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

Continued from previous page

Peace and Love Hostel

ABOVE: The Peace & Love Hostel may be groovy (and we'll bet the brownies are fantastic), but it's a long way from most sights and attractions.

Mistake #3: Staying in the wrong arrondissement

Paris hotel signParis is divided into 20 arrondissements, or districts. From a tourist's point of view, the most desirable districts are those near the major sights, museums, and attractions. A hotel in the outer reaches of the 12th, 17th, or 20th might offer cheaper rooms than a more centrally-located hostelry, but you'll pay for your savings by spending more on Métro, RER, or bus tickets.

Even in the central arrondissements (the districts numbered 1 through 9), some locations are less convenient than others. For example:

  • The 7th arrondissement is popular with American tourists, who are drawn by the Eiffel Tower and a clutch of hotels that cater to U.S. travelers and tour groups. However, for overseas visitors arriving from Charles de Gaulle Airport, the 7th is harder to reach by public transportation than the 9th (Roissybus) or areas of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th that are within walking distance of the RER "B" Line's Châtelet-Les Halles and St-Michel stations.

Of course, there are times when it makes sense to stay outside the city's core , if you're familar with Paris and have a reason for choosing a less central location. Here's a case in point:

  • photoMontmartre (18th arrondissement) and the area of the 10th around the Gare du Nord are a Métro ride or a long walk from the Seine, but they're extremely convenient for rail travelers who arrive on Eurostar or Thalys. If you're a British, Belgian, or Dutch tourist who's coming to Paris for the weekend, you may prefer to book a room within walking distance of the Gare du Nord (read our Montmartre hotels article) and rely on public transportation to reach the sights.

For help in choosing a hotel location, see "Where to Stay in Paris" and our Paris transportation articles. 

Next page: Mistake #4: Commuting from the suburbs

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 © José Quevado Flé.