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Last visit: 2014
 

PARIS


The City

"Bonjour!"You must say "Bonjour" upon entering anything, whether it's a restaurant, shop, elevator, etc. It's common courtesy in France. If you walk into a shop and don't say hi, you're socially snubbing your peer. The shopkeeper will ignore you, won't offer to help, and sometimes talk trash about you.

"Bonsoir", meaning "Good evening", is said instead of "Bonjour" after about 5pm.
"Je ne parle pas français"meaning, "I don't speak French." If you can only stutter this sentence, it's good enough. The French will appreciate that you tried, and they'll attempt to speak to you in English.

In Jiann's-best-French-accent: ʒə nə pɑrl pɑ frɑn `se
Personal spaceThe people of France value their personal space greatly. Don't stand too close to anyone. Don't make unnecessary eye contact on the Metro. Don't stand in any rooms, doorways, etc that you haven't been permission to access.

Joyce and I had a strange experience with our Airbnb host. When we checked in, she graciously offered us her kitchen to make coffee. However, it wasn't clear that this was a one time offer. The following morning, when she saw us in the kitchen, she was shocked, and later admitted that she felt offended. Joyce and I never made this assumption again.
No photos, pleaseJust don't take any photos with other people's faces in them.

To the French, taking photos without their consent is similar to invading personal space.
LaundryDon't do laundry here! Water is expensive in Paris and a load costs about 7 Euros.

Bread

Eric Kayser 🥖We tried many baguettes but this was mine and Joyce's favorite by far. The crust was SO thin, but also crunchy and substantial. The bread was soft, elastic, and chewy. I will never forget this bread as long as I live.
any bakeryAny and every bakery will have great croissants.

Sightseeing

Mona LisaThe Mona Lisa you see is probably fake. The real piece's dimensions are less than those of a sheet of paper. During tourist seasons, the museum displays a larger depiction of the Mona Lisa so more people can view the exhibit at once.
The LouvreI recommend bringing headphones and music, and wander around the museum by yourself. Just agree with your group to meet up after at least 2 hours.

Food

Pierre HerméIncredible macarons. Perfect cookie texture with good buttercream. Each macaron's flavor was bright and clear.
LaudureeAlso good macarons. But, I thought their flavors were more subtle than that of Pierre Hermé, and I wished they were louder.
French yogurtYou can get smooth and creamy French yogurt from any dairy shop. The texture is very different than American yogurt; you have to try it in France. Also, they come in cute little jars!
cheeseAll cheese everything. Try any local cheese you see. Also, fondues and raclettes are A++

Style

menswear 👖Women dress in "feminine menswear" and it looks great. Blouses aren't skin tight, and most people wear slacks/trousers. Generally, the French don't expose much skin.