How to Survive in Paris

Trip Start Jan 21, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, March 25, 2013

Every part of the world contains cultural DOs and DON’Ts that most of us wouldn’t even think twice about in our home countries. France is no exception, and before coming here there are few things that you should know:
DO NOT: Be offended if someone is rude to you. That’s just how we are in France!
For starters, Parisiens are notorious ***** *******’s ****, with a capital C. Of course, it’s entirely inappropriate to classify an entire city of almost 1 million people (with a suburban environ of 20 million people) as sour apples. However, it might be a swell idea to keep in mind that during your visit, you may risk coming across someone who's become putrefied by the hard concrete Parisian jungle. We know, it’s difficult to believe that a city as charming as Paris could make anyone turn hard -- culture oozes from her alleyways and the unique cartography of quarry stone facades and mansard rooftops make getting lost a true treat -- but for those who live here, the rainy summers, clouded autumns, bitter winters ,and drizzly springs take their toll on the city’s mood. When the sun finally does show it’s fickle head, it isn’t uncommon to see everybody rush to the streets and cafés to soak it in. In the meantime, the weather just sort of makes everyone grumpy. Don’t worry- you’ll learn to brush it off in time, and may even develop your very own French sneer.
DO NOT: Tip your waiter more than a Euro or two.
When discussing France’s workforce, it’s important to remember that France is a Socialist country with a deeply-ingrained culture of recycling jobs within its borders. International contracts and foreign nationals working here are heavily regulated. The high corporate and upper class taxes, once proposed by Hollande to be 75% for the rich,  reflect a collective mentality that spending lavish amounts is unclassy. That said, everyone feels entitled to a certain minimum standard of living. The upside of all these rules is the standard of pay and benefits to which every French employee is privy: all inclusive Healthcare, 35 hour work weeks, pensions, and a large array of guaranteed public services.
Where, you may ask, do tips play into all this? The short answer is: they don’t. France’s wait staff and hospitality personnel are paid a proper salary, just like any other worker in France. This is why restaurant employees may not be concerned about whether or not you get your café au lait five, ten, or even twenty minutes after you ordered it. They may not be making 250 in tips a night, but they are making a comfortable salary with benefits. So, in short, if your waiter sneers at you for not leaving more than a Euro or two as a tip, he has pinned you for a tourist.
DO: Learn how to kiss properly Last but not least, we’ll finish this post by explaining how the REAL French Kiss works. Blogger Finn Skovgaard explains how to properly carry out  la bise.
“start by bringing one cheek close to the other's cheek and simulating a kiss on the cheek. Some start with the right cheek, some with the left. Like a goalkeeper predicting the direction of the ball, try to determine which of your cheeks the other is aiming for so an embarrassing collision is avoided. Some make a kiss-simulating noise with their mouth, such as phwouiik, mmmm, or phhlschlp. Remaining silent is perfectly all right. After the first kiss on the cheek, the maneuver is repeated at least once on the opposite cheeks. The total number of kisses depends on the region, the person, and many other things. Even the French are confused. Left? Right? Two, Three, Four? Kiss? Handshake? Don't take it seriously, and laugh at it if it goes wrong. Oh, and be careful using the word baiser! In classic literature, it means "kiss”. But today, it also means the same as a certain English 4-letter word.”
Enjoy a few of these tips from TV Only International before you come and shoot with us!

Be sure to check out a few of Finn’s Do’s and Dont’s in France!
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