Know about this?
When you go into a store
There is a pleasant little ritual the French engage in when you walk into their store. You are always greeted (Bonjour) and you are expected to greet in return. If you ignore their greeting you are not likely to be treated well.
Once the greeting was done they seemed to wait for you to give them an idea of what you were looking for. They were discreet and didn't shadow you constantly. I would always thank the staff that was helping me before going to pay (if it wasn't the same person) which was always received very nicely.
When you leave the store always thank them and say au revoir.
Most of the places I went I found staff was more than happy to help you in English if you at least made an attempt at trying to communicate in French. This willingness was extremely helpful in some situations. One that particularly stands out for me was when i had lost my reading glasses and needed a replacement pair. The lady that helped me was so delightfully helpful once she understood my need.
In the summer of 2006 I initiated a forum thread in which I asked the question: "The Eiffel Tower in Paris currently has 1,178 tips here on VirtualTourist, in seven different categories. Is there any other single attraction on VT which has more tips than that?"
It took a while for everyone to understand that I was talking about tips on VirtualTourist, not hits on a search engine, but after we got that straightened out the consensus was that the Eiffel Tower does indeed have more tips than any other single attraction in the world. "A French victory!!" as pieter_jan_v commented.
Every year since then I have done a re-count at the beginning of September. If for some reason you want to see the figures for the years 2006-2012, you can find them in my travelogue called "The four places in Paris with the most VT tips”.
The figures for 2013 cannot really be compared to the ones from previous years, since the Paris tips have been cleaned up and reorganized in the meantime, but just for the record, as of September 2013 there are 811 Things to Do tips about the Eiffel Tower, 22 Nightlife tips, 7 Off the Beaten Path tips, 52 Tourist Trap tips, 151 General tips a.k.a. Favorites and three Local Customs tips, making a total of 1,046 tips on the Eiffel Tower.
By the way, these figures do not include the 20 reviews (mostly negative) of the restaurant Altitude 95, which is in the Eiffel Tower. This restaurant is now under new management and has been re-named 58 Tour Eiffel. The old name referred to its altitude, 95 meters above sea level, and the new name also refers to its altitude, 58 meters above ground level. (So it hasn't suddenly dropped thirty-seven meters, in case you were worried.)
How you know you are a Parisien
even if at heart not living here or if here this is it, its fairly true having lived nearby and worked for almost 10 years.
1. Had dinner at Tokyo Eat (16éme) and not needing to open the door to the Palais de Tokyo
2. Taken a breakfast in the terrace of Café Marly (1 éme)
3. Be seated at a table in l’Abtrance (16 éme)
4. Had organise a goodbye party to a colleague at the Train Bleu, gare de Lyon ( 12éme)
5. Had dinner at Lipp (6 éme) at the first floor and street side with preference next to a famous head statue
6. Had eaten an onion soup at Halles (1 éme)
7. had bought a ice cream cone at Bertillon, the main house in the 4éme
8. Had tasted a Paris-Brest by Philippe Conticini in the Patisserie des Reves in rue du Bac (7éme)
9. have the pleasure to fill your basket in the Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché (7éme)
10. Have fallen for the caramel macaron with salted butter at Ladurée (8éme)
11. had taken a mint tea at the Mosquée de Paris (5 éme)
12. had for lunch a tamoul at Pooja ( 10éme)
13. Clean plate of a côte de bœuf for two at 6am in Chez Denise or La Tour de Montlhèly (I éme)
14. Believe you were stuck in New York having a club sandwich at Harry’s Bar (II éme)
15. Had ordered a cheese dish at Marie-Anne Cantin (VIIe)
16. Ruined yourselves a Sunday morning at the bio market in boulevard Raspail (VIIe)
17. had lunch un bento at Kunitoraya 2 (Ier)
18. had drank and participated with the winegrowers while the feast of Fête des vendanges de Montmartre, early October
19. had eaten un fallafel a Sunday at As du Fallafel , rue des Rosiers (IVe )
20. had spent 80 euros for two of a roasted chicken with potatoes afire in Ami Louis (IIIe)
21. had found the bag to go buy the flowers at Rungis and eat oysters
22. had purchase the favorite tea at Mariage Frères
23. had a picnic on the pont des Arts
24. had taken a bite of a libanese sandwich at avenue George-V to think you are in Beirut
25. had a stop a pause at New Nioullaville (XIe) to enter into the Chinese new year
26. had taken a cafe at Flore
27. be seated in front of a breakfast « plateau » at Coupole, sitting on the red benches but not in the terrace
28. to not swear if by the head of veal at Apicius (VIIIe)
29. to be hug on the quai de la Tournelle
30. to have order a cocktail at the Bar Hemingway in the Ritz, at the eye color of the invited person, (do it before it closes for renovations)
31. to have rented a room at the Hotel Chopin at passage Jouffroy (IXe)
32. to have mark your name and of your love one in the walls of the catacombes
33. had played the card of double winner, champagne plus plaid on one the bridges of a Bateau-Mouche toenjoy the lights of the city of llights
34. to have appointment at least once on the parvis de Notre-Dame, the fountain of Saint-Michel or the steps of the Opéra Garnier
35. to have taken a glass facing the sun set at Bourbon, behind the Assemblée nationale
36. to take a walk at cementary Père Lachaise passing in front of the tombs of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde
37. to have descended on the sewers of Paris to breath its odors !
38. to have done a jogging in the jardin des Tuileries at sunrise
39. to take a tour around the place des Vosges in trying to find the appartments of Jack Lang, Maître Binoche, and DSK
40. to have gone to Aubervilliers in the home camp of Bartabas
41. to subscribe for a ride iin rollers blades in Paris
42. to go walking in the city while celebrating a white night or Nuit blanche
43. to have purchase a subscription to a Vélib’
44. to have taken the electric stairs at the Beaubourg
45. to admire the windows of Christmas or Noël in the big department stores
46. to look for the Café des Deux Moulins, rue Lepic, thinking of Amélie Poulain
47. to get lost in the basements of the Châtelet-les Halles
48. to walk along rue Saint-Honoré without spending nothing
49. to be confused with Shirley McLaine in Irma la Douce (Billy Wilder) while walking rue Casanova (Ier )
50. to have missed a change in the change at Michel-Ange-Molitor and do a tour for nothing on the line 10 of the metro of paris
51. to have assisted at march of the 14 Juillet in the Champs-Élysées
52. to have put a small sailboat to ride in the lake of jardin du Luxembourg or des Tuileries
53. to go see the old crocodiles at porte Dorée
54. to finish reading a romance novel in a green chair (hard to find) at the jardin du Luxembourg
55. to have purchase a ticket for a night of Pedro Almodovar or Lynch at the Cinema CHampollion (Ve) or for an episode of Star Wars at the Grand Rex (IIe)
56. to have yell at and insulted the taxis that goes by all full
57. to go dance at a Bal des pompiers, an evening of the 14 Juillet
58. to have waited for the tour Eiffel to flips it lights from the Théatre de Chaillot, at the entrance.
59. to have taken an aperitif on the canal Saint-Martin, between two rounds of the game pétanque
60. to have dance for a song of a DJ at Batofar
61. to have dance on the salons of Maxim’s the friday evening for the parties of Belle Époque
62. to have walk an evening of winter on the racecourse of trotters in Vincennes
63. to be seen been refuse entrance to chez Castel
64. to have come in on foot a morning, because of no bus nor metro
65. to have waited for the sunrise from the steps of Sacré-Cœur
66. to go to the Collége de France and assist of its courses for free
67. to be one evening on the presentation at the gallery Kamel Mennour (VIe) to see an artist such as Claude Levêque,or Daniel Buren)
68. to have seen an opera at the Bastille
69. to have gone to the Louvre, simply to smile at the mona lisa and delayed your stay at the salle des Rubens
70. to have seen Podalydès play at the Comédie Française
71. to have look and see at the aisles of La Hune (new address) or of the Écume des Pages (VIe)
72. to have admired the work of Nuit étoilée by Van Gogh at the museum of Orsay
73. to have entered the Shop/atelier of Delacroix at place de Furstenberg
74. to have try to enter the Chateau des Brouillards in the butte Montmartre
75. to have seen the work Porte de l’enfer inside the park of the museum of Rodin
76. to have understood what is Austerlitz at the Invalides
77. to have entered the metro by the mouth of Guimard ,porte Dauphine or that of Othoniel at place du Palais-Royal
78. to have walk between the girafes and elephants in the Galerie de l’Evolution, jardin des Plantes
79. to have seen a musical play at the Théatre du Chatelet
80. have seen play the Philarmonica of Vienna or Berlin on the TCE
81. Be entered in the drawers of the Bank of France while a heritage days event or Journées du patrimoine
82. to have taken your companion to the oldest theater of Guignol of Paris , rond-point des Champs-Élysées
83. to found yourselves seduce by shopping on Sunday in the rue des Francs-Bourgeois (IVe)
84. to have purchase old 45/78 vinyls music records at Crocodisc (Ve)
85. to have pushed the doors at the Herboristerie du Palais-Royal (Ier) and ask plenty of questions
86. to have obtain from your sample mold of a shirt at Charvet (Ier), high temple of made to order
87. to come out of Colette (Iéme) with many things of no use whatsoever
88. to have desire to buy a pet dog right away at the animal stands along quai de la Mégisserie (Ier)
89. tohave assisted to an Orthodox mass in rue Daru (VIIIe)
90. to enrich yourself but not much in a sales room at Drouot
91. to have taken time to take care of yourself in a spa on a palace hotel such as Plaza Athénée or Meurice hotels
92. tohave spend 90 cents for an egg mayo at Voltaire (VIIe)
93. tohave try to walk the sidewalks of the palais de l’Élysée and be reprimend by the police force
94. to have fallen for a ride with a nice taxi driver
95. to have taken a glass at the first floor of Café Germain and see past the young bust of Sophie, the sculpture of Xavier Veilhan
96. to have attended a march of the ballet in the Opéra de Paris, and be ready for its reverence
97. to have been mistaken for a statue in the columns of Buren
98. to have done the experience of the high rise hair on the head of the electrostatique room of the Palais de la Découvertr
99. had try the guitars n the stores of the rue de Douai (IXe)
100. to have spent the month of August in Paris
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PREFECTURE DE POLICE
Next to Notre-Dame Cathedral in the Latin quarter is a huge building with many French flags flying. This is the Prefecture de police which is located in quite a lovely 19th century building.
IT IS NOT THE POLICE MUSEUM where you will find out about the French history, see old weapons and uniforms and learn about criminal affairs.
That is located at 4, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, A short walk away.
OPEN.....Mon - Fri 9am-5pm. On Saturday : 10am-5pm.
FREE ENTRY.... but the gifts to the Association are welcome.
PS>>>>>If you need help and can't speak French, there are police available that can speak bi-lingual.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
YOU SHOULDN'T GET LOST!
Well, I didn't get lost and I don't think you will either. Pick up a FREE MAP, they are a must.
Now, if you are like me, and fold and fold it until it gets really tatty and unreadable, do not worry, as I noticed Paris is very well signposted. All the sights of importance have a BROWN sign pointing in the direction to go, in English too! So easy!
- Hiking and Walking
An Old Local Custom
Identifying markers at the door. 1416, such a long time ago. There is nothing in the USA, but geographical landmarks, that are as old as this building. You can imagine how impressed I was each time I realized how old some of the buildings of Paris were, that they were still standing and that I was able to see them.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Manners: Hogging the Lens
This lady at the Musée Rodin sat herself right in front of the museum's most-visited sculpture and mugged for her companion's camera for a full 10 minutes or more. The art-lovers were NOT amused. Nobody wants you in their photo any more than you want them in yours. Many of us don't want a human in our shots at all. Please don't monopolize the monuments, sculptures, fountains, etc. with endless snaps/footage of everyone in your group of 50, or a "gotta get it perfect" session for the Christmas card.
Not, of course, that any of you would do that.... :)
Strange Local Customs
French people have strange local customs! If you wander around Paris (and France in general) you will notice lots of statues without their heads. Strange aesthetic values? A French colleague who recently went to Greece told me that you could also see beheaded statues there. Ahhh, but this is not the same! That was Art recycling: in Roman, Greek times statues were the expression of the reality idealized, the regular proportions, bla bla bla and when an emperor died instead of doing another sculpture they kept the same body and only changed the head, which even if it was also idealized, had the new character’s main features.
Here we could talk about the famous “guillotine”. It is difficult to establish its origins because it has different ancestors that appeared during the XIIth, XIIIth and XVth centuries in Italy, the current Netherlands and in North Europe. We hear for the first time about the mechanical beheading method using the device that nowadays we know as “guillotine” during two speeches in l’Assemblée Constituante (10th October and 1rst December 1789) when Dr Joseph Ignace Guillotin, considered this execution method more « human » than the hanging or the beheading with an axe because the death was immediate.
« Le couteau tombe, la tête est tranchée à la vitesse du regard, l’homme n’est plus. À peine sent-il un rapide souffle d’air frais sur la nuque. »
Furthermore, having only one method of execution was also seen as an expression of equality among citizens (can we apply . . . égalité et fraternité also here?) because before that different execution methods were used depending on the kind of crime and the condemned man’s social condition. The guillotine will be used from 1792 until 1939.
But I have a my theory about this particular French taste for the beheaded bodies . . . do you know who is the saint patron of Paris? Saint Denis!, a Christian bishop, who was martyred in approximately A.D. 250 and . . . decided to wander around Paris with his beheaded head preaching a sermon the entire way!!!! (picture 4)
After all this lucubration and even if hairdressing salons in Paris are well-known throughout the world, I think I will wait until my next trip to Barcelona to have my hair cut!!
"La bise ! " French kisses.
The french like to give you a little kiss on the chin, when they say hello, they call it "la bise" (the kiss). In some places it is just one kiss and in other places it is four kisses. I never found out when to give just one or four, but just go for it. In general you will get 4 kisses if you are a charming lady !
You do like this: Start with a ´"bonjour" and then a little smile, and then the liltte kiss. You make the "kiss sound" but not directly on the chin, it is like half on the chin and half in the air !
Bonne chance !
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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Just ti clarify WHY I opened this topic:
Since the beggining of 2008, several brasilians ( I mean here a number around 200 people ) have been sent back from the MADRID, Spain, airport. This has made to the news and several people that we think that should not be discriminated are so. Other have been kept at the airport, for several ahours in a small room, without having access to a phone, barely having access to water.
Of course, I must admit, some of these people should be sent back, since they were trying to ilegally immigrate to EU using Spain as port of entry, due to similarities between portuguese and spanish. Some even did not carry more than US$100 in their pockets.
That trigged a response from customs officials here, in Brasil, and cities like Salvador and Rio de Janeiro started to check documents in depth and sending back spanish people. Retaliation, they say, and several comments on the press report this. This is NOT a official position taken by the goverment, I must say. Just a response from some custom officials.
Then I started to wonder: EU immigration rules are the same for all countries. And I called the French Consulate and got the answer I reported at the beggining of the topic.
I am 62 and do not want to leave things to chance. That's why I would like to get experiences and information on the subject.
I did not make a decision yet. But probably I will buy travellers checks just to show and will bring most of them back, wasting the bank spread and taxes, just to play safe.
I will re-read carefully all comments later on and post any responses, if needed.
Thank you all.
Again, thank you all.
I did call the French Consulate in Rio. The person was not really helpful. Stated that I must carry a valid passport, return air tickets, hotel reservations and that amount in CASH: EUR 60 per day). And, of course, the final word on whether or not I would be accepted is from the customs official.
I asked about a credit card (I am taking a brasilian-based and an american-based). The answer was that I must proof how much is my credit. Simple: I can take the last two statements, showing my credit-line.
Tha flaw is that my statements are in PORTUGUESE.
Of course I am aware that I would need Euros in chash for snacks, metro, etc. What I am considering is buying traveller-checks and, when coming back, selling the excess to my bank, wasting the bank spread plus all the taxes.
Contrary to its reputation, English is spoken by many, although many don't speak it very well therefore it is best to try and use French whenever possible, but if you cannot speak French, then politely say "Parlez-vous Anglais". Most if you make an effort to speak their language will try to speak as much English as they can. Also the French are very picky about pronounciation so any incorrect pronounciation may make it difficult for them to understand. In addition Parisian French is very different from Quebec French so if you learned Quebec French speak slowly as although the vocabulary is different the accent is quite different and may be difficult to understand at regular conversation speed.
Police At Palais De Justice
Walking around the Ile de la Cite we came to the Palais De Justice , an impressive building with wrought iron gates and fences and a group of policemen on duty at the entrance to the building. I have learnt that most officials do not like being photographed, however if you go up and speak with them, politely ask whether you may take a photo, they nearly always are very pleased to pose.
Address: 4 Boulevarde de Paris
- Budget Travel
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Learn 10 words
I speak zero French. But I learned 10 words that will get you pretty far:
Bonjour Madame or Misseur "Hello"
Bonsoir ('Bon-Swa') "Good Evening"
Absolument ('abso-LU-mon') "Absolutely"
Merci "Thank you"
Merci beaucoup "Thank you very much"
Billet ('bill-ya') "Ticket"
un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, dix "one, two, three, four, five, ten"
Oui ('we') "yes"
SVP ('see-vu-play') "Please"
Other important words:
Addition ('add-dich-e-on') "The check"
Compris ('com-pre') "Tip is included"
In France, the service of course is not the tip, but is included.
The service is the cost of labor, and the tip is the small gesture that you add or leave to say merci...
Paying for the labor, in the French mindset and law, should not be a matter of hoping the customer will value you.
In America, the service and tip are one and the same.
Many US-based waiters and waitresses work for as little as $3.00 an hour... and don´t seem to be disturbed ... because "it´s all in the tips," whereas the French would starve if they had to rely on what was left on the little plastic plate.
And, in fact, you can´t compare the jobs on both sides of the world because you may get more cash at the end of the night
in the USA, but what are you going to do if you get sick -- or get fired?
Additionally, those of you who are accustomed to leaving tips in North America by filling in the amount on the blank line on the credit card slip note that in France one cannot add to a credit card payment.
The act of adding dollars to a slip of paper, is psychologically easier than dropping bills.
But in France, neither happens.
You get an honest salary and some pocket change.
The key to most things in Paris is not the ability to be generous but to be elegant.
Let elegance be your trademark as you grace the Parisian tables.
Round up to an elegant number and smile. But don´t go higher.
Parisians in the service industry have admitted been spoiled by the ill-advised and euro-confused.
our best bet with Parisian taxi drivers is not letting on that you don´t know the system nor know where the heck you´re going. As long as they suspect you are a local, you shouldn´t be taken for a ride.
Again, a small tip is usual. Round up to the next elegant spot.
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