As an aside before I get into this week’s post:
In the last few days the news of the horrific terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo and in Paris have been on everyone’s mind, especially those who are planning to travel to France. The people in France have rallied together to denounce this with “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) and vigils at Place de la Republique. So is France safe? I have always thought it was and I still think it is. The attacks were not on tourists and this video shows the solidarity amongst the French as they mark a moment of silence. It is very moving. Je Suis Charlie.
This week’s post will be a bit shorter but still, with helpful information and tips.
This Week’s Post
Now that I am planning my next trip to France for the Spring, I am reminding myself of the things “to do” and “not to do”….lessons learned, so to speak. Here are some of these lessons I learned and perhaps they will help you when you are travelling, whether it to be to France or anywhere else:
Don’t Pack In Too Much For A Week’s Stay:
If you decide to take a course (ie. French language), the course will likely take the whole morning or most of the afternoon. This leaves you with only a few hours in the afternoon to do homework and touristy stuff. That isn’t a lot of time left, particularly if you are only in the town for a week. Therefore, stay longer than a week if you can. Even though I was in Paris and Montpellier for a week each, only having the afternoons and evenings left just wasn’t enough time to do all that I wanted to do, such as sit at a café and watch people go by.
Bring along a charger that can charge more than one device. In another post I will be highlighting the various electronic devices that I use. I found myself constantly plugging and unplugging devices into the one travel adapter that I had.
If you are going to walk a lot in Paris (and you will), pack GOOD shoes. Orthotics + crappy shoes + running in 20 km race + walking 9 hours a day = stress fracture. I am still recovering 2 ½ months later.
Hours Of Operation
Check the opening/closing times and days when popular sites are CLOSED. Yes, in France a lot of museums are closed on Tuesdays (ie. Louvre and Musee de l’Orangerie for example are closed on Tuesdays but the Louvre is open late on Wednesdays and Fridays until 9:45 and nighttime is a sublime time to go there!)
No Complaining In 2015
On a final note, I read a wonderful article in the Globe and Mail today (“Stop Whining and Enjoy Your Trip Already”) about NOT complaining about travelling and I encourage you to read it too.
For those who decide to travel to France….or anywhere….we are are very fortunate to be able to do so. So I agree that for 2015, no more complaining when I travel….not about eating too many croissants, too many pastries, walking too much in Paris, or not being able to understand someone who is speaking French to me. I am grateful to be travelling to such a great country.