Here are a few of Le Guidelines I discovered navigating Paris my first 5 days in the City of Lights.
1.) Don’t take your phone out on the Metro. It invites attention from people who are ne’er do wells.
2.) Don’t go to the ATM at night. It's not worth it.
3.) Pick pockets are not an 18th century European anomaly. They exist. Now. All around you. Hold your bag close to you. Never leave it open. Try to hide your valuables deep down in the bag. Keep a vigilant eye. Don’t let anyone walk too close to you, and if you get bumped – check your bag.
4.) Subway doors don’t ALL open on their own. Sometimes, if no one is there to move them, you gotta switch the lever by yourself. Go on. You can do it.
5.) If you have Orange, and you have a phone plan, wifi doesn’t connect automatically. You have to call 225, and then get a new password (via text) to reset each time.
6.) Speaking of Orange, when you get your new SIM card, make sure that you are not responsible, at the end of the transaction, to activate your account. Orange helpers only do so much, and never consistently. Often voo doo is involved.
7.) Some streets have addresses with the same number. Meaning there might be two 5's, or two 220's, and so on. The way French streets let you know if there are more than one address numbers is with "bis" - so the second five would be "5 bis."
8.) Most streets have blue name signs on the walls of buildings. Not at eye level but above, close to the first floor of the building, to indicate the street name and the arrondisement. This is helpful for location purposes, or if you get turned around.
9.) Each subway line has one dedicated platform. Pretty awesome. So you won’t mistakenly get on the wrong train at right platform, but you might take the right train in the wrong direction.
10.) Speaking of "right train, wrong direction," learn the direction end points for your routes, both going home and leaving to your destination. These names will serve you well. Even if you can’t pronounce them.
10a.) If you do get on the right train in the wrong direction, most stations will let you stay inside the terminal, and redirect to the correct direction. So just try to see if you can find another platform before you give up, go outside, and re-enter with a new ticket.
11.) Hold on to your metro ticket! Each time you take the train, keep your ticket on hand for your ride. Don’t throw it out until you leave the station and don’t confuse it with other tickets by jamming it in a pocket. Sometimes, there are 6 controllers at the gates, and they will want to see THE EXACT ticket that you used to get into the Metro, and if you cannot produce it you'll get fined 40$ on the spot. Once you leave the station, throw that ticket out pronto. (Trick: once you pass your new ticket through the turnstile, make a little tear in it).
12.) Some turnstiles only have "navige" access, which is a purple pass and something you probably wont need. Just avoid those turnstiles and the dispensing machines that only provide Navige passes. Basically, purple is the not color you want on the Paris metro. It's like EZ-pass, but for people who are on the Metro all day long.
12a.) When you do buy tickets, you want "full fare" and "carnet"
13.) French phone numbers start with "0" when you are calling within France. But if you are calling internationally, then you drop the zero, add the country code, and dial out. Boom. Welcome to the world.
14.) French cashiers really like exact change. It's not like in the U.S., where paying with a $20 bill isnt a big deal. Try to have change with you when, at least, you make small purchases.