Survival Tips

A few tips from a French native to an American tourist visiting France:
11- Never apologize too profusely. A nod and a quick “Excusez moi” will do.
22- Every woman in France is a “Madame.” A new law banishes the “Mademoiselle,” which the French consider offensive since it targets single status versus marital status.
33-  Never say “Bonjour” in the street but always greet everyone properly when entering any kind of business relationship. “Bonjour Madame or bonjour Monsieur” is too formal in the US but is expected in France regardless of social status.
44- Waiting in line is not French. Even though all public institutions coral customers, shortcuts remain a way of life. Be prepared and watch your turn if you don’t want to be stuck in line.
55- Dishes are smaller in France and you are expected to eat a little bit of everything. Always order an entrée or appetizer. If you don’t, then make sure to order dessert. Order coffee after dessert. Ask for the check when you are finished.
66- Tax and tips are included at the café or restaurant, but tip taxi drivers, hair stylists, valets parking, concierges, luggage carriers…
77- The French don’t eat, drink, read or phone when they drive. Be focused and assertive and you will be fine. Be distracted and hesitant and you will be in danger.
88- Less is better. Big hair, too much make-up and heavy jewelry is tacky for the French.
99- Food and wine remain the cement of France. The French live in anticipation or in the memory of a good meal. Let food be a pleasure and not a drag.
110- Witt is the best way to win a French’s heart. It will diffuse tension and will provide a table in the most sought-after café or restaurant and a taxi at the busiest hotel. It will bring a smile from a tight waiter or boutique owner, and of course from any French woman.

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