Learn the public transportation
Our biggest mistake during our few days in Paris was not learning about the train system at all before going. When we arrived, we realized we only had an address and no idea how to get there. We dropped some serious money on a cab when we could have saved big by understanding the public transport better. So do your wallet (and legs) a favor and learn how to use the trains before you go.
We rarely stay in actual hotels anymore because we want to feel as though we've lived in a city or country during time there. You just learn so much about the culture. In Paris, I learned exactly how it feels to live in that beautiful city during a record heat wave. I learned how small many studio apartments are. I learned that most Parisians don't have air conditioning. I learned that apartments open up to shared courtyards and you can hear EVERYTHING in the neighborhood. Would I do it the same if I could? Hard to say. Would I trade that experience? No way.
Eat Local...at basically no risk
If ever a place to eat local, it's Paris with all of their small cafes, bakeries and cheese shops. Many Americans shy away from cheeses that are sitting out all day long, but this is how they have been prepared for centuries. It may seem odd or unsafe, but we fell in love with these unique flavors and wish we could find such amazing tastes back in the states.
The Eiffel Tower
Paris wasn't really on the way to anything during our travels, but we really wanted to see the the Eiffel Tour. To be honest, I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations. It lived up to them and more. It is a truly amazing structure that is awe inspiring. Vendors even come by in the evening with food and wine for purchase if you didn't bring your own. All that said, it is also the location of the least pleasant bathroom experience that either Michelle or I have ever experienced. Are there other options nearby? We sure didn't find them.
With one of a kind masterpieces, the Louvre did not disappoint. The one thing I strongly recommend is arriving early (opens at 9am, closed Tuesdays). No matter what time of year, you are going to encounter crowds at the Louvre so be sure to be there at the open and hit the most popular sites first. Hopefully, you won't have dozens of people in your way and you can take your time exploring other areas of the museum as the people flood in.