Travel Tips from Locals in Your Fave Cities
Paris, France – Ryan Arbilo
Paris, France, has, and will continue to be a favorite destination for avid wanderlusters. A timeless city known for chic designer boutiques and a buzzing café culture, Paris’ iconic cityscape spliced by enchanting avenues and the River Seine will never get old. Besides popular attractions like the Notre-Dame cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, Paris is a city that is not afraid to push creative boundaries. As the global epicenter for fashion, cuisine, art, and culture, being at the heart of it all would be an experience beyond exciting. Ryan Arbilo runs a gallery only five minutes away from the Eiffel Tower, and is the first international Filipino photographer to exhibit at the most prestigious museum of photography in Paris – the “La Maison Européenne de la Photographie.” Having lived in Paris for the past fifteen years, he shares practical tips for holidaymakers planning to visit the ‘City of Lights.’
Before you go
Before you go to Paris, you must be aware of the weather first. For example, if you visit during winter, a coat and heat tech clothes are a given. For spring and fall, however, you should still pack a couple of light sweaters. As for summer, Paris can be just as hot as tropical countries – reaching highs of 42 degrees Celsius. Being able to adapt to the weather here is super important.
Must do’s and must see’s
Being that Paris is the international center for art, among other things, you should consider visiting some of the famous museums here. These are my recommendations: The Louvre Museum, L’Orangerie Museum, Orsay Museum, George Pompidou Centre, Quai Branly Museum – Jacques Chirac, Grand Palais, and Petit Palais.
What to be aware of
Paris, in general, is a safe city. However, travelers should be mindful of some things – as they should when visiting any new country. Travelers should be aware of pick-pockets and occasional strikes in public transport like trains.
Traveling on a budget
For exchange rates, always compare places where you can convert currency. This is because there are different commissions in different places – for instance, the highest commissions are taken from currency exchange branches at the Champs Elysees, whereas the best exchange rates are found in Opera or in Chatelet. If travelers want to send money via an ATM, I advise that you use MoneyGram, PayPal, or Western Union as they don’t have taxes. Also, avoid touristic places to eat, like in front of the Eiffel tower or anywhere in Place Trocadero.
How to get around
The best ways to get around in Paris include Metro, bus, and RER (train).
Best foods and places to eat
There are so many places travelers can go to for delectable food. My personal favorites when it comes to this are Chatelet – an avenue located in the heart of Paris that has pretty much everything for everyone – and Le Marais – a fashionable district filled with galleries, boutiques, and cafés.
If you’re not one for super touristic sites, and you want to experience something equally interesting, then these places are for you. There is Pantin – a commune in North-Eastern Paris that has many cultural/historical/art sites to visit, including some interesting parks like La Villette. As well as this, there is also Vincennes. This commune offers a lot of things to do like in Pantin and even has a zoo at Bois De Vincennes – its urban park.
Best time to visit
Paris is excellent all year round, but from June to September is a particularly great time to visit.
The Philippine Embassy in Paris arranges a bunch of activities every month, and there are Filipino groups here that help lift your spirit whenever you’re feeling lonely. There is a Filipino store in Paris’ 16th district, and also a Filipino restaurant near the Nation train station.
Ryan Arbilo runs a gallery only five minutes away from the Eiffel Tower, and is the first international Filipino photographer to exhibit at the most prestigious museum of photography in Paris – the “La Maison Européenne de la Photographie.”
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