The Best Paris Tips From Our Readers

Bonjour! This week we asked for your Paris tips. Here are some highlights from the 148 responses. If you learn just thing, let it be that Parisians like to say hello.

Say hello

If you think Parisians are rude, it might just be that you’re not saying hello. “It is considered the height of rudeness to not greet anyone-even when you get on a bus,” says Klee. “Anytime you walk into a store, you will be greeted and you must greet the shop-person back,” says Scout’s Honor. “I noticed that even when I was walking down an alley and another person crossed my path, they would say ‘Bonsoir,’” says ceedotkaydot. Add an Au revoir, bonne journee when you leave, says jseb.

And start your conversations in French, even when you know the other person speaks English. Readers all agreed that it’s rude to just start talking to Parisians in English. “The best phrase I know in French is Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas français, says JobiWan. “I’ve seen tourists (mostly American) be treated as annoying tourists because they are pushy and demanding, and yet when I approach the same vendors and tell them I don’t speak French (in French), they are much more polite and accommodating.

Even those that don’t speak English are very pleasant and try to work with you.”

You can push it further, says TheMonkeyKing: “We found ourselves to be instant hits in small neighborhood cafes where we badly mangled local French but in their laughter appreciated our efforts. One place poured us extra wine and another one gave use free desserts with our dinner. If you can sneak in a malaprop, you’ll become their darling.”

Walk if you can

While the metro is top-notch, Paris is best seen above ground. Sinisterblogger elaborates:

Walk everywhere and don’t be afraid to get lost. If you get lost, hop on the Metro (there’ll be a station nearby). It’s very, very easy. But make a point to get lost. Just wander. Find a cafe off the beaten path, away from the tourists, sit, drink wine, people watch.

Aimawayfromface3 agrees:

Plan less and wander more. Paris is filled with little micro-neighborhoods and interesting streets. Be sure to take at least one day to just wander about without any real plans or direction. I happened upon an old raised railway line (Promenade Plantee) that they turned into a park. (Similar to the High Line Park in Manhattan)

Papa Van Twee learned this the hard way, after his tour bus broke down. “The next day we skipped the bus, and just walked. It was a lot more fun that way. You can’t get to know a city until you’ve walked it, and Paris is a wonderful city to get to know.”

Avoid scams

“Ignore anyone approaching you with a clipboard asking if you speak English, or anyone with a poorly made friendship bracelet in their hand,” says Kevin Lee Drum.

“I do not feel that the city is generally unsafe, but keep an eye on your valuables, there are many pickpockets,” says Frederi. [ . . . ]

More at Source: LIFEHACKER The Best Paris Tips From Our Readers

Paris Wants To Create Its Own Central Park

This incredible greenspace would cover approximately 5.2 square miles and offer various outdoor pursuits for locals and tourists.

:: SIMPLEMOST :: The capital of France is famous for its many iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Arc de Triomphe, just to name a few. However, if eco-conscious French politicians get their way, we may soon associate Paris with a suburban forest that is five times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

The creation of a roughly 5.2-square mile green area north of Paris in the suburb of Pierrelaye-Bessancourt would not only be a fabulous green space for outdoor activities but it is also meant to combat air pollution. Trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and release oxygen back out, thus improving air quality, according to the Urban Forestry Network.

Why The French Government Wants To Build A Forest

The city’s air pollution levels have reached a dangerous high, and the air quality is so poor that the City of Lights change its nickname to the “City of Smog.” In 2017, a Parisian yoga teacher even sued the Continue reading “Paris Wants To Create Its Own Central Park”

The literature debate tearing apart Paris: should Céline’s racist pamphlets be published?

Louis-Ferdinand Céline was one of France’s greatest novelists – but plans to republish his anti-Semitic writing has dramatically divided Paris.

n a cold but sunny afternoon in late January I paid a visit to the Passage de Choiseul in the commercial heart of Paris. The passage is a covered arcade, one of many such places that were built across the Right Bank of Paris in the early part of the 19th century, and which were effectively the world’s first shopping malls. The Passage de Choiseul is also one of the most important and totemic sites in French literary history. It was the childhood home of the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline, arguably the greatest French writer of the 20th century, who still regularly outranks Marcel Proust in readers’ surveys and sales. Most significantly for his admirers, the passage was immortalised by Céline in his two magnificent novels, Journey to the End of the Night andDeath on the Instalment Plan, published in the 1930s. In Céline’s day the place was poor and decrepit and “stank of dogs’ piss”. Nowadays it is expensive and chic. But there is no trace of its most famous literary inhabitant – an extremely unusual fact in France, a country that prides itself on its literature, and where even the meanest provincial town has at least one Avenue Victor Hugo or Lycée Baudelaire.

I bought some pens and a notebook in the upmarket stationery shop just opposite the entrance to number 67, where I knew Céline had lived, and asked the lady behind the counter why there was no trace of the great man. She said that she was often asked this question by Céline’s admirers, who came from all over the world to this place, and that she did not know why there was no commemorative plaque or any other sign that Céline had lived here. She then hesitated, looked around to check that we were alone, and said quietly: “There are many Jews here who control business. They don’t want anyone to remember him.” [ . . . ] More at: The literature debate tearing apart Paris: should Céline’s racist pamphlets be published?

A tour in the footsteps of famous African-Americans in Paris


PARIS (AP) – The great African-American writers James Baldwin and Richard Wright began their feud over Wright’s novel “Native Son,” at Cafe Les Deux Magots. Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis held hands with his white girlfriend, French actress Juliette Greco, while strolling along the Seine after hanging out with Picasso. Entertainer Josephine Baker became a megastar at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. Some travelers to Paris seek selfies with the Eiffel Tower, go to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or stroll to the Arc de Triomphe. But you can create a different type of itinerary exploring African-American connections to the City of Light [ . . . ]

Read More: A tour in the footsteps of famous African-Americans in Paris

To Burst The Bottle Bubble, Fountains In Paris Now Flow With Sparkling Water

France might be known for its bottled water (think Evian or Perrier). But in Paris, the mayor wants people to give up plastic bottles in favor of city tap water — with bubbles added for extra appeal [ . . . ]

More: To Burst The Bottle Bubble, Fountains In Paris Now Flow With Sparkling Water

Mourning in Paris

Paris is a good place to mourn. It takes itself very seriously in a way that is sometimes tedious when you are young and full of the future, but is perfect when you are entering middle age and walking down cobblestone streets and missing someone you loved very much, particularly if that someone lived there. Paris is tonally at its most appropriate when you realize that somehow that someone, who was so intricately woven into the city — someone who, for you, was Paris — is no longer there and yet the city remains itself. The city somehow survives. But Paris absorbs your sadness like it has absorbed hundreds of years of sadness. [ . . . ] Read at NYTimes