Are you planning to visit Paris for the first time? This ultra-romantic city is a must-see destination for many vacationers and travelers of all sorts. But before you head off for your overseas flight, here are a few things you should do to get ready.

Learn Some French

It's always a good idea to learn at least a modicum of the local language when visiting foreign countries. But in France, it can make the difference between an okay time and a great time. The French pretty much expect to exchange a few pleasantries before settling down to business, so if you haven't made any effort to share a few thoughts in their language, you may find the locals to be cold or off-putting.

Look for a French teacher who will help you get up to speed fast, focusing on conversational French, travel phrases, and French culture. Focus on getting in lots of practice time using what you learn. 

Research Your Favorites

There's a lot to do and see in this ancient city, so be prepared with a handy list of a few personal favorites that you want to be sure to see. The Eiffel Tower, for example, is a very popular destination, but you don't want to arrive when the elevator is not operating or miss the sparkling light displays on each night.

Once you get to the city, you may find yourself overwhelmed and confused--especially if you haven't traveled to a country that speaks a different primary language--so that's not the time to decide what you'll see and how you'll get there. Do it before you leave, making use of resources like the internet, guide books, acquaintances, and your French tutor.

Catch Up on History

Americans may not always be well versed in European history, but the French capital is steeped in it. Freshening up your knowledge of European and French backgrounds will help you converse intelligently and enjoy the sights even more. From medieval times to World War II, you'll find a lot went on in France that affects people around the world. And your trip to the Louvre or the Palace of Versailles will take on new meaning. 

Learn the Scams

While many people are concerned about terrorism in Europe these days, it's actually petty crime and scammers that you're more likely to fall victim to. Many street level scams are common and have the same characteristics. With a little research in books and online, you can brush up on what to keep an eye out for, how to be more aware of trouble in crowded situations, and how to protect yourself from thieves and con artists. 

Taking the time to learn these few things before getting on a plane will help ensure that when you touch down in this breathtaking city, you'll have the time of your life.