Paris Do’s and Don’t

Paris is known as the city of love. Everyone wants a piece of Paris or “Experience Paris.” Paris has a unique relationship with tourists. Paris is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. But it’s also a notoriously tricky place not to be disregarded if you break one of the city’s implicit rules or deep-rooted traditions.

You can fall into Paris’ more easy going lifestyle — local neighborhoods, markets, and eateries. You can also travel to Paris without being dismissed and dissed. And it’s much easier to find Paris’ secret gems.

Here are some of the things I learned when traveling to Paris:

DO: Learn the language a little bit. Never underestimate the power of language. Try to learn the basic French words and statements. It is always considered respectful if you use their language when communicating.

DO: Use pleasantries such as “bonjour,” “merci,” and “Au Revoir” when walking out of the store, a tourist attraction, or a cafe/restaurant.

DO: Understand that it is a French custom to exchange a light kiss on the cheeks in social situations. Men share handshakes.

DO: Expect a long meal service. The French love their leisure time. It may take a while for your orders to come, so be prepared to wait between courses and enjoy taking time as part of the French culture.

DO: Wear comfortable clothes. Wear jeans but never with rubber shoes. Go with heels, flats or boots. Sweatpants, fanny packs, or flip-flops should be out of the question.

DO: wear neutrals, monochromes, and accessories. Appearing effortless and not too dramatic.

DO: Carry change and cash. Some places don’t accept electronic payments-especially if you’re buying a small piece of croissant off the street.

DO: Research where you should go and expect long queues for places like Eiffel Tower. Do your homework!

DONT: Don’t insist on using the terms beyond your reach. It might sound off or rude to the locals.

DONT: Engage in small talks. French people don’t like mindless conversations.

DONT: Eat near a popular tourist attraction like Notre Dame or the Eiffel tower if you’re saving. These restaurants are often overpriced and passable.

DONT: Open your laptop and work in restaurants and cafes where people are leisurely dining. But if it’s inevitable, Do order a good amount of food and drinks to avoid the “French eyebrow of disgust.”

DONT: Constantly check your phone or leave it on the table. It can be unsafe and socially unacceptable, especially with a local guest.

DONT: Ask for ingredient changes. Whatever ingredient is used in a meal (of course) is how chefs must serve the food. It is rude to have the “onion” removed from a dish and swapped with something else. If there are ingredients that you can’t eat, avoid the food entirely and order a different one.

DONT: Take out your food. This isn’t America.

DONT: Emily in Paris might be chic, but a kooky combination is frowned upon in Paris.

DONT: Wave your valuables for pickpockets to see., especially if you visit tourist attractions.

Follow the laws so your trip will be easy and breezy. Don’t fall for the “touristy” trap. Ignorance of the law excuses no one. Also, enjoy Paris as Paris, not the ones you see on TV but the smell and the ambiance that Paris showcases. It is one experience you should include on your bucket list.