No doubt, Paris ranks in the world’s most visited cities. We all heard of it as a city of romance, beauty, and art. We also heard of rude Parisians who are often unfriendly to tourists. Foreign tourists, to be precise.
This is my fifth time in Paris, and I must say that I can’t even count on one hand any negative experiences with its inhabitants. I am always, I repeat, always treated nicely and with respect. Why is that?
I do a couple of things that make me rock. Maybe three things, actually. Here they are:
1. Try not to look like a tourist.
I am not saying that I am pretending to be a Parisienne, but I kind of blend into the crowd. I always try to wear clothes that make me look good. Something like for a casual day in the Western city. A little bit of elegance won’t harm either. A stylish scarf or nice pair of shoes usually do the job. And if you really want to take it to another level, wear a well-fitted coat. Of course, you’ll do this in colder days and if you happen to visit Paris in the summer, you can always wear a casual suit jacket or anything else, that’s slightly elegant and matches your style.
Despite famous Parisian chic, there is something about tailored coats. People seem to go crazy for them. Wear a nice, well-tailored coat anytime you need to sort out some logistics like visiting your bank or city council, libraries etc. And just observe how people react.
2. Speak French.
Hahaha. I know, east to say. Well, I am not suggesting to sign up for French lessons before you visit Paris, although, it’s not a bad idea. I only advise learning at least a few courtesy words such as “Bonjour”, “Merci Beaucoup”, “Au Revoir” and “Pardon”. This is an absolute minimum. Ideally, you want to also learn how to order a coffee, ask for directions and count to ten. Learning these words will take one day, maybe two… and I can promise you a rewarding experience.
3. Be polite and smile.
I realize that I don’t reinvent the wheel. This is a basic and sound advice which applies all over the world. Nevertheless don’t underestimate Parisians on this one. Maybe they don’t always smile, but who does in most of Europe anyway? This continent is definitely not the most ‘smiley” place on earth. Be polite, respectful and considerate. In other words, just be nice! At the end of the day, you’re visiting one of the most beautiful human creations in the world! Why would you not smile?!
And most importantly, give people a break! Living in a big city can be stressful, as we know. Use these tips and you’ll be fine anywhere in world’s metropolises!
And back to Parisians… I truly believe that they’re friendly. Paris has the well-deserved opinion for being an amazing city, but at the same time undeserved for the rudeness of its people. And the more good news is, that Parisians are more aware of it now and try to change it. They even released a tourist guide for Parisians of how to welcome visitors from different parts of the world. Waiting for other European cities to do alike!
Smile. Paris is always a good idea!