Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tourists in Paris (Photo: Thinkstock)By Kate Robinson1.
Fail to Say
“Bonjour.”French politeness is predicated on the use of
formulations.
You don’t need to talk extensively (in fact, you
shouldn’t unless you know the person), but you must always say
“Bonjour.” When you walk into a tiny boutique and you are only
interested in looking; when you arrive at the office with a hangover and no
desire to speak to anyone; when you ask for directions on the street; when you
buy a bus ticket; and yes, when you walk into the waiting room at the
dentist’s office.
In fact, nearly every conversation should start with
“Bonjour” or “Salut, ça va?” if you
don’t want to develop a reputation for being antisocial and mal
élevé.2.
Ask for ketchup or ice. Did your mom ever get really
irritated when you squirted ketchup all over her homemade meatloaf? Imagine
that, only ten times worse and that’s what French people think of
slathering good ol’ Heinz 57 on everything from saucisse de Toulouse to
frites.
While the rise to celebrity status of the American-style hamburger has
somewhat attenuated this distrust of transatlantic condiments, la moutarde
remains a more culturally appropriate choice.3.
Speak loudly in public
places.France’s metropolitan centers are more open and welcoming to
international influence than ever.
But while the French are happy to find
foreign accents in their plates, they are not so enthused about having to
endure them at maximum volume while trying to enjoy a tête à
tête in a bistro.
Unless you’re in a small, crowded bar where
everyone is shouting across tables at one another, take it down a notch.
If
you need to talk to someone across the room, just get up and walk over to them
already.Related: Cheap and Chic Paris4.
Drink too much.Drunk in Paris (Photo:
Thinkstock)The French like to drink.
A lot.
Not just wine,
either.
They’re the world’s top consumers of whisky.
What they
do not like to do is binge drink.
You might encounter bottle after bottle at a
party, but more often than not, each pop of the cork is accompanied by a
shared moment following the collective “Santé!” when
glasses twirl, lips smack, and someone declares it plutôt fruité or
plutôt sec.
Accidents happen and there’s always that friend who
has le vin aigre and ends up crying in the bathroom, but these things take
place with discretion and are not flaunted as achievements.5.
Cut the cheese
inappropriately.No, this is not scatalogical humor.
There is a correct method
to cutting each shape of cheese.
For example, a tranche of Roquefort should be
cut in wedges emanating from the center of the thin edge, so what you get is
essentially a core sample of a round of cheese.
If you cut straight down the
inside edge where the creamiest, most pungent bit is, your French boyfriend
will confiscate the Opinel and reconsider your relationship.6.
Take the
bait.“T’es américaine? T’as un flingue
aussi?” Don’t fall for it.
Whether or not your questioner has
ever been to the United States or has any clue about federal arms regulations,
he doesn’t really care if you personally own a gun.
When discussions
veer into politico-religious-philosophical realms that often get non-French
blood boiling, remember le second degré, the irony that underlies much of
French humor.
Also, many French people simply enjoy the debate — and
teasing you.
After all, qui aime bien, châtie bien.Related: How to See
Paris in One Day7.
Order your steak “well done.”
Photo:
ThinkstockIf you think French waiters are cold and unpleasant, try asking for
your steak à point.
It’s insulting on so many levels they may ask
you why you’re even bothering with the entrecôte.8.
Ask personal
questions.Being friendly and chatty in France can sometimes come across as
invasive.
Many Americans, for example, show interest in others by asking
complete strangers a slew of personal questions, in addition to sharing their
own life story, including details of their recent divorce and the
neighbor’s daughter’s drug problem.
Unless you’ve taken
the time to develop meaningful relationships with French people, don’t
pry into their personal lives and avoid over-sharing yours.
And whatever you
do, don’t ask how much money they make.9.
Leave the house in your
pajamas.Wasn’t it cool how in college you could walk around town in
your sweats and flip-flops? Well, you’re not in college anymore,
you’re in France, where people tend to avoid inflicting their unwashed
hair, baggy pants, and yellow toenails on the rest of the world.
You
don’t have to wear Louboutins or slather yourself in makeup (in fact,
that’s another great way to embarrass yourself), just be respectful of
others — they have to look at you, too.10.
Eat in public.Sometimes you
just can’t avoid being late, and those baguettes poulet-crudités
are so practical for scarfing down while running to the metro.
That’s
fine; just try to finish before you actually get into the metro, unless you
want to attract sideways glares from your seat mate.
Eating is part of the
personal sphere; if you decide to chow down in certain public contexts, be
prepared for unsolicited attention.“Quelle belle tarte”: was
that old man referring to you or your tarte aux framboises?11.
Snack.It
isn’t true that the French don’t snack, they just don’t
make a day-long habit of it.
The officially acceptable snack times are 11
a.m.
and 4 p.m.
Diverge from the norm and depending on where you work, be
prepared to laugh off a few soi-disant jokes about your gourmandise.More from
Matador:10 Signs You’re Never Been to Seattle 6 Craft Beers You
Have to Try in Wisconsin30 Signs You Grew Up in BrooklynWATCH: How to Eat
French Food Like a French PersonLet World traveling club Travel inspire you
every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series “A
Broad Abroad.” Tourists in Paris (Photo: Thinkstock) By Kate Robinson
1.
Fail to Say "Bonjour." French politeness is predicated on the use of
formulations.
You don't need to talk extensively (in fact, you shouldn't
unless you know the person), but you must always say "Bonjour.".10.
Eat in
public.Sometimes you just can’t avoid being late, and those baguettes
poulet-crudités are so practical for scarfing down while running to the
metro.
That’s fine; just try to finish before you actually get into the
metro, unless you want to attract sideways glares from your seat mate.
Eating
is part of the personal sphere; if you decide to chow down in certain public
contexts, be prepared for unsolicited attention.“Quelle belle
tarte”: was that old man referring to you or your tarte aux
framboises?11.
Snack.It isn’t true that the French don’t snack,
they just don’t make a day-long habit of it.
The officially acceptable
snack times are 11 a.m.
and 4 p.m.
Diverge from the norm and depending on
where you work, be prepared to laugh off a few soi-disant jokes about your
gourmandise.More from Matador:10 Signs You’re Never Been to
Seattle 6 Craft Beers You Have to Try in Wisconsin30 Signs You Grew Up in
BrooklynWATCH: How to Eat French Food Like a French PersonLet World traveling
club Travel inspire you every day.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series “A
Broad Abroad.” Tourists in Paris (Photo: Thinkstock) By Kate Robinson
1.
Fail to Say "Bonjour." French politeness is predicated on the use of
formulations.
You don't need to talk extensively (in fact, you shouldn't
unless you know the person), but you must always say "Bonjour."

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