Monday, August 18, 2014

12 Ways Tourists Annoy The Parisians

The Local asked readers the top 12 complaints
that drive Parisians crazy:

1. Stop getting robbed
In other words, watch your money closer
and be more careful on the subways.
Keep your purse and pack in the front and wallets out of trouser pockets.
Apparently, our carelessness is giving Paris a bad name. 

2. Thinking no one speaks English
Be careful what you say in front of others
and don't assume the Parisians don't understand you. 

3. Stop with the Locks~ 
No one, especially the Parisians, is happy about the love locks
damaging bridges in and around Paris. 
Nor the keys tossed into the Seine. 
It's causing huge problems for the bridges and the river
so take a Selfie and post it on Facebook or email it to your friends
but keep your locks to yourself. 

4. Manners go a long way~
Saying Bonjour before asking for help or directions
is common practice among Parisians
so consider saying hello or Excusez-moi before launching into your questions. 

5. Metro etiquette~
There are several unspoken rules when traveling by metro:
Let others off before getting on.
Take off your large backpack and keep it on the ground next to you or between your feet.
Don't lean over others to look at the Metro map again and again.
Move back away from the door to let others in.
Keep your voice down while inside. 

6. Velib bikes~
These are meant to help Parisians (and visitors) get from place to place in a hurry.
If you want a group bike tour, find one online and schedule it. 
And remember to keep your Velib on the street
and not ride on the sidewalk. 

7. Learn the basics~
Everyone has told you when traveling to France
to at least learn a few phrases to start with. 
As mentioned before, Bonjour or Parlez-vous anglais? 
lets them know you're trying. 

8. Blocking while taking photographs~
Be mindful of blocking pedestrians and/or traffic while stopping to take your pics.
Yes, everything IS gorgeous but remember you are probably about the 
100th tourist they've had to step or drive around that week. 
Take care that you're not blocking someone's way. 

9. Table etiquette~
Sitting down at a table clearly set for lunch or dinner
and asking for drinks only will leave your waiter plenty surly. 
Or moving chairs and tables around to suit you 
can sometimes cause them fines from the Police
so ask first. 

10. Keep your voice down~
The French are a much more discreet lot
and when sitting in close quarters (as many of the cafes, metro and trains are), 
they don't appreciate our booming voices or laughter. 
Again, more manners than anything. 

11. Road hogs~
Apparently, far too many visitors insist on walking down narrow pathways
en masse. 
This seemed to be a common complaint
and can be easily rectified by walking in couples or single file
to keep oncoming traffic happy. 

12. Changes to the menu~
It's a simple thing in the US and most restaurants will accomodate us
but in Paris, it is again considered rude. 
Ask for substitutions at home
but when in Paris, try it the way the chef created it. 
Keep those chefs happy! 

Some of these seem pretty basic and maybe even a little whiny
but with 30 million tourists a year, 
I imagine some small slights
can become huge. 
Seems common sense mostly. 
If you're not sure what bothers your hosts,
do a little reading online about etiquette of your host country.
We appreciate it when travelers do the same for us. 

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen
Info via The Local)


  1. KIRSTEN! Bonjour!

    I am back to school for prep and meetings this week and I have no time for even blogging or exercising or anything! I saw your new post on my feed a day ago and wanted to stop by but was unable.

    These are EXCELLENT reminders that I will need to tell my students because we are going to France in May and ending up in Paris for the last leg of our tour up north. Culture is a huge part of my instruction and manners are extremely high on the list!

    Thanks for coming by! Anita

  2. Bonjour, Kristen -- outstanding tips, each and every one! Thanks!


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