Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tourist Tips for la Belle France

Milla Msa is a London girl who, after living in New York City and Tokyo, decided to settle down in Paris. Her blog, Not Just Another Milla, details her obsessions over fashion, pastries and luxury travel while her tweets are full of great finds and news around the city. Since I've written about tourist do's and don'ts for New York City, I thought it'd be fun to know what to expect during my tourist experience in Paris.

Traveling to France is such a wonderful opportunity and despite the ups and downs, I'm still here. I want to share my tips on how to best enjoy your time but you know, each person has a different experience. Know yourself and most importantly, know what you want to get out of your trip.

1. Don't get frustrated or angry when people do not understand you. I know it's hard but the reality is that you're in France and the official language isn't English. You don't have to enroll in Alliance Francaise to enjoy your visit here but learn the basics. Coming from London, the idea of saying “good morning” to the bus driver is a foreign concept to me. I'm not sure we even make eye contact back home! As I prepare to visit another country, the first thing I do is learn how to say basics such as hello (bonjour), goodbye (au revoir), please (s'il vous plaît) and thank you (merci). In a country where you always say hello upon entering a shop, before ordering or inquiring, when entering a taxi or boarding a bus, your study time will not be wasted and once you get over the initial insecurity of your accent, you'll be fine. Go on, give it a go!

2. In France, people dress well and the only casual style you're going to see is smart-casual. That doesn't mean you have to run off to Céline and stock up on things you may not be able to afford or really like. It simply means tuck in your shirt, don't wear sports clothes unless you're working out and understand that flashy translates to tacky.

3. Paris is a city of unequivocal beauty and my favorite way of getting around, even after almost two years here, is walking. Of course the metro is highly convenient (though very dirty) and the buses run on time, but walking gives you a chance to discover little secret gardens, patisseries with displays to make you wish you all your clothes had an elasticated waist and a real opportunity to see la vie Parisienne.

Bon voyage!

Image: courtesy of Milla Msa


  1. Will bear those in mind if I ever get to o to France properly (sort of been, but not enough to really experience it).

    I know basic French anyway, so I'm good there (as long as I don't have to write it... My spelling sucks!)

  2. Yeah, a lot of my vocabulary came back once I had to actually use it and I was pleasantly surprised at how much was just quietly sitting in my brain these last few years. It took me a bit to figure out what to say, but I was able to pick up what people said and what I read pretty well. I just need to keep practicing once I'm home.


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