On this chilly Easter Friday, I pack myself in double jackets and uggs, download the map and shove my faithful pocket umbrella in the bag. The biting cold has made me lose my appetite a bit, so I grab an apple and at 9 am sharp, I stand on the streets of the Grands Boulevard, waiting for the GPS to set straight. With a day to explore the French capital, I’ve set my priorities straight. When in Paris, you walk. You walk to school, you walk to work, you walk to the station, you walk into a relationship… you just walk. From my hotel, I walk towards the Place de la Republique. Named that way to celebrate the French Republic, the square is symbolic of demonstrations that start or end there. Marianne’s statue stands tall, with a few youngsters buzzing under it. As the morning sun beams across, I proceed towards the Louvre Museum [ . . ]
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.
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.
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.”
“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
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