The Dos and Don’ts of Paris

Paris itself may always be a good idea, but not all ideas in Paris are good ones! Whether you’re planning on moving to Paris or simply visiting for the weekend, there are certain things you should be aware of in order to fully enjoy your experience. Here are some of our ‘dos and don’ts’ when you’re in the French capital:

Don’t fall into the trap of taking the métro everywhere. Of course, the métro is a wonderful invention that makes everyone’s lives a lot easier, and on a day to day basis it is indispensible. However, this doesn’t stop it being quite an unpleasant place to spend your time, what with the throngs of stressed commuters and confused tourists, and the questionable lingering odours. Do make the most of Paris and stroll through its picturesque streets. This is such a famous activity that it sprouted its own verb ‘flâner’, meaning to wander aimlessly, which is intrinsically tied up with images of Parisian boulevards.

Don’t set your heart on one location when house hunting. Sure, you’ve always imagined yourself in a little Haussmannien flat nestled in Saint-Germain, but depending on your budget and availability the reality might be quite different.  Do be open minded and explore some different areas, for each corner of Paris has its own charms, be it the shabby chic of Belleville or the polished façades of the 16th arrondissement.

Do take advantage of Paris’ café culture, where your espresso buys you the right to linger for as long as you please whilst taking in the scenes around you. After all, there is no better place to people watch than in Paris. But don’t forget your basic politesse with those serving you, a simple bonjour and s’il vous plait goes a long way with the Parisians, who will return the favour and maybe even treat you with a smile!

Do make sure you visit the typical tourist spots; they are famous for a reason, after all. Notre dame is undeniably impressive, and few things compare to the view from the steps of le Sacré Coeur. However, don’t spend absolutely all of your time hanging around Montmartre and the Champs Elysées – Paris has a wealth of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered in its more offbeat neighbourhoods such as the Canal St. Martin.

Don’t buy everything in supermarkets; you’d be insane to miss out on Paris’ many food markets, which, on top of providing delicious fresh produce, are much kinder on your wallet. What’s more, they’re a perfect opportunity to practise your French whilst discovering a little more about French gastronomie by having a chat with your fromager. Le marché des enfants rouges, tucked away in a quiet corner of le marais, comes highly recommended for groceries and street food alike.

Speaking of food, do enjoy being in the culinary capital of the world! From haute cuisine in one of Paris’ many Michelin starred restaurants to a simple yet delicious baguette from the humble boulangerie, you’ll never go hungry in this foodie’s haven.

So now you know how to go about your Parisian adventure! It’s not hard to enjoy yourself in this wonderful city if you keep your wits about you. If you enjoyed reading this, you can find more of the same here, and don’t forget to consult our job offers for bilingual assistants in the Paris area.

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