Things to do – and not to do

A peaceful garden in the morning at Versailles / Korea Times photos by Jung Min-ho

By Jung Min-ho

PARIS ― Paris is one of the world’s top travel destinations for good reason. From remarkable museums to excellent cuisine, the City of Light must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

But some things should be avoided to make the best of your experience there. Here is what to do and not do as a tourist.

Try random restaurants

Today we live in a world full of restaurant reviews. But don’t be obsessed with them in Paris. There are many restaurants relatively unknown but surprisingly awesome.

This is not one of those games that you can play in any city. But in Paris, a failure does not mean the food is awful and your money is wasted. In most cases, the food is still good and lesser-known gems are not difficult to find.

One of the gems I encountered was Abri, a place where customers can have a meal worth hundreds of euros for less than 30.

A dessert that tastes like heaven at Abri

Except for ramen places

Have you ever tried ramen in Japan? Whatever your answer is, avoid eating the noodle dish in Paris. Surprisingly, there are many ramen places in the French capital. But most likely, you will find it mediocre and overpriced.

Musee d’Orsay is a must-see

The Musee d’Orsay houses the world’s finest collection of Impressionist masterpieces.

Art fan or not, the place will keep you interested with all the familiar paintings you have probably seen somewhere in your life.

If you like Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne, this may be the place you would want to visit more than once.

Looks familiar?

Mona Lisa is not a must-see

Unless you work at the Louvre, it is almost impossible to truly enjoy Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece: the Mona Lisa, which is acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.”

You wouldn’t argue with “the most visited” part once you enter the room to see a throng of people taking photos and selfies with a smile like Mona Lisa.

There are nearly 35,000 art pieces in the museum, and you do not have to follow the crowd.

Climb the Arc De Triomphe

This is the place where you can get the best views of Paris.

The arch stands at the western end of the Champs-Elysees at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. From there, you can see some of the city’s most famous architecture, including the Eiffel Tower.

The best time go to the panoramic terrace is when the sun goes down, which paints the whole city a pale yellow.

A panoramic view of Paris

Don’t queue for Eiffel Tower elevators

Queuing for the elevators at the Eiffel Tower is one of those things that locals would never do.

Don’t get me wrong. The tall iron tower is one of the world’s most photographed structures for good reason and the views from its second floor are great. The place is worth visiting and climbing.

But pre-book your ticket online before you get there so you don’t have to queue to buy it.

Otherwise, expect hours of waiting.

Don’t leave wallet in back pocket

But whenever you have to queue somehow, don’t stand there with a wallet in your back pocket.

Pickpockets exist in every major city, but if you are a foreigner near the Eiffel Tower, the chance of being a victim of the crime is not so low.

Pickpockets know many foreigners carry large amounts of cash, so they operate around popular tourist attractions, where people get distracted taking photos.

Spare one day for Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a royal palace with gardens built by King Louis XIV located just outside of Paris.

The Hall of Mirrors, which contains 357 mirrors and the largest garden of its kind in Europe, are some of the highlights you can see there.

It’s grand, gorgeous and definitely worth a whole day trip away from Paris.

Champs-Elysees is good for walking but not for eating

This is one of Paris’ most tourist-loving areas, where you can always expect to see many foreigners shopping around.

It is often referred to as the “most beautiful avenue in the world,” and it truly is beautiful.

With a plethora of French and international brands, some shopping-lovers may find the area the most attractive of all.

But try other areas to have a better, cheaper meal after your shopping.

Meet artists at Montmartre

I captured some of the most lasting images of Paris at Montmartre, where Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque used to live.

Try walking on the hill like they once did, and meet other artists who aren’t famous yet, but may be one day.

Artists at Montmartre

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