My first day in Paris was pretty overwhelming…and to be honest, a blur.
I was pretty anxious about getting off the plane when I landed at 7:35AM. Having skipped the dinner and breakfast provided on flight, I was hungry for a fresh and buttery croissant. My plan was to get my luggage, get on my car, and go-go-go. Unfortunately, my excited self had forgotten that an iPhone had been left in a seat pocket on the plane…oops. I scrambled around the arrival area, looking for someone to talk to. The lady speaking over the intercom in, literally, incomprehensible French (for me anyway) made my panic even more. Then, I encountered a 6ft-5 officer (I should mention that I’m only 5ft-2). Was I suppose to tap him or what? He would never see me with his line of vision. So, I tip-toed…thinking that would help, and said “excusez-moi, monsieur.” He then replied in, well, incomprehensible French while I stood there, eyes widening, just staring at his face. So in the end, I had to use English haha
Once you’ve picked up your luggage, the first thing you should look for is maps. I actually have four different maps of Paris right now, and all of them have come to good use. I would suggest getting, at least, a metro map and a city map. They should be two separate maps. For me, I found it useful to have a map that included the metro and city streets as well. If you’re looking to familiarize yourself with particular districts, I would also get the small booklet that includes maps of all the districts. This one has been very useful as well, for me.
I’ve never loved jet lag so much before! Waking up at 6am and walking along the Seine river (tourist-free) is the best way to start your Parisian experience. My parents and I (my bro is way too lazy to get up) all fell in love with how relaxing this routine is, and watching morning bikers and runners appear here and there. Early morning is also the best time to visit your local boulangerie (reviews coming soon) The smell of freshly baked bread (hello croissants!) in the morning, accompanied by the aroma of a nice cup of coffee….YUM. If that doesn’t make you get up in the morning, then I don’t know what will!
We were also lucky that our first early morning walk was a Tuesday… The day that the Louvre is closed! We got a completely tourist-free experience!! Everyone who visits Paris really should just get up on an early Tuesday morning to experience this. Completely calm and quiet, without the long tourist lines and hustling through the crowd. I think what I’m going to do next time is bring my buttery croissant and steaming cup of cappuccino here to really enjoy this kind of rare tranquil Parisian morning… We walked much farther the next morning and was able to catch a glimpse of Champ Élysées, but we stayed in the Tuileries garden for another nice walk.
So, take advantage of your jet lag while you can! Paris really does change throughout the day. I haven’t been able to stay up late enough to enjoy its nights yet, but for now, I’m pretty happy with waking up early and enjoying a tourist-free scene.