Paris is a cosmopolitan city and its inhabitants represent a fantastic mix of cultures, religions, backgrounds and wealth. Though it is impossible to generalize about such a diverse population, you may find that Parisians tend to be more formal than most Americans when it comes to language, dress, common courtesy, and even food. For example:
Some stereotypes about the French include that they are typically smokers, fashion icons, slim and slender, drink wine and coffee like water and are the ultimate romantics. While these archetypes can prove to be true, it is important to keep in mind that each person is an individual. The French focus on the riches of life - from small delicacies to family life, and take time to indulge in them. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are engaging in a refreshingly rich culture:
Typical weekdays start at about 7:30 am in Paris or even a little earlier. Stores tend to open around 9:30 or 10 am and close around 7 or 7:30 pm. Lunch tends to be eaten around 1 pm, and dinner is often eaten 'en famille' or with friends at around 8 pm. Note that many businesses (including banks and grocery stores) are closed on Sundays and/or Mondays.
Each country has its own particular attitude towards tipping for service. In Paris taxis it is customary (but in no sense obligatory) to give the driver something; usually 10% is enough, or just rounding up to the nearest five. In restaurants, service (15%) is included in the bill, though it is customary to leave a tip if you find the service satisfactory. The standard is to add 5% of the bill amount. The same holds true for cafés if you are pleased with the service. In prestigious restaurants it is also customary to tip the person who brings your coat from the cloakroom; €2 is usually enough.
Can’t speak any French? No problem. English is widely understood and spoken in Paris, although it is generally more common among younger people. It is especially common to hear English in tourist hot spots – museums, parks, restaurants, etc.
|Please||S’il vous plaît|
|You're welcome||Je vous en prie|
|Restroom, Men/Women||Toilettes, WC Hommes/Femme|