Paris, Honestly: What You Should See and What You Can Skip

When it comes to international tourism arrivals, France blows away the competition and takes the No. 1 spot. Of the 80-million-plus people who travel to the country, it’s a virtual certainty that a majority of them are there to spend some time in the legendary capital, Paris. The numbers shouldn’t be any detraction, however. You can still visit Paris on your own terms, but it helps to know which of the tourist sights are actually skippable, which ones are worth the wait and where the best alternative attractions are.

A little bit of research within your own specific areas of interest – whether it’s coin collecting, fashion, a certain historical period, etc. – can help you find lesser-visited sights. But to get started, here’s our honest guide to what’s essential and alternatives to sights that are bigger headaches than they should be.

Skippable

Champs Elysees [Paris, France]
Shutterstock
Champs Elysees | The boulevard that stretches from the Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe does provide a famous view, but it’s become lined with stores you can find anywhere and tourist-trap restaurants that mostly want to charge you an arm and a leg for anything you want to order.

The Louvre [Paris, France]
Francesco | Shutterstock
The Louvre |  It might sound like borderline heresy to direct anyone away from this massive institution of the arts, but the city has so many other worthwhile museum options – often without the huge lines and elbow-throwing crowds.

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Gina Czupka

Gina’s first solo trip abroad, at age 16, changed her life. Since then, travel has been her passion and it’s her mission to convince others that they really can make travel a part of their lives. These days, she seeks out destinations where she can indulge her taste for adventure and shop for additions to her textile collection. Some of her favorite experiences from recent trips have included eating bun cha in Hanoi and feeding hyenas in Ethiopia.

Gina’s Favorite Travel Tip: When traveling abroad, learn enough of the language to be polite (hello, thank you, goodbye) and to shop and haggle (numbers and colors).

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