As you read this keep in mind we went about 10 years ago:
Everyone is telling you all the wonderful things about Paris but just
like life there is always some bad with the good. The bad would be the
children that approach you. They will pick your pockets and steal what they
can and run. They travel in gangs. You will not see the group at first.
They are brazen and I watched the Parisians and how they handled them. You
just have to be aware of them and keep them in sight. I saw one child
approach a woman in the city during rush and the woman reached behind and
gently but firmly guided the child in front of her as she was walking. We
got approached in front of the Louvre. One child approached with the old
newspaper out and hand under it. Next another child and then about 5 more
came up in a blink of an eye. My husband had an umbrella and pushed the
child away and waved the umbrella at them. They ran looking for easier
The positive is that the people are wonderful. We purchased a piece of
art from an artist who was working on the piece as we passed. He came to
our room when he was finished and invited us out for drinks. (Beware -- The
wine is wonderful but potent...at least it was for me). We stayed at the
most wonderful place called the Purple Violet which was a small hotel on a
side road in the mist of the city. It was the cheapest place and best on
our whole vacation (Scotland, England and France). We found it when we got
off the airplane at the airport. They had a computerized display where you
select the area of the city you want to stay in, the price range you want to
pay, etc. A person at the desk then handed us the print out with directions
(of course we got lost but the people were so patient and helpful...even the
ones who could not speak English. I would like to see more of us Americans
be as patient with non speaking strangers!!) We spent one night walking the
whole city. Just do not walk behind the President's residence. We did and
were greeted with ozzies (spelling?) pointed at us. No one stopped us until
we were right behind the residence. We were just walking and thought we
found a cut through!!
Be sure to have your money exchanged as soon as possible, if not before.
We spent one day walking looking for a place to exchange. Be sure to eat
in the local restaurants more than the tourist ones. Food is "to die for"
and the people are open and friendly. More so than in the tourist
Enjoy you will have the time of your life. Take a Kleenex when you
visit the Impressionist collection housed in a separate building by the
Louvre. My husband and I both had wet eyes as we left. It was a very
moving experience. Take pictures of the graffiti...wish I had.