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Tip #638: When Traveling in France

Tip #638: When Traveling in France

On September 12, 2016, Posted by , In travel, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #638: When Traveling in France

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” Susan Heller

What I’ve learned from participating in a guided tour of France, in no particular order:

  1. make sure that you bring an adapter or two for electronics, because French electricity is 230-240 volts as opposed to American electricity at 110 volts
  2. expect small hotel rooms, and really small hotel rooms in Paris
  3. a towel on the floor of a tub or shower stall will provide needed traction
  4. say “Bon Jour” when you enter any shop, regardless of what the shop person is doing at the time
  5. tip 10% at restaurants, making sure it is in cash for the server because if you put it on a credit card all of the money will go to the owner
  6. make sure you bring water with you when you go for a walk if it is hot and/or humid
  7. grab fruit and croissants from breakfast to serve as a makeshift dinner for when you’re too tired to go out
  8. their pain au chocolat, which is a puff pastry with one or two pieces of dark chocolate in the center, is an especially delicious breakfast treat if you are a chocoholic
  9. expect cobblestones, so choose shoes appropriately
  10. take advantage of any restrooms you come across
  11. realize that restrooms may be unisex, even to the extent of sharing contiguous stalls in the same room
  12. don’t be surprised if the toilet lacks a toilet seat
  13. English is a mandatory subject in French schools, although the degree of fluency will vary with the French people you meet
  14. their bread, any kind of bread, is delicious
  15. if you prefer to save the expense of a restaurant or café meal, you can probably find a Carrefour (a large national chain grocery store) or a Monoprix in city centers
  16. if your stay will outlast your clean clothing and you either have no access to pricy hotel launderers or choose not to use them, you can use shampoo to wash underthings in the sink. Then: rinse them off; wring them out; layer them on a towel; roll it up, then walk on it to expel excess moisture. If you have a hair drier in the room, which you probably will, then use it to mostly dry your items and hang them up in the bathroom to finish drying overnight.
  17. you can get excellent prices for food (and often clothing) at farmer’s markets
  18. many stores are closed on Sunday and Monday
  19. watch your steps but don’t forget to look up- there are many statues, designs and other embellishments on most of the older buildings and homes
  20. plan to write about your daily adventures and email them to friends and family- this way you’ll have a record of your trip
  21. write your daily message in a Word document first and then paste it into an email- otherwise, if the internet goes down, you will lose what you have written
  22. place your mailing list in the bcc in your email and send it to yourself, this way people can reply without involving everyone else on the list
  23. at meals in eating establishments, ask for a carafe of plain water, which will be drinking water- French tap water is just fine now
  24. if you order “lemonade,” you will most likely be served lemon sparkling water, so make sure that is what you want to drink
  25. expect for restaurant meals to take 2 hours, with long lapses between drinks and entrees (and any other courses in the meal)
  26. the French enjoy their food, so they plate the food to entice the eye as well as the palate
  27. there are ancient buildings and bridges still standing that were erected 2000 years before Christ
  28. the French, particularly in Normandy, have a special place in their hearts for the thousands of US soldiers who died to liberate them from the Germans
  29. become familiar with the Euro coins, because it’s easy to confuse them
  30. make sure to build in a day or two on both ends of your trip to get over jetlag

And enjoy the experience!

May your learning be sweet,

Deborah

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