Friday, July 22, 2011

10 Random Things About Paris

10. The French are not rude - I'm not sure why so many people claim the French are rude. The only plausible explanation I can come up with is that these are the people that went to France with a cocky American attitude. Walking up to a French person and saying in English, "Do you speak English?" is no more acceptable than if they came to America and said to you, "Parlez-vous français?" When speaking to French people for the first time always start off the conversation with, "Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?" If you do this you will most likely be rewarded with for your efforts.

9. Waiters don't rush you - Unlike here in America, the waiters don't bother you very much. There's no, "Is everything okay? Do you need a refill?" every 5 minutes. The French actually think its kinda rude to continually interrupt someone's meal to check on them. The beautiful thing is that just because they don't bother you doesn't mean they aren't around. As soon as you need something or look like you need something they will come right over to help you. 

8. No tipping - At restaurants the tip is already added into the price of the item on the menu (and so is tax). If you use a credit card there's not even a space for a tip on the receipt. So don't feel bad for not leaving a tip, but if you must leave a tip 1 or 2 euros will work fine.

7. Counting on your hand starts with the thumb - So if you want two of something hold up your thumb and first finger.

6. Parisian subway - The Paris subway is a beautiful thing. It is cheap, convenient, and way better than using taxis. Don't let the language barrier scare you, just dive right in and try it. Or actually before you go and try it read the Paris Metro Guide.

5. T
axes are added into the cost already - If something says 5 euros, it is 5 euros. I wish we could do that here in America. Everything is also usually rounded up to the nearest 50 cents or euro, which helps you from getting stuck with lots of loose change.

4. Everthing is expensive - Due in part to the generally bad exchange rate a dinner for two at a cafe can run you $70USD pretty easy. I would avoid shopping in France for anything you can get at home if possible because of the bad exchange rate. 

3. Macaroons - Macaroons are sort of like puff pastries with a gel filling. The two most well-known places for macaroons in Paris are Pierre Herme and Laduree. You got to try some if you go to Paris.

2. No high-pressure sales - Street vendors, homeless people, sales people at shops, waiters - I didn't experience any up-selling or high pressure sales techniques. The French are very laid back, which comes from the "today is as good as it gets, don't worry about tomorrow" attitude. 

1. The touristy things are the least enjoyable - Large groups of people are generally awful to be around. Getting stuck on a Seine riverboat cruise with a bunch of German teenagers, and being in a room at the Louvre with 200 people shoving each other to get close to the Mona Lisa is not my idea of a good time. I'd much rather people watch at a cafe or walk through a quiet park along the Seine.