Emma Killick wrote about her favourite Paris art galleries in The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide. This is her beginner’s ‘Before you go’ introduction to the city.

The Handbag Guide

The Metro Buy a book of Metro tickets (“un carnet”) at any Metro ticket window or machine (around €12 for 10 journeys).

Avoid the Paris Pass and the Paris Visite unless you are going to be zooming through museums and using public transport at a joyless rate.

 Museums Only buy the Paris Museum Pass if you plan to visit the most popular museums because it lets you skip the queues but won’t necessarily save you money. Order in advance and have them delivered before you leave at http://en.parisinfo.com.

Parlez Francais Parisians aren’t rude, you just need to try a little French. Bring a small phrasebook, use what’s generally written on the first two pages, and say it with a smile.

 Thirsty? To drink like the French, only have milk with your coffee before noon, after that it’s espressos all the way. Have an aperitif before your meal. Try a pastis (the collective for all aniseed-based drinks), a kir (white wine with a dash of blackcurrant), or a kir royale (champagne instead of white wine).

 Hungry?  “Le menu” is the daily special not the menu (that’s ”la carte”). Often written on a board or on one side of “la carte”, it is a cheaper way of trying a few courses (and taking the guess work out of ordering). If there are certain things you aren’t keen on eating (duck stomach, anyone?) and your French isn’t good, learn the words for food you don’t like, rather than trying to learn everything you do. (By the way the word is gésiers.)

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