Paris


It is difficult to resist the Paris, France’s charms. Over sixteen million people visit the country’s capital yearly and totally agree with that fact. There are so many different places that draw their attention, including the Louvre museum, the famous Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame cathedral (which is now under repairs after a huge fire in April 2019), the Sacré-Cœur, as well as the Musée Rodin, and the Centre Pompidou, along with Saint-Germain, and of course the Seine (be sure to see it at twilight). Eat like the French people do by going to the places beside the Bastille at Chez Paul, take a walk along the Coulée verte René-Dumont, as well as take some Instagram pictures of all the street art you find within the hilly area of Butte-aux-Cailles. If you want more ideas on ways to see Paris just like you were a local resident, such as when you should exchange la bise or tips on using the Métro—then keep on reading.

Ways to Say Hello

Begin correctly by using good manners and saying, “bonjour,” which means hello in French. It’s polite to use this greeting for introductions, as well as to greet shopkeepers, restaurant waiters or waitresses, or even out and about or riding an elevator. You may think that’s too much to do, but if you want to get integrated with the local people, it’s vital to do this and you will also get treated better and get more attention. At night you should officially say “bonsoir,” which means good evening, but it’s rather confusing as to what time of the day to begin using this term. It is normally used right at the start of evening, but once summer hits that could be pretty late. Actually, a few people begin to use this term right after their workday is finished, so a good choice would be to start using bonsoir about 7 pm. If you use it at the wrong time, you could fast be known to be a visitor to Paris.

La Bise

It’s proper to exchange la bise, which is a light kiss done on each check, if you are in some sort of social situation. Both men and women use la bise and it’s fine between two women or a man and woman. However, don’t use it with two men. In that situation you should shake hands. The French men don’t exchange la bise with one another except between family members or very close men, and even in those situations it is not done often. It is best to allow the French individual to lead you in the la bise, that way you won’t end up being too awkward in figuring out where to put your lips or heads. You need to use the same amount of kisses that they do, for instance, normally that is one kiss on each cheek, but some people and some areas do it in different ways. Be sure to shake hands if you get introduced to someone in a official business context, as well as with shopkeepers, or a concierge, except if they approach you and want to exchange la bise.

What should you wear?

If you want to blend in with the local residents, you should forget about wearing things like sweatpants or baseball caps, as well as leave behind flip-flops or white tennis shoes. Paris residents normally are very fashionable; however, you don’t have to wear excessive fancy clothing, but you should wear what’s called casual chic. You will probably notice the women in Paris wear a mix of skinny jeans with some sort of designer blouse, as well as ballerina flats or Converse shoes. People in France also enjoy blazers and trench coats, as well as long scarves, so wearing those will assist you in fitting in. Don’t wear a fanny pack or huge backpack, as that marks you as a tourist. If you must use a backpack to carry you things, then try to be discreet about it. Another choice is to buy a quite Parisian Longchamp bag, or a good quality purse made of leather or a stylish bag meant for a man. Finally, if you are thinking about getting a beret, you should not wear it in France unless perhaps you plan to play petanque with senior citizens of course.

Ways to Get From Place to Place

Paris is an example of a town you see the best from walking, especially since there’s always an adventure around the corner. It’s also a good idea to ride the Metro, and it’s also the fastest method of travel. You can buy a ticket from a machine at each station, either one at a time or a book of ten. Each Metro line is a different color and number, so it’s pretty simple to figure out which one to use.  You can even use the RATP website to plan a trip, or you could download a map of the city’s metro system and keep it on your phone to use as needed. You also find taxis everywhere in Paris, however, if you really want one it is a good idea to schedule it ahead of time using places like Taxis Bleus or G7. You could also consider Uber or ladies can use Women Drive, a service only for women.

Ways to Talk and Walk

Paris residents stroll purposely, however, that doesn’t mean running all through the town. Instead, the locals stroll steadily and with a purposeful pace.  It is a good idea to keep to the right while on the sidewalk, as well as if you are on an escalator. However, if the street is crowded, that rule could be out the window.  If you have to glance at your area map. Then step to the side and don’t remain in the middle of the walkway or you are likely to get some evil glares, huffing or pushes by the other people around you. Unlike a lot of stereotypes, the locals in Paris are soft spoken. It’s not polite to talk loud if you are in public. It makes you noticeable as a visitor and you could get unwanted attention from thieves.

Paris Language

It is polite for you to learn several chief French phrases and that will get you some respect from local residents, as well as assistance when needed. As we said previously, using a friendly greeting of bonjour is vital. Additionally chief phrases are “merci,” which means thank you, as well as “au revoir,” which means goodbye, along with “s’il vous plait,” which means please or “l’addition,” which means the bill. Always greet the shopkeeper with a cheery bonjour and even if you don’t purchase something, or stay only a couple minutes, be sure to tell them “Merco” as well as “au revoir,” as you leave the store. What shouldn’t you do? Don’t yell for the waiter via the use of the word, “garçon!” That likely will cause him to be very slow at bringing you the check.

Famous Paris Attractions

In this town full of historic attractions and cultural sites, it can be hard to decide on where to go first in Paris, France. Famous monuments seem to be everywhere, so what should you see to start? Everyone wants to go to the Eiffel Tower or the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, even though it’s closed for repairs after it suffered a fire last April, you can still see it from a distance. However, you likely should also consider seeing more than just the usual tourist attractions everyone already knows so much about.

The following are some of the other sites in Paris, France that you should go see during your visit:

Louvre Museum

The Louvre is the top visited museum worldwide. In 2018 a record number of more than ten million people visited this museum after Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Apeshit” music video premiered, which was performed in the Louvre. Inside this iconic building is examples of ultra-famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa and her famous smile. You can’t come to Paris and not visit the Louvre. Plus, if you stay at the luxury accommodations such as the Mandarin Oriental in the First Arrondissement or the Ritz Paris, the Louvre is quite close by.

Luxembourg Garden

The Luxembourg Garden is a real gem in Paris, and it acts as a break for the local residents, as well as visitors. You can watch folks stroll by, have a nice picnic, take a walk, or have a great time reading a book while seated in one of the many chairs scattered around the garden grounds. No matter which activity you pick, be sure to allow enough time to enjoy the peace and quiet. If you decide to visit it a lot, you could get a room at the Relais Christine, a fantastic accommodation a mere ten minute stroll from the gardens.

Palais Garnier

If you love outrageous luxurious properties, then don’t miss out on visiting Versailles. Charles Garnier built in during the 19th century. It’s an opera house build in the style of Napoleon the third. It has has elaborate frescoes and gold-plated chandeliers that are so awe-inspiring it will make your mouth drop open.  And since this huge construction prompted a lot of rumors and strange happenings, it is no surprise that the Palais Garnier was the inspiration Gaston Leroux used when he penned The Phantom of the Opera. To go along with the opulence of this place, you may contemplate taking a room at the Ritz Paris, which is close by and it is just as dazzling.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

You may not think of a graveyard when you think of famous places to see, but this one holds the remains of famous people such as Oscar Wilde, along with Édith Piaf, and James Morrison, as well as Frédéric Chopin. It’s a place you really should take a walk through. Stroll around all its cobblestone sidewalks and stop to pay some respects to these famous folks.

Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur)

The Sacred Heart or Sacré-Coeur is in Montmartre on the top of the hill. It has a fantastic view of the city of Paris that’s worth the hike. It is a Catholic church, but it is also a vital political location. You can tell that by the statues of figures on horseback like King Saint Louis IX as well as Joan of Arc, which are on either side of its main door. You can stay at the Hotel Particulier Montmartre and be able to see what else this area has to offer. It is priced pretty reasonably in comparison to some of the other hotels in the city.

Tuileries Gardens

In between the luxurious shopping selections in the First Arrondissement in between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre museum is the lovely Tuileries Gardens, a 55-acre facility. The well-kept grounds are great if you want to go for a jog in the morning and there is also a fairgrounds area with huge slides games, food and even bumper cars, which are features in the summertime. A great place nearby to stay is the Hôtel de Crillon. The west entrance to the garden is right across the street from the hotel.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

The LVMH Group opened this museum in 2014. While new, it’s already a part of the Paris museum tour. Designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry, a famous architect, designed the museum. Its fantastic exhibits are in both the modern and contemporary genres. It’s a quite popular place to be in Paris! It will take you a while to walk there as it’s in the northwestern section of the 16th Arrondissement. However, it won’t take as long if you decide to get a room at either the Four Seasons Hotel George V or the Brach Paris. Either way it is worth the hike.

 

Jason Peterson

My name is Jason Peterson and I caught the travel bug during my time traveling the world in the Navy. I am super fortunate that my wife and I can now travel together and share our knowledge, hacks and tips with our friends and readers. Never hesitate to reach out with suggestions or questions. jason@howtotravel.info

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