Every year, nearly 46 million visitors will walk the narrow cobblestone streets of Paris, and when you live in the City of Light, you sometimes feel like you are personally responsible for about half of them. That may be a slight exaggeration; but it is true that when you live in one of the most visited cities in the world, everyone you know will want to visit at some point. And you’ll find that once the spring season has begun, your spare couch will suddenly become the busiest hotel in the city.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love this city that I now call home, and I take great pride in showing it off. However, I’ve also learned a few things about being a host in Paris and what it takes to make these visits successful.
Here are my five top tips for surviving the annual spring deluge of guests. And your guests will all come in the spring, because, let’s face it — only the most heartiest of relatives will brave the winter cold or summer heat of this city.
1. Don’t overbook yourself
Hosting visitors can be really fun, especially when you have a city as amazing as Paris to show off, but make sure you don’t stack your guests’ arrivals one on top of the other. When there’s so much to see, being a tourist can be exhausting, and you will need time to recharge your sightseeing batteries in between visits.
2. Trust your visitors
This is the one I’m most guilty of, as I tend to have a natural urge to protect my guests from making the same mistakes I did when I was first learning how to navigate this city. However, it’s important to remember that making mistakes is half the fun of traveling; and more often than not, they can lead to the best adventures and discoveries. Therefore, always encourage your visitors to be as independent as possible. By all means, give them some basic instructions to get the process started, but then set them free. Who knows what they’ll discover along the way.
3. Take time for yourself
Parisian apartments are notoriously tiny. And, no matter how much you love your guests, sharing such a small space for any period of time can be trying for everyone. That’s why it’s important for you and your visitors to take time away from each other, even if it’s just for an hour each day. Your guests may have flown across an ocean to come see you, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking second together.
4. Budget accordingly
People don’t come to Paris to cook meals at home. They come to eat out and enjoy all that Paris has to offer. This is a good thing, because what Paris has to offer is pretty darn amazing, but keep in mind that being a tourist can be costly. When making room for your guests, remember to make room in your budget as well.
5. Keep up with your daily life
Life doesn’t stop just because you have guests in town. Emails will still need replying and phone calls should be returned. Try to warn people that while you are a host you may be slower to respond, but do stay on top of things at the bare minimum. This will make your re-entry back into your daily life much less overwhelming, especially after your guests have left and you’re faced with an overstuffed inbox.
These are just a few little tips to help keep both you and your guests happy while you have visitors in Paris, but above all else, the most important thing is to have fun. Enjoy your time with your friends and family, and relish your time as host in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I know I do.