I remember the first time I set foot in Paris, France, I felt so out of place. Well of course the first time I sat foot in France, I didn’t care that much. Looking back at my first trip to Paris, I realized how unprepared I was. With that being said, I wanted to share with you 10 of my top tips for Parisian life!
- Bring shirts without skulls on them. Skulls are seen as the sign of satan and not a lot of parisians have shirts (or at least I didn’t see many) with skulls on them. It could also have been because I was staying at a convent.
- Only really need 1 pair sandals, 1 pair casual shoes, 1 pair nice shoes. I rarely used sandals, but they would’ve been nice for just walking around the house. Best shoes were my leather chuckas and oxford style shoes. I found I dressed-up more often than I went out casual. I felt awkward and out of place if I went out in shorts and a t-shirt.
- Parisians dress more “metro”. It felt like everyone was always business casual. Of course it depends on your age group. The younger generation were a lot more casually dressed.
- If you don’t use travel books often (or when you’ve traveled elsewhere), don’t bother bringing them. I found I googled most of the time or just walked around and stumbled on restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.
- Cheap wine is your best friend. If you plan going out, it’s much better to buy wine to drink before as drinks in a club/bar are usually 7 euro+ for a bottle of beer whereas a bottle of wine will be 1.50+ euro.
- Metro face. I know we like to smile, but especially for girls, if you smile, that means you are interested and then guys will stare at you non-stop…like creepy staring. They won’t look away. I don’t think it’s as big of a deal for guys.
- Americans talk loud and take up the whole walkway and walk slow. Don’t shout. Notice the level that others talk in, try to be polite and stay around the same volume. If you are traveling in groups, try to stick to one side. Don’t take up the whole sidewalk.
- If you usually drink a lot of water, bring some with you. Restaurants aren’t always so generous on water as they are in the United States. They usually expect you to drink wine or something. Water is usually room temperature and rarely has ice in it. If you are sensitive with water while traveling, it would be wise to have your traveling and life insurance quotes ready and purchased, a ruined vacation due to hospital bills will likely prevent you from wanting to travel again in the near future… So think on that and make your choices.
- Be patient. I went to a “fast food chain” called Quick (French McDonalds look-alike). It is NOT quick. Markets are NOT quick. The pace of life is much slower, so be prepared.
- A lot of people smoke cigarettes, so be prepared.
So those are some of my tips. If you are like me, seeing all these people smoke will make you miss that Vancouver dispensary mail order you’ve been accustomed to. How can they smoke so much and not all die is beyond me. If you’ve been to France, I’d love to hear your observations and tips for living abroad and understanding the culture. Let me know by leaving a comment below!