so you don't need to know a lot of French to get by. But little phrases will be nice - even bonjour and mercie (btw, adieu has a super formal connotation to them, as if you're saying goodbye for the last time and you'll never see them again so I would not suggest saying that when you leave and want to say goodbye)

Agree 100% you need to say hello and goodbye whenever you enter a place (restaurant, hotel, etc.). Basic manners - they're free.

The museum pass (which is now called the Paris Pass with three customized options) is worth it if you plan on going to a lot on the list and are in the city for a while. Highly suggest making a day trip to Versailles. P.S., from Paris to Versailles, there's a quick way (20 mins?) and there's a long way (40 mins?) on the RER C that goes around through the outskirts of Paris. We took the long way there (daylight) and it was fairly nice to be able to see some of these areas, but took the short way back home at night.

We still had a difficult time with the tipping policies while there. Everything we read about said tip was not mandatory, but a generous tip was much more like 5% (or 1 or 2 Euros) than we are used to at 20% here. There is no line to even write a tip on a credit card receipt. However, some of the restaurants we've asked to add a couple euro on the bill and they were okay with it (later read that sometimes that tip does not go back to the server, so cash is always best). But on one of our last nights we went to a restaurant and the server said they could not add tip to the bill as it was not legal. So that confused us a bit.

For meals though, don't expect servers to come back and check in on you. They usually take your order, serve your meal, and then come back to give you the check. They like to give you time to eat and not be bothered. The portions are lighter and there is no "to go" box.

One last thing to mention, while I have not been to Prague, I have been to many other cities in Europe. I have realized that a lot of these European cities (Brussels for example) are not open on the weekend. Maybe some touristy shops, but a lot of business/shopping might be closed, but just double check ahead of time.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:28 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,872,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nginmyheart View Post
I've been to Paris twice now, and the last time was on our honeymoon last year.

Parisians will speak English, so you don't need to know a lot of French to get by. But little phrases will be nice - even bonjour and mercie (btw, adieu has a super formal connotation to them, as if you're saying goodbye for the last time and you'll never see them again so I would not suggest saying that when you leave and want to say goodbye)

Agree 100% you need to say hello and goodbye whenever you enter a place (restaurant, hotel, etc.). Basic manners - they're free.

The museum pass (which is now called the Paris Pass with three customized options) is worth it if you plan on going to a lot on the list and are in the city for a while. Highly suggest making a day trip to Versailles. P.S., from Paris to Versailles, there's a quick way (20 mins?) and there's a long way (40 mins?) on the RER C that goes around through the outskirts of Paris. We took the long way there (daylight) and it was fairly nice to be able to see some of these areas, but took the short way back home at night.

We still had a difficult time with the tipping policies while there. Everything we read about said tip was not mandatory, but a generous tip was much more like 5% (or 1 or 2 Euros) than we are used to at 20% here. There is no line to even write a tip on a credit card receipt. However, some of the restaurants we've asked to add a couple euro on the bill and they were okay with it (later read that sometimes that tip does not go back to the server, so cash is always best). But on one of our last nights we went to a restaurant and the server said they could not add tip to the bill as it was not legal. So that confused us a bit.

For meals though, don't expect servers to come back and check in on you. They usually take your order, serve your meal, and then come back to give you the check. They like to give you time to eat and not be bothered. The portions are lighter and there is no "to go" box.

One last thing to mention, while I have not been to Prague, I have been to many other cities in Europe. I have realized that a lot of these European cities (Brussels for example) are not open on the weekend. Maybe some touristy shops, but a lot of business/shopping might be closed, but just double check ahead of time.
The essential rule for tipping in France is: don't. Servers are paid full wages in France, unlike the United States. That's why you don't see a tipping line on credit card receipts. With unusually good service, feel free to give your server a couple of euros. But feel no obligation to leave anything.

I agree with pretty much everything else you say. Au revoir (O ruh vwah) is how to say goodbye. In France, specifically, Monday is a common day for restaurants and other businesses to close. That's less of an issue in Paris because of the sheer volume of options.

I would add that the Paris Metro is fast, frequent, and efficient--a very nice way to get to different parts of thy city and save your feet.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:10 AM
 
8,181 posts, read 11,902,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerFall View Post
I'm going Paris and Prague in May of next year. I have never been to either place, and I'm excited! Does anyone who has been to either place have any tips?

Also, people keep telling me that people in Paris do not like Americans, and will be snotty to them. Is this true? I'm trying to pick up some French before I go, hoping that will help things. Any other tips?

And as for Prague, I read on another thread to be careful of pickpockets there. Any other tips for Prague?

Thanks so much for any tips or suggestions you may have
Coincidentally, my wife and I are going to Paris in May as well. (We've been there several times previously as well.) We also just spent this past Christmas in Prague. I'm sure that you're going to love both cities.

With respect to Prague, there is a Czech tour guide named Janek who has a great series of YouTube videos that you should watch that are both very entertaining and very informative. Just search for Honest Prague Guide.
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Old 02-05-2017, 12:13 AM
 
8,115 posts, read 8,618,403 times
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I don't mean to hijack the thread, but someone mentioned appropriate dress in Paris.

I am currently experiencing a medical condition for one of my legs. The only pair of comfortable shoes that I can wear with this is a pair of old lady white sneakers. Will this be considered "gauche" or a fashion "faux pas." I would hate my feet to call attention to a naive ugly American making me a target for being pick pocketed or worse. But I also don't want to be in extreme pain and want to be able to walk around as much as possible. Suggestions?
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:50 AM
 
1,264 posts, read 2,150,324 times
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Paris is a big working city, there are people from all walk of life.

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