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

Continued from previous page

Paris traffic

ABOVE: A laissez-faire approach to traffic control in Paris.

Mistake #8: Driving in Paris

If you're intimidated by the thought of driving in Paris, consider yourself lucky: You'll save money, time, and stress by taking the Mťtro or bus and leaving the driving to Gus.

Motorcycle and car in ParisDriving is hard enough if you're a Parisian who knows the local streets--but if you're an out-of-towner, having to cope with a road system that incorporates medieval lanes, angled avenues and boulevards, and frequent roundabouts without lane markings (see photo above) will put you, your passengers, your car, and other road occupants at risk.

But avoiding crashes is only half the battle: When you've had your fill of Parisian traffic, you'll need to find a place to park your car. That can be a nuisance, especially if you lose a side mirror or you're obligated to pay damages to your car-rental firm after you've made the mistake of parking on the street.

Don't take our word for it--just look at these photos, which illustrate common Parisian parking techniques:

ABOVE: Note the squashed parking bollards between the the minivan and the car behind it.

Bidirectional Paris parking

ABOVE: Another nose-out parker, with the rear bumper jammed against a vehicle that's parked in the wrong direction.

Car parked against post in Paris

ABOVE: This parking example gives new meaning to the term "post traumatic stress."

Next page: Mistake #9: Overspending on local transport

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.

Top photo copyright © Sean Randall.
1st inset photo copyright © Jean Schweizer.