France has always been a popular tourist destination. If you are traveling in Europe, consider your trip incomplete if you haven’t taken a selfie in front of the famous portrait of Mona Lisa or claimed the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. The climatic condition and the geographic location of the place make it an ideal holiday destination. The entire country can be compared to an art gallery that is dotted with famous architectural wonders and breath taking monuments. Whether you are interested in discovering marvelous specimens of fine art or just love nature, France will be able to provide you with both. But if you are traveling to the country for the first time, there are some do’s and don’ts that you need to follow.
When in France…Do as the French do
Learning about the local traditions will assist a traveler in getting from one place to another. It becomes all the more important if you are not aware of the language. The following are some of the things that one must do when in France:
- Do try the metro in the city
If you are in Paris, then you will naturally check out the popular tourist spots. But what you may not know is that the metro system of the city is amazing. Spreading over the entire expanse of the city, it will take you from one place to another without worrying about the traffic conditions.
- Order more than one cuisine
The French are not only known for their art but are also famous for the lip-smacking cuisine. The French people are known to be passionate eaters, and they think that it is bad manners to order only one dish. If you want to dine in any public restaurant, make sure that you order at least two dishes. Ask the waiter if you are not good with making the choices and prepare to enter a world of flavors that you have never known.
- Do try and speak the language a bit
If your French is not good, there is no need to fear. The people are warm and will assist you in getting the information you seek. Though they are aware of English, they prefer using their mother tongue. It does not mean that they expect you to speak fluent French. Knowing the basic words like Bonjour, Oui, S’il vous plait, Merci will suffice. Taking the English to French Translation book might come in handy. The French love to see you try speaking their tongue. You take the first step, and they will come to your aid.
- Do know where to kiss or shake hands
Though French people are friendly, they are known for keeping their guard up at first. They are also traditional in their outlook. Kissing and shaking hands is a custom that needs to be followed closely if you desire to get a response. By kissing, we don’t mean a peck on the lips. Average French will never tolerate such an audacious behavior from a stranger. Strangers shake their hands and friends kiss with double pecks on each cheek.
- Do dress up for the occasion
French people are known for their immaculate dressing sense. While people in the USA think that it is cool to sport gym clothes or sweatpants on the streets, it is considered unacceptable behavior on the streets of French cities. Paris is called the center of the fashion world. So, if you want to avoid the dirty looks of the French for your stupid dressing sense, get info on what the French wear and when. Do not show up in short pants in a restaurant. You might be denied entry.
Things you should not do in France
Now that you know what you ought to do during your trip to France let us take a look at some things, from which you should maintain distance.
- Never indulge in an argument about politics or religion
The French are very guarded and sensitive about their religion and politics. As it is they do not open up in front of strangers a lot. If you start discussing the loopholes in the politics of the country or the religion, then you are in for trouble. To start with, they will not take your comments lightly and will retaliate. If the argument escalates, they will start talking in French, and you will not know how to cope with it even more.
- Do not depend on the GPS
Earlier travelers used to depend on maps for finding their way around a new place. Technology has advanced, and the place has been taken by GPS gears. If you are traveling in any city of France for the first time, chuck the GPS and pick up the old fashioned map. The GPS will give you the shortest route between your current location and the destination but will take away the pleasure of discovering the hidden gems along the route. So, trust your map and pay attention to what you see on both sides of the road on your way to the destination.
- Never try to show off your French speaking skills
If your French is exceptionally good, then you can try talking to the French in their mother tongue. If not then it is better to stick to the basic French words. The last thing you want is to become the butt of all jokes for saying something inappropriate. The French will not waste their time to listen to your gibberish. On top of this, the dialect of the French language is not same everywhere. It is different from one part to another. There is no way you will be able to figure out their accent.
- Do not converse in a loud tone
If you are observant, you will see that the French talk in low voices. They believe in the concept of privacy, and thus, they do not want the person sitting at the next table to hear their conversation. Laughing loudly or talking in a high tone is not considered good. So, it is better to speak softly in all public places in Paris and other cities of France.
- Do not always be “by the book”
Yes, there are lots of rules that a tourist needs to know. But that does not mean that must be followed stringently. The very idea of taking a vacation is to let loose and have fun. If you try to do everything by the book, you will not be able to enjoy France. Get lost in it and then discover the real hues of France.