Following these tips can mean the difference between a perfect trip and one marred by disagreements with locals, surly salespeople, and unmet expectations:
- Always greet shop owners and restaurant staff with “bonjour” when entering and before asking a question or making a request.
- Avoid restaurants that have English translations printed on the menu or that display multiple flags. Similarly, avoid restaurants with multi-page menus, as the authenticity of the meal may be questionable.
- When metro train cars are crowded, give up your folding seat and stand.
- A baguette is always better with cheese—the older the cheese, the better.
- Do not overlook the city’s farmers’ markets as potential lunch spots.
- The Champs-Élysées has few redeeming qualities and is considered the Times Square of Paris by locals. Skip it and opt for a bird’s-eye view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
- Macaron loyalties teeter between Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, so try both and decide for yourself.