Embarrassing Blunders to avoid in Paris

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Every country has their own qualities and habits. As tourists or visitors we should try to adjust to their culture and appreciate the fact they are different to the ones we are used to in our own country. We shouldn’t be so ignorant and uncouth and expect the locals to adjust to us  – the tourist – but rather we should try to fit in with the locals. Otherwise you might as well holiday in your own country.

As we are going to Paris in just a few weeks, I decided to look into the Parisian culture to avoid any embarrassing blunders!

  • Seating yourself in a restaurant

    When you arrive at a restaurant, avoid seating yourself at the first available table. It is customary to wait for the waiter to seat you. Of course you can usually request him to seat you at a specific table should you feel the need.

  • Using the folding seats in the metro

    In Paris it is extremely offensive to use the folding seats near the doors of the metro, especially during busy periods. When space is scarce and people frown at you it’s time to get up from those folding seats. If you choose not to you will be regarded as a poorly educated Frenchman or viewed as another uncouth and insensitive tourist.

  • Loitering in dangerous districts at night

    Especially late at night, try to avoid most suburbs in the north, east and some parts in the south of the city. Also remain cautious in the areas around the Metro stations Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, Stalingrad and Chatelet-Les Halles. The area around the Porte Dauphine and Bois de Boulogne (street prostitution) have a bad reputation.

  • Drinking beer in tourist traps

    If you must drink beer on the Champs-Elysees, the Place du Tertre, or other tourist centres you will usually experience a nasty surprise. The prices for alcoholic drinks like beer and wine will be quite hefty, sometimes reaching three to four times the prices of other non-touristy places.

  • Falling for the compassion trick

    Around the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe you will find people who will tell you they are tourists who got robbed of their money and credit cards. To get back home they will ask unsuspecting tourists for money and in return offer alleged branded clothing. If you really fall for this than nothing will or can help you.

  • Eating pizza

    Yes there are exceptions, but generally you can expect the quality of these tourist favourites to be questionable: Often the dough is to soft, the pizza to oily and often times the ingredients aren’t even the right ones. Only few are ever prepared in a wood-fired oven and the pizza tend to be very expensive. Instead visit a Creperie or even a good sandwich shop if you are not intending to go out for big meal.

Surely there are more than these. Let us know in the comments.

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