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Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Paris
(and how to avoid them)

Continued from previous page
Eiffel Tower ticket line LEFT: Waiting in line at the Eiffel Tower.

Mistake #2: Arriving in high season

When planning your trip, consider these tourism statistics:

  • The Eiffel Tower attracts some 5.6 million visitors per year.

  • The Louvre, the Musťe d'Orsay, and Versailles draw another 12 million locals and tourists.

  • Disneyland Paris pulls in another 12 million.

summer tourist in ParisAnd guess what: A significant percentage of those visitors arrive from June through August. Figures from the Paris Tourism and Convention Office show nearly 2.5 million overnight visits by leisure travelers in July, compared to about 1.75 million per month in shoulder season (April-May, September-October) and barely over a million in January or February.

Hotel de Ville ice skating rinkBy arriving out of season and avoiding holiday periods like the week before Easter, you'll escape long lines at the leading museums and tourist attractions, you'll find it easier to get tables in restaurants, and you'll probably pay less for your hotel room or vacation apartment.

Of course, sometimes it's fun to be in a crowd. We once arrived in Paris on May 1 (an important national holiday in France), and we spent a pleasant evening strolling around the Latin Quarter among other couples who were walking hand in hand while clutching tiny bouquets of  muguet (Lily of the Valley), France's traditional May Day flower. The next day, the crowds were gone, and we could go nearly anywhere we wanted without standing in line.

Next page: Mistake #3: Staying in the wrong arrondissement

Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Paris:
1. Here, today, gone tomorrow
2. Arriving in high season
3. Staying in the wrong arrondissement
4. Commuting from the suburbs
5. Lugging overloaded bags
6. Sightseeing by the numbers
7. Booking unnecessary tours
8. Driving in Paris
9. Overspending on local transport
10. Being easy prey for pickpockets and purse-snatchers
11. Saying "Adieu" instead of "Au revoir"

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About our site, press clippings, and reader testimonials.

1st inset photo copyright © thehague.
2nd inset photo copyright © Arpad Benedik.