5 Must-Haves When Exploring Paris

I’ve been thinking a lot about Paris lately. Not only am I always trying to justify going back, but a coworker of mine just booked two weeks in Paris for her honeymoon in May. While thinking of the Must-See spots in and around the city, I kept thinking about the Must-Haves that every Paris traveler should be carrying with them. I learned some of these the hard way, but these five things will make exploring Paris easier and more enjoyable.

Paris Pratique par Arrondissement
This little booklet includes the best map of Paris that I’ve encountered. It makes navigating the city almost effortless. Wandering the city streets was one of my favorite Paris activities and, with the Paris Pratique, I was never concerned about getting lost. It also includes a map of the Metro lines, an incredibly valuable map when traveling across the city. You can pick it up at any street news stand for only a few Euros.

Passe Navigo (formerly Carte Orange)
The Paris Metro is so convenient, easy to use, and the fastest way to travel around Paris. While you can purchase single-use tickets, I wouldn’t think twice about getting a Passe Navigo. The pass can be purchased for a week or a month and the price varies based on included zones. When I was there, I found myself using the Metro several times a day. It was great to not worry about purchasing tickets or about how much I was spending each time I boarded a train.

A small, travel umbrella
Several times while walking through the city, I found myself caught in an afternoon downpour. While it was great to wait out the rain in a cozy cafe, most days were booked with sightseeing and walking through the rain was unavoidable. I finally got wise and started carrying a small umbrella with me at all times. The ones shown here are Slimline travel umbrellas from the Container Store, weighing only 7 ounces.

A collapsable, reusable tote
Eating in Paris restaurants can get expensive. Most days, we purchased bread, cheese, and produce from specialty markets and had picnics in the park. Having a reusable bag to hold our groceries was incredibly helpful. Each component of our meal was often purchased at a different store, so we looked to avoid the collection of plastic bags. Many of our meals were also spontaneous, wandering upon a pop-up market and wanting to try new things.

Travel hand sanitizer
While Paris is exceptionally beautiful, it’s also exceptionally dirty. We spent the majority of the day away from our apartment, visiting places and touching things thousands of others were also touching. Jumping on and off the Metro promised convenience, but also plenty of germs. And since most of our meals were unplanned and outside, having hand sanitizer was a lifesaver. Public restrooms in Paris are hard to find and most shops charge money for you to use theirs. So this was key for in between hand washings.