be a tourist! just buy a giude...
be a tourist! just buy a giude book and spend a week doing everything. besides seeing the obvious sites like the eiffel tower and notre dame, see the pantheon and explore the crypte: they have lots of cool dead people like voltaire. and also go to les invalides and find napoleon's horse.
Sit in a park and watch the world go by.
There is a little park next to Notre Dame on the Seine. It is a great place to go with a baguette and a yummy pastry from one of the local patisseries and eat your lunch. There are toilets there, too. I believe they cost 2 francs.
Mind Your Manners
It is often said that Parisians are rude...I have never met a rude Parisian.
What is most important in Paris is etiquette.
DO NOT try to speak anyone before greeting them..."bonjour, monsieur/madame"...after that you can ask a question and you will most likely get more help than you expected.
It is also helpful to learn the phrase "do you speak English" in French.
This lets the local know that you are at least interested in trying to communicate in the language.
Most everyone speaks some English in Paris these days...so learning French is not a necessity. But using the simple greetings... Bonjour or Merci (thank you) au revoir (goodbye) will make you less of an "ugly American".
A small Paris/French dictionary is also useful in deciphering menus!
The french has a reputation of...
The french has a reputation of being rude to forreigners. This is certainly not true for Paris. If you don't speak their language, just learn a few phrases and use them when you want to speak with someone. Most of them will try to help you even if they don't speak english.
Deserted corridors of the Louvre...
You're probably wondering if there is such a thing as a deserted inch of floor in the Musée du Louvre. Well, there is, and not only at night or on tuesdays (closing day).
First, download a floor-map of the museum on the website (www.louvre.fr under "Louvre pratique").
Now, here's a list of rooms where you'll be left alone to meditate on the definition of a masterpiece:
- Denon entrance, entresol, Northern European Sculpture. Look at the quality of the wood in the sculptures.
- Denon entrance, entresol, Coptic antiquities. To get there, you'll have to cross the pre-classic Greek anitquities department (don't mind the smell, the sewers are a few centimeters under you, if you touch the stone floor, you'll notice it's warm). Before you turn right into the Coptic department, notice the "Milet Torso". A masterpiece. Totally ignored by the average tourist, it's the idol of every female art history student of the Ecole du Louvre.
People usually visit the first room of the Coptic department, then turn around. The "real stuff" is donwstairs, after the "voile d'Antinoe", and there you'll be alone again!
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