Paris -- How Not to be a Tourist
and many brushings...
Personal grooming when it comes
to clothes and hair is a priority. The grunge look has yet to really
catch on except among some of the younger
generation, whose parents moan and groan.
Rarely do French women wear
heavy make-up (just a gloss here and there) but they take pride in
their hair. French hairdressers must make a fortune streaking hair
to give it that sun-bleached look. There are hair salons everywhere
and it is not unusual for women to stop in for a brushing which means
a shampoo and blow-dry. Even though Paris is no bargain, one can be
elegantly coifed for less than $20 in one of these walk-in salons.
the tourist from Mars...
Another tip for not looking like
the tourist from Mars: Don't haul your week's supplies with you when
you are out for a simple outing. This
doesn't mean no camera, but skip carrying the six guide books you
have dragged to Paris to facilitate your sightseeing. Photocopy the
section of the guidebook you want to explore that day and buy a plan
(map) of Paris to tuck into your purse and carrying pouch. The maps
department stores distribute are sure give-a-ways. A word of warning:
wear that pouch under your clothes. This is not only for aesthetics
but for safety as well. And try your best not to look tentative.
When you are walking together
as a group, don't hog the sidewalk so that no one can pass. Parisians
tend to be in a hurry, walk fast and resent having to play quarterback.
Natives tend to mutter when they have to play dodg'em.
Let me go on record as saying
that there is nothing wrong with being a tourist. But you want to
give off the best vibes possible. Even though the French have the
reputation for not being tourist friendly, just try asking a question
with a genuine smile and I suspect you will see their attitude change.
The French are becoming increasingly used to foreign visitors (it
is one of their largest sources of revenue) but one should exhibit
the courtesy he or she would like in return.
Finally, be very careful. One
of the sure ways not to look like a tourist is to look down and not
up, gazing at Paris' wonderful architecture! If you continue to look
up, you may find yourself stepping into a doggie's souvenir. And,
there are many of those! Did you know that there are more dogs in
Paris than there are people? Think about it.
Ed. note: Now that you've
been properly informed, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, Paris!
Paris -- an excellent internet resource!
Heading off to Paris and want
to read as much about your destination as you possibly can? Take a
peek at www.bparis.com.
Filled with all kinds of perfectly pertinent info, this site's a winner.
There's arts and entertainment, restaurants, wine bars, things to
do, French lessons, Paris centered tips, tips, tips and a whole lot
more. Sign up for your Bonjour Paris newsletter and the info will
just keep coming and coming and coming.