Friday, June 29, 2012

2 more steps to a Parisian Transformation

Step 6: DRESS
  • flip flops are not worn here, so wear sandals instead, and sorry guys but no mandles!
  • shorts also are generally not worn, not at all for men and no short shorts for women
  • scarves are the wonderous accessory that most Parisian women love! So bring some from home and you may want to invest in some here!
  • leather jackets are also a very fashionable item here, as well as blazers
  • try and stay classic, not too trendy, but you don't have to dress frumpy either
  • sorry guys, but baggy, saggy jeans are out! European men wear a more fitted jean
  • neutrals are very important, blacks and beiges are a staple in Parisian dress
  • do not wear "casual" clothes, no sweats (save a sweatshirt), no leggings (not acceptable in the US either ladies), no yoga pants
  • basically- dress to impress all the time
  • jeans are more acceptable now than in the past, but slacks are nicer as are dress pants, dresses, and skirts
  • try to leave the "tourist" clothing at home, don't wear basketball shoes or white tennis sneakers, no rain coats/ all weather coats
  • definitely bring an umbrella with you and carry it with you at all times
  • ABSOLUTELY NO American logos. Obviously if you are wearing something with an American logo you will be calling "negative" attention to yourself.
  • be respectful of neighbors
  • be quiet at night/ early in the morning
  • say bonsoir or bonjour if you meet someone
  • remember, there are people below you and next door to you, so don't drag things across the floor or blare your music
  • just a reminder- wash your dishes, the dishes elves will not come and clean them for you
  • don't rearrange your furniture unless you plan on remembering where it was originally and putting it back correctly when you leave

Monday, June 25, 2012


First: the apology- sorry I haven't blogged that much, but give me a break I am in Paris after all, and I'm taking classes here, and make my own meals every night!

Second: the blog-


Let's face it, they (the Parisians) all know that you are not Parisian, (they have telepathy or something) but you don't want to stand out and you can still fool the other tourists and that is the plan. SO,

  • try and grab FRENCH magazines to read. All the Parisians read on the metro, so grab some free reads on the way in
  • look into space on the metro and don't make eye contact, it's a big no no to stare at people (although you will get stared at)
  • personal space is optional, it can get pretty squished in the metro, so buddy up to the person you're next to
  • don't eat on the metro, that is not advisable and don't bring odorous foods either.
  • say "Pardon" if you have bumped into someone, this is just for politeness
  • don't speak on the metro, this will pinpoint you as an outsider, especially if you are speaking English.
  • always keep your bag closed and close to your body, you don't want to invite pickpockets!
  • when exiting, don't dawdle. Know your destination and move quickly.
  • on escalators/moving sidewalks stand to the RIGHT if you are going to stand still, people like to try and squeeze by on the left so don't get in the way
  • the metro closes at certain hours during the week and stays open later on the weekend, however they do not hit every stop, so plan accordingly
  • the metro is not entirely safe late at night/ early in the morning, so try to stay by groups of people or even go the train car right behind the conductor
  • walk quickly and with a purpose, if you have to look at a map step to the side
  • ok this one is hard and a definite judgment call, but in Paris there are many homeless, so if you are generous, give to those who you feel deserve
  • street performers: you can listen to them for about 5 seconds if you don't want to give them money, however it is free entertainment and their livelihood so you are expected to throw them something
  • if you smell probably is, so watch for puddles
  • watch where you step because dog poop is sometimes just sitting around on the sidewalk, so watch it!
  • It is not uncommon for people to sell fake souvenirs outside of attractions so be adamant and say no or just walk away, don't be forced into buying anything that you don't want!
Step 3: MEN
  • this may come as a shock to you, as it did for me, but men are more forward here than in the USA.
  • so, if they stare just ignore them and do your best to look away
  • if anyone approaches you just say "Laissez-moi" which means leave me alone, and they should go away
  • if you are still being annoyed or followed find an old woman, a police officer, or go into a restaurant/store and try and point the guy out to "shake" him up a bit
  • don't attempt to go home early in the morning without coming across some trouble!
  • take a taxi home if you ever feel in danger
  • lastly, don't take the attention seriously, it happens to everyone! Just be aware of it and deal with it the best way you can!
  • classes here last 3 hours, with a break at the half way mark. Bring a snack or money because you will be hungry
  • grading is harder here and the scale is different
  • go to the bathroom before/after class and on break, it is not acceptable to leave in the middle of class and is very disruptive. Trust me, I have seen the "death" stare my professor gave one student
  • ask your professors to explain words you don't understand, they will be more than happy to explain to you, and there is probably someone else who doesn't know the answer either
  • always complete your assignments and hand them in on time (this also goes for the US too!)
Step 5: FOOD
  • be polite when you order at a restaurant or cafe
  • ask for a jug of water or you will get a bottle of water you will have to pay for
  • keep both of your hands visible on the table (not in your lap)while you eat, this is just a cultural thing, so try your best!
  • tip is included, so don't feel obliged to leave one unless the food was excellent or the service extraordinary
  • if you don't know a lot of food vocabulary, it might be a good idea to bring a pocket size dictionary with you, although many places do put English subtitles
  • if you are budgeted, don't try and find a cheap place to eat on a main street or right next to a tourist spot, try to go a little more inward away from the hubbub
  • don't try and eat crepes or bread and cheese for every meal
  • in the grocery store you may have to pay extra for bags so byob
  • some markets have you weigh your own food and put printed labels, so look out
  • don't expect the cashier to bag your food, do it yourself!
  • at a boulangerie make your selection quickly and definitely buy something, it is VERY rude if you walk out without anything, so you could just make up something stupid and ask if they sell milk
These are just a few tips that I have been told and found out myself while living here in Paris. So keep these in mind and they can be helpful when going abroad anywhere.  Just do a little research and buy a travel book!


*More tips to come*

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bonjour! C'est la vie!

     Hello everyone! or as we say in France...Bonjour!  I'm so excited to be able to communicate with you now as I have been without wifi until this morning! I'm not a big "stay connected all the time" sort of person, but I've really been missing the contact with my parents.  SO, let me give you a brief but very long (oxymoron) update on what I have been up to!

1. I flew to France using Delta- p.s Delta international stinks! There's nothing to do in the terminal-no shops and no where to eat- so don't buy plane tickets there!

2. I met all of my other "class-mates".  Mostly everyone is from Texas or Florida, but I really like all of my mates!  Everyone is different but they are all nice and interesting in their own ways!  I have made some closer friends and I like to explore and hang around with them.

3. I moved into a studette- definition- a small, 1 room, apartment that is still attached to the main apartment. So I don't really have "host parents", but if I'd like to initiate more contact, I can (and I do.)

4. I have learned, quite successfully, to navigate the Paris metro.  It's quite simple and I even have a metro card that gives me unlimited access to riding the trains. 

5. I've visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay, took a tour on the Bateau Mouche, and visited the Musee Gourmand du Chocolat.  In between all of this I've had many meetings and information sessions, I've wandered around the streets of Paris with my mates, and I've eaten a lot. 

Well, got to run.  Hope you've enjoyed un morceau of paris!