3 Travel tips for Paris tourists always forget when visiting France

in the eight years i've lived in france

i've seen my fair share of bad tourist

behavior and most of the time it's

coming from people who just don't know

any better

so in this video i'm going to share with

you my top three france travel tips that

go a long way

in terms of respecting the culture

fitting in and being perceived

positively by the french so

if you don't want to be a clueless

tourist who's just unaware of what

france is like

keep on watching


i'm diane the american behind the living

abroad lifestyle blog

we in france i've lived out in the loire

valley of france since 2012 and here on

this channel we talk about everyday

french life and beyond

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all right let's get into it absolutely

no one expects

tourists to speak great french or to

know all about french culture that would

be absurd

but what is reasonable is to be aware of

cultural norms and then just do your

best to be respectful of them

we're visitors after all so it's just a

learning experience and we all make

mistakes don't worry about it i've made

a ton of them

so on your next trip to france start it

off on the right foot

with my top three french travel tips

based on what i've observed over the


even if you're just passing through an

area of france for a day or two

knowing about these three things goes a

long way toward how you're perceived and

treated in france

i feel they're the top overarching paris

travel tips that apply to all areas of

france and pretty much any situation

i think of them as the golden rules and

yes i'm taking a hard stance on this

because they're that important

the good news is that they're super easy

to implement and keep in mind that if

you ignore these three tips

you'll most likely have a subpar

experience in france i could almost


that french people will be less than

friendly and accommodating toward you

if you don't take these travel tips into

consideration and guess what that's how

stereotypes are maintained

that's how they're formed uh you know

things like the french being rude or

arrogant so

keep that in mind all right number one

as tourists we forget that bonjour is a

mandatory word

and i actually wrote an entire blog post

on this that i'll link below but bonjour

hello is a magic word in france above


in some areas of the world you can get

away with starting off an interaction

without saying hello so where you're


maybe greetings are considered polite

but not mandatory

in france they are mandatory beginning

any interaction with the bonjour

is as close to mandatory as you'll get

and that's for foreigners visitors

uh people who live here locals everyone

foregoing the compulsory bonjour or

bonsoir in the evening

it's not only out of touch with french

norms but it'll communicate to the


that you're lacking in basic manners and

this is one of those travel tips that's

easy to nail every time once you know it


it's easy even if you watch the

pronunciation and say bonjour bonjour

instead of bonjour just make a mental

note to say it so it becomes automatic

now who do you say bonjour to you say it

to everyone you have an exchange with


just don't hug them you don't hug to say

hi and friends now

staples europe before you kick off any

interaction so if you're going to be

speaking to another human being

even if it's just a quick question in a

store or you're just ordering uh

something from the bakery

you need to say bonjour yes really it's

that important

now this does not mean shouting across a

restaurant or to a busy bartender with

his back turned to you or

screaming hello to a security guard uh

you know across the supermarket no

but you say hello to a grocery store

employee the person checking out your

groceries a shopkeeper

market vendors ticket collectors uh the

guy you approach on the street for

directions you say hello to

everyone you generally greet in the usa


when you're entering a doctor's office

when you're entering an elevator when

you're in a waiting room

um and all that's in a blog post i

linked below so yeah

so you might be thinking a little

confused like diane of course i say

bonjour i wasn't raised by wolves what

do you think i am

but depending on where and how you were

raised saying hello first and foremost

might seem like common sense i get it

but hear me out the difference here

about how bonjour is used in france is


and let me give you an example so in the

usa it's commonplace just go up to

someone in the service position

and launch into your request maybe not

the politest thing but it's fine

here's an example i was back home in

florida visiting family behind an older

guy in publix

and he said to the deli counter woman

give me a half pound of ham

and then he was like give me a quarter

pound of atlanta likes american cheese

please then i was in starbucks there was

a girl scrolling through her instagram

feed she's like

uh i'll take a skim vanilla latte she

might have said please right she didn't

even look up

or behind someone at the cbs pharmacy

when it was this guy's turn he's just

like uh

yeah i'm picking up a prescription for

john doe so in all of these cases the

employee didn't blink

and got right to work now none of these

instances i just mentioned would fly in


everyone in earshot would think you're

majorly rude

and maybe not say anything to you but

they sure as heck would think it and

in some cases i've seen employees just

stare back at the person repeatedly


well sure well sure until they get a

little bit of a clue and uh realize they

forgot the obligatory bonjour

you know so they start again with the

magic words and it's happened to me a

few times i learned my lesson right

sometimes you know even if you know

you're supposed to say bonjour

it falls by the wayside because you're

so caught up in your head trying to

remember the sentence you're supposed to


after the bone sure or you're so

enamored by everything french and

everything new and the sights and smells

in your jet lag that you just forget

it happens it's okay we've all been

there but

the point is you know like any big city

people get away with rudeness

all the time and while it's acceptable

in the us it's not polite but it's


it's not acceptable to not say bonjour

and friends so

don't be rude yourself and i feel like

as foreigners sometimes we need to step

up our game

and be better than all the tourists uh

doing the wrong thing so now you know

and sure you could do whatever you want

you could bark orders at people you

could forget your bonjour

you know in paris locals are sadly used

to tourists not knowing the rules but if

you've watched this far

it means you're interested in making a

good impression so good on you you care

about these things and

uh yeah we'll be friends and here's the

thing about that this is one of those

friends travel tips that goes beyond

merely being polite it's not just about

being respectful of french culture

in my opinion it goes toward letting

another human being

know that they're being seen so they're

not just there to serve others because

it's their job or to help you because

you're a tourist

you know so before there's any ask

there's a brief

but necessary acknowledgement of hey i

see you fellow human

i know you don't have to help me but i'm

starting off by being polite so let's


please in effect that's what you're

saying and one thing to note bonjour

is not an invitation to strike up a

personal conversation and it's not a

come on

it's just a necessary part of how you

communicate in france so

it's something you say and it's expected

at a bare minimum

and delving into small talk is a matter

of discretion

now if you'd like to learn a few more

polite phrases that'll help you make a

good impression i've written about that

as well

so head to the description for that link

with a comprehensive

french travel phrase post with audio

that might also be of interest but let's

move into number two all right

so number two is tourists forget to make

an effort with french

even if you only know three words that

effort goes by the wayside so

beyond number one saying bonjour which

we just mentioned there are a few other

words that

really do make a difference so

that means goodbye if you want to get

fancy merci

mercies thank you and if you didn't

learn them in your middle school

french class learn them and practice

them before you get off the plane it

doesn't matter if you have a horrendous

accent go ahead and say au revoir merci

if you're barely understandable it's the

effort here that counts so

do your best to try even if you think

you sound ridiculous again we've all

been there

and i feel that what's way more

ridiculous than a tourist

uh totally botching pronunciation is if

you don't even try at all

and worse if you just walk up to a

french person and say hello

or please or thank you in english i've

seen that

it's lazy don't do it and i know it

feels weird to bust out your limited


especially if the person you're talking

to speaks english but do it anyway

and in the name of all things holy just

do your best to learn at least hello

thanks and please okay hello is bonjour

thanks is merci please is cebu play

and then use them often everyone's

capable of that again forget the accent

don't be embarrassed

otherwise you risk being perceived as

someone who's culturally tone deaf

and don't receive the corresponding

service so my take is if you can do a

few simple things to have a better


why not okay last one number three is

we forget to experience things without

making judgment calls

and this is france it's where things are

done the french way don't i know it

it's not america english is not the

native language and outside of big

cities the french really don't speak

more than basic english if at all

so we need to be respectful of the

people and the country we're visiting

and that means keep cultural judgments

to ourselves and don't

audibly criticize the french or at all


you know after just a limited experience

in the country you'd be

surprised what i've heard taurus say you

know someone loudly proclaiming

out in the street hey i don't know the

big bathroom

actually happened or oh this bed is tiny

there's no closets

the french are inconveniencing tourists

with their stupid store hours and

strikes don't they know ah

you know i've heard that and i've also

been an earshot

of tourists complaining about french

waiters and how they're so rude

you know after one restaurant experience

being in paris for a day and guess what

they forgot to say bonjour because

of course they did so really what

someone's saying when they exclaim

the hotel room is tiny it's this hotel

room is smaller than

what i thought my money would get me

back home uh or this restaurant service

is super slow all it means is this

restaurant service is super slow

compared to what i'm used to back home


go ahead notice the differences i do it

often but try to resist making judgment


that deem one way of doing something

better or worse than the other and then

getting all bent out of shape about it

it's a vacation right

part of traveling i feel is taking in

the experience for all it is and all

it's not

and the cultural differences they're fun

and no matter how uncomfortable they can

be we learn something and we'll probably

laugh about it later

i hope so it is normal to notice the

differences and talk about them it's a

fun topic of conversation really you see

it all the time on my blog

culture shock is real and i remind

myself not to make these judgment calls

all the time

because you know it's not normal to

expect everything to be like it is at

home and then write off france as being

you know less than or everyone's

arrogant or rude or no one speaks

english well

it's france you know so if you're

looking for a replica of your home

country just with different scenery

well why spend all the time and money to

go to france so just clear your mind be

open about

it live the differences observe learn

and just experience them you know

friends is nothing like the usa in a lot

of ways and i feel like that's a good

thing how boring would it be

if we all experience the same thing

everywhere across the globe and yeah

i'll be the first to say there are

things in france or anywhere

that can be abandoning but just use it

as a lesson to go with the flow it's a

good exercise i've chilled out a lot

since i moved here

and above all enjoy your trip to france

and if you'd like some more tips i've

rounded up a whole bunch crowdsourced

from my facebook readers

about france travel so i'll link that

down below if you'd like to read a few


but uh tell me have you committed any

faux pas in france

and if so tell me about them let me know

about any

major tips i might have missed that you

have for tourists visiting france

let me know down below in the comments

if you enjoyed this video um

give me a thumbs up subscribe if you're

into this sort of content

i'd love to see you back here on we in

france soon thank you so much

and salute