My recent travels took me over the English Channel to the city of light, home of the best cheese and finest wine, Paris. The perfect destination for sightseeing , indulgence and the ultimate shopping experience, aside from its delightfully fluffy pastries and questionably fashioned men, Paris caters for all and is certain to keep all visitors entertained, from the culture intrigued, to the fashion hungry - there's something for everyone.
What to wear
Sometimes, no matter how much you try and disguise - you will always be recognised as English; do not despaire however, there are always steps to guide you to save you from looking like a typical tourist; if you really pull it off, you might even convince people your middle name is Francois.
Firstly, comfortable footwear is a must. Despite the many methods of transport in Paris you should expect to walk a good few miles during the day and your Christian Louboutins just won't cut it - I suggest wearing your most comfortablest day shoes for exploring; trainers are regarded as the tourist's uniform however I will turn a blind eye if it is what you feel most happy in, other options can be sandals brogues or any other sensible flat shoe to ensure you won't be begging for a piggy back every five minutes.
The rest of you attire can be dependant on the weather and your mood; hot and sunny? Wear light clothes and make sure you smother yourself in sun cream to avoid burning; clouds disguising the sun? Opt for slightly warmer clothing but add a cashmere or cotton scarf with a jacket you can easily shrug off once the weather gets brighter.
How to get around
I found the easiest form of transport to cover as much Parisian ground as possible was the Metro, similar to London's tubes you can find your admiring Notre Dame and then eating a panini near the steps of the eiffel tower 10 minutes later. Like in London, Oyster Cards can be purchased to give you unlimited access over a certain amount of consecutive days; you can also buy a book of 12 tickets which I found used over the space of 5 days was more than enough.
Another great way to get around would be to hop onto one of the many sightseeing tour buses, which you can get access to from recognisable bus stops stationed by some of the main attractions of Paris, (Notre Dame, The Louvre etc). Of course you must indulge in some of the sightseeing by foot; you can't act like a true Parisian and get lost in the streets of Montmatre whilst on a bus so make sure you includet this on your trip.
How much spending money you take along with you is really a judgement call - before you go, breakdown all the things you plan to do whilst there. For example, travelling up the Eiffel Tower will cost you approximately €14 and 3 blisters (if you decide to brave the stairs.)
Ensure you consider the shopping you plan to indulge in whilst you're there - it is the fashion capital after all dahling! But as well as the deliciously expensive boutiques and high end brands of the Chans de lisa, don't forget to explore the vintage and quirky clothing stores of Montmartre just down the street from the Sacre Cour (although it's best to stay in a group when doing such shopping, when braving some of the shops in this area we found some were guarded by Rottweiler's and owned by gents wearing questionably toupees.)
Food in this fabulous city can be surprisingly good value - if you know where to go. You see how prices change as you explore the city, if you're sat in one of the most popular areas of Paris or find yourself in a cafe within touching distance of a major monument, expect to have an extra €10 added to the cost of your croissant, this conundrum is easily rectified however, simply gather your belongings and sidle past the snooty waiter back onto the streets of Paris and walk through the town, down the side streets and just take in your surroundings - you'll be surprised how easy it is to run into a delightfully reasonable bistro with delicious homemade food and a bill which won't leave you choking on your snails.
A final note on this charming city; whilst Paris is a fabulous place to get lost in, just ensure at all times that you keep your valuables safely tucked away out of sight. If you want to take your digital SLR camera to take some stunning city shots, don't wear it around your neck - keep it safe in its camera bag and wear diagonally around your body if possible to ensure you can keep a hand on it at all times, the same goes for your shoulder bag - only take out the cash you need for the day and keep the rest of your currency and valuables in your hotel room safe, not only will this ensure you have money left for a last minute Duty Free raid on the way home but if the worst happens which I hope it doesn't, you won't be left penniless on the streets of Paris.
Lastly, make sure you enjoy Paris. What I've learned from my trip is that not everything the city has to offer is in the guidebook so make sure you take exploring into your own hands and really see the sights of Paris in your own way, what's great about Paris is that no two trips are ever the same so take full advantage in being in one of the world's most exciting cities and really take in everything the city of light has to offer. Bon Voyage!