The Arc de Triomphe
Whether you’re visiting Paris for the first time or if your knowledge of the city, the country, its culture and its people is a little rusty, doing your research could lead to you having a much more enjoyable time in Paris, as well as improving your chances of meeting locals by making the right type of impression.
One of the first lessons many people learn when spending time in Paris is that meals take longer, both in their average duration and the relaxed attitude of serving staff. Choosing to embrace the extra time it takes for the bill to arrive by taking more sips of wine, chatting to your partner or people-watching at the cafe should help you avoid feeling rushed or standing out as an impatient foreigner.
It should go without saying that learning some basic French is also extremely useful, as you shouldn’t expect everyone to be an expert in English. While a high level of French is rarely expected from foreigners in non-professional situations, if you don’t know how to say ‘hello,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me’ or to understand some of the core aspects of menus, you may stand out not only as ignorant but also as disrespectful.
Considering your appearance and dressing like the French do is another useful way of adapting to the country, especially in Paris where style takes on a greater meaning. To the layman or anyone inexperienced in the finer points of fashion, French clothing may seem indistinguishable from that of most other countries, with a prevalence of T-shirts and jeans in the summer. However, closer examination will usually reveal that French ‘casual’ clothing is a little more formal and considered than what usually passes in Britain and the United States. Locals are more likely to judge you on your attire there, so always dress to impress.
If you’re hoping to avoid the tourists to see a more authentic side of Paris, visiting the city in the winter or early spring should help you avoid the queues, though you should be prepared for inclement weather. As well as making it easier to fit in with the locals, you may also be able to benefit from cheaper rates, even when staying in prestigious locations like the hotel Trocadero Paris. Also, when visiting between November and January, you’ll have the chance to see popular Parisian entertainments firsthand, like the ballet and theater shows. Enjoying these classic French pastimes certainly, make you feel like a local.
writer by Jesse Wallace