Paris is one of the biggest, most fabulous cities in the world. And if you are going for a trip to Paris, then take a look at some tips and tricks for fitting in just like a real Parisian.
Different Rules for Dining
When to eat? Most restaurants are open for lunch (noon to 2) and dinner (starting at 8 pm). That means many places will be closed entirely from 2 until 8. However, if dinner at 6 pm is a must for you, don’t worry – eateries in touristy areas tend to serve nonstop throughout the day.
Pay attention that people with severe food allergies are better off preparing their meals at their lodging or eating at vegan or organic shops and bakeries; these eateries tend to be more upfront with their ingredients, and their staff are more in tune with health concerns.
Typically tipping is included with a meal’s price and is not an incentive for better service. Feel free to leave 5 – 10% if the service was excellent.
The French are big on ceremony, whether it’s a kiss on each cheek as a greeting or saying “Mesdames, Messieurs” (ladies and gentlemen) when walking into a store or a doctor’s office. As a tourist, you’ll be fine with the basics. Stick with “bonjour” when you enter a shop or boulangerie. Say “merci” every time someone serves you a coffee or brings you change. This gesture of solidarity can really go a long way here. But be prepared, because no matter how nice you are or how much you try to speak French un peu, the French can be notoriously surly, especially those you come across working in retail and restaurants (customer service does not exist in France).
Regarding greeting someone, here’s the low-down about the kissing: when you first meet someone, shake their hand. When you say goodbye, offer your hand again and if they motion towards you, turn your head right to kiss their left cheek. Take a notice that the French don’t do small talk. To act with the utmost decorum, keep your voice low.
Paris Isn’t a 24-Hour City
In Paris, museums are closed one day a week, and most stay open late at least one night each week. Store hours are generally 9:30 or 10 am to 7 or 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, although post offices, banks, and smaller shops may close for several hours during the afternoon. Department stores – including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps – are open on Sundays, and along the Champs-Élysées, the Marais, Montmartre, and the Latin Quarter, you’ll find shops that usually open around 2 pm on Sunday.