Everytime I see a lost tourist in the horrible parisian rush day, I think it should exist a kind of survival guide for them. Here five tips for living peacefully as a non french-speaker tourist in la ville de l’amoue :
1) If the metro is crowded: STAND UP FROM YOUR MOBILE SEATS.
There is nothing more painful than seeing dreamer tourists staying seated on these mobile seats while parisian push each other to enter in the wagon. It happens around 5 or 6pm, or even during a national day, but anyway : whenever it is crowded, you will avoid a lot of mean looks on you, if you stand up like everyone. It will even attract some sympathy. Who knows…
2) If you need to check your map, do it on the right side of the way.
I think it’s valable for every country : when, as a tourist, you open your map in the middle of the way, think about people behind you. It will avoid you to be pushed or what, and it will be more comfortable for you to check your way.
3) “Where is the Eiffel Tower ?” “Quoi ?”
Yeah… I could not possibly give tips without even talking about languages. First, it’s not that we don’t know how to speak english, it’s just we don’t practice (thanks to our education – ironic) and so that we are embarassed to talk because of our accent. We finally prefer to shut up and run away. Sad, I know. However, you will have more chances to find an english speaker if the person is young, like a student, or from a tourism office. If you wish to talk in english with french people, it is HOPEFULLY possible with Couchsurfing.
Paris has a very active movement in here, with pubs and going out among the city for those who would like to know good places 😉 If you are really shy, ask on forums from CS Paris, you will find people who know how to welcome you.
4) Having lunch in a restaurant
As a non-parisian, I have to admit that going to restaurants in Paris is quite special. The rush, again. So, don’t think it’s because you’re a foreigner, if you have to wait, it’s like everyone. However, I would advice you to privilege some unknown restaurants far away from big monuments if you want something tasty and more comfortable.
5) … Look around you.And finally, remember there are french people like me and my friends who would be glad to help you. Don’t be closed because of this general idea that we bite tourists haha, you would be surprise to notice a little shy parisian who stares at you because he hesistates to propose his help to you. 😉