Tips for going to Paris
Hey everyone. I am going to Paris for a few days in March. It will be my first time. Language-wise, what are some tips that will help me look -less- like a crazy American?
There are many places in Paris to wander. My advice it is to take metro "Edgar Quinet". Here you find many small creperie and sushi bars. Go to Rue de la Gaite. You wil find many interesting things there and if You want to go to cabare - Babino is the place. The other good place to see and to drink is rue Mouffetard. It is close to Panteon and at the evening (every evening of the week) it full of people and there are many bars pubs. At Sunday morning at the end of the street (the far edge from Siene) there colorful dancing party with very nice french music
I remember my friend telling me that waving to a friend with my big smile was sure to give me away as being American.
Haha!. Yeah I have heard something similar... Also talking in a loud voice will set you apart, I hear. I have also read that you should always use your manners in stores and shops. Saying "Bonjour Madame" and "Au revoir Madame" and "Merci"
True. I lived there as a missionary in the early '90s before cell phones really took off. If we used someone's telephone, we would always leave some money for the call. Thank yous and thank you notes went a long way. Use your good manners is really good advice. I found the French people to be kind and hospitable. Be prepared for the bisou. I imagine that it might be odd for an American male. We women in general tend to be a little kissier. Do eat a few pastries for me while you are there :)
Oh yeah, Pastries are a must. I have been warned about the kissing hehe. It won't bother me. My soon to be wife lived there for a summer, and most of the advice I have been given is from her. Thank you so much for the advice.
Lucky you! Such a great opportunity, feel the envy of everyone learning French here! :P What helped me out in Paris (before Duo) was having a phrasebook with the sentences spelled out the way you'd pronounce them, and also saying "Merci beaucoup", "S'il vous plaît", "pardon" - and "Parlez-vous anglais?" when in doubt.. About the whole "crazy American" thing, look at how other people are behaving. Just being polite and interested will get you far. Have a nice trip!
I have been to Paris three times--all B.D. (Before Duolingo). My high school French (forty years' rusting) got me through most situations easily. Unlike the stereotypes some hold about the French as unfriendly and arrogant, I found everyone Paris gracious: happy that I was trying, and sometimes succeeding, to speak French with them. Politeness goes a long way here, as it does most places, so "Merci," "Bonjour," "Pardon, Madame," etc. are good to use. One thing I do recommend is eating at neighborhood bistros and restaurants, buying bread at the local boulangeries and pastries at the local bakeries. You will not be disappointed. We have never bothered with the well known restaurants or guidebook recommendations. We settle into a neighborhood (last time it was near L'Odeon) and eat within a few blocks. We have never been disappointed. Bon voyage!
Dress as nicely as you can for the day's activities-- sweatpants, windbreakers, and sneakers are a dead giveaway, but make sure your shoes are comfy as you'll probably do a lot of walking.
The food is amazing so try as many things as possible and don't waste your time with fast food chains.
Yeah I have heard that people in Paris dress as nicely as they can get away with... I grew up in Alaska, and I live in Florida; so my wardrobe is mostly shorts and T-shirts... I may have to get a few darker, nicer outfits for the trip. Thank you so much for your advice!
I lived and studied in France last year. Some of my French classmates told me that wearing white socks is a giveaway that you are American. I've definitely seen sneakers on the street, but not really running shoes in shades of white. Bensimon is a French brand with Converse-style shoes that is very popular and comes in many colors. You can find them on Amazon or other online stores. I tried on a pair in Paris and didn't find them comfortable at all so YMMV.
There is a comedy show in Paris called "How to become Parisian in One Hour" that plays 4 times a week. This clip shows his advice on how to dress and about shopping there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxTb2rbfscA.
Don't forget to see pigalle and blanche avenues :) it is completely alive place at night! Might because of many strip clubs and sex shops;D
I recommend to see a Montparnasse's view at Paris as well, especially when the sun sinks below the horizon!
If I was in your shoes, I'd love to see Sacré-Coeur place and Montmartre around but it's sooo better to see those at mornings. Magic vibe is there.
Amusez-vous bien a Paris! :)))
I've been to Paris three times (but only once when I was actively learning French), and my advice is to not be afraid to try the language! However, I will warn you - if you're good enough, you might fool a local into thinking you're fluent, and they'll treat you as such. When I went to buy a bottle of water at a station, I asked for it in French - and promptly got a very fast sentence fired back at me because the store owner thought I could speak it properly! My blank look must have been rather bad, since she then repeated her request in English....
:) Make sure you try, but don't feel disheartened if the Parisians simply speak too fast for you!
EDIT: Also, if you want to avoid the 'crazy American' stereotype, just don't speak too loudly. Most American tourists I've seen who earn the ire of the locals are the ones who talk at twice the volume of everyone else in the room/area!
Thank you so very much for the advice! I am somewhat soft-spoken, so I should be Ok as far as loud talking goes. I get annoyed at people here in the U.S. for speaking loudly as we do; so I will enjoy some quiet café experiences.
For being "normal" in Paris, don't speek to people and don't smile ;-P.
More seriously, I love walking at the edge of the "canal saint martin" or inside the "marais" neighborhood. After, it's depends the way that you want to see Paris :).
A tip, the French LOVE when people say "Bonjour", "merci", "s'il vous plait", "au revoir" even if they don't.