Before travelling abroad, it is always good to do your research. That way, you’ll be sure to see everything worthy of a visit, avoid unnecessary trouble, and know what to do should you have any problems. In the pre-internet era, travel guides were one of the best sources for all this information. Here’s the advice one gave to British people eager to visit the French capital in 1830:
1. Be careful of being out in the streets after the shops are closed, nor prolong your stay at the Cafe, or Restaurateurs till you are in danger of describing something more than a straight line in walking to your hotel.
2. Never join a crowd in the street, nor answer the questions of those who stop you at a late hour under pretext of enquiring the time,—the pickpockets of Europe are not confined to London.
3. Ask some French friend to shew you the morgue in the morning, and to give you the history, —you will never pass the quays after dark.
4. Always notice and remember the number of the cabriolet or fiacre which you may hire, even when you have not any thing with you which you are in danger of leaving behind.
5. Never make an unnecessary display of your present riches in a Cafe or other house of entertainment.
6. If you have lost your road, enter some respectable shop for the purpose of making the necessary enquiries; you will always be politely directed. If, with this precaution, you cannot readily find your way home, and no coaches are at hand, request the master or mistress of the house or shop to allow some one to conduct you—a franc is often well bestowed on such a guide; never, on any account, make these enquiries in the street or at a public-house.
7. If wantonly insulted or molested in the street, knock the party down (if you can), and, in nine instances out of ten, you may walk on without interruption.
8. Be careful that the charms of your blanchisseuse (washerwoman) do not cause you to neglect the necessary inspection of your linen on its return from the wash—changes are not always for the best.
9. Beware of purchasing dearly, cheap bargains at the perambulating shops which infest the Boulevards.
10. Never be tempted to enter the gaming-room, even out of curiosity; many a young man has been ruined by “only just taking a peep to see how they play.”
11. Pay your bill at your hotel weekly.
12. Talk not of politics in France, it is not political.
13. Leave every thing under lock and key when you go out.
14. Be cautious of forming indiscriminate acquaintances, even with your own countrymen, in France.
15. If you are a man of large fortune, do as you like; if not, dine not at Very’s, and be content with apartments on the third or fourth story of your hotel.
16. Make your purchases for home at the best shops,—they are the cheapest in the end.
17. In travelling post, be cautious of answering or accepting the offers of advertising companions.
18. Always carry your passport or license of residence in your pocket.
19. Make a point of seeing the following places before you quit Paris :—
The Interiour of the Tuileries,
The Exteriour of the Morgue,
The Chamber of Peers,
The Chamber of Deputies,
The several Fountains,
The Hospital of Invalids,
The Cathedral of Notre-dame,
The Garden of Plants,
The several Gates of Paris,
The Flower and other Markets, especially the Corn Market,
The Place Vendome,
All the Bridges,
The Catacombs (if not of a nervous habit),
The Canal de ‘Ourcq,
The Floating Baths,
The Swimming Schools,
The public Libraries,
The Deaf and Dumb Institution,
The Blind ditto,
The Museum of French Monuments,
The Luxembourg Gallery,
All the Theatres,
Some of the Balls,
The Porcelain manufactory, and a thousand other things, which the preceding list is sufficient to make you acquainted with, though it seems a paradox.
20. Recommend this little Manual to all your friends and acquaintance.