Paris is one of those cities that everyone dreams of visiting. In the city of romance, you can easily take a leisurely stroll by the Seine, have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower, or an eat an intimate lunch in a brasserie. But before that, Paris has many traditions and quirks that if thorough research wasn't done beforehand, could cause a lot of confusion or trouble for people. Here are five tips to know before visiting so you don't accidentally embarrass yourself in front of some of the judgiest people in the world.
If you aren't taking the major metro lines, you'll have to be attentive of which stop you're getting off of. There are no announcements of each stop, and the doors will not automatically open. On some metros, you'll have to either push the button on the door or pull the lever up with quite a bit of force. Otherwise, you'll find yourself at the end of the metro line before you even realize.
It doesn't matter whether you're walking into a random grocery store or getting on a crowded bus. Always greet the person working at that moment even if others around you don't. Although most French people won't care, some people do get offended if they don't hear a greeting before you ask them a question, and will end up grumpy for the rest of the time you have to spend with them.
Most stores and shops in Paris will close at least 15 minutes before closing time, and even if on Google Maps it shows that they're open until 10PM, you will most likely see a "Closed" sign by 9:30. In Paris, the customer is not the king, so it's no use trying to argue with the employees at the place, because that will only put you on the blacklist.
It's natural to want to rock that Instagram aesthetic in Paris, but make sure whatever you'll be wearing around the city is as comfortable as possible. You'll be walking around the city so much and crowding with other people on the metro, so don't go the high maintenance route. Try to wear flat or low heeled shoes that won't give you blisters, and avoid bags that are easily openable and pickpocketable. If you want to look cute for the pictures, bring a change of clothing because really, you will regret it if you don't.
On top of early closing hours, many French restaurants actually close between lunch and dinner time. Usually, lunch opens around noon and ends right before 3PM, while dinner starts from around 6:30 and goes until 10PM. If you're hungry any time in between, it may be difficult to find a restaurant to sit down and enjoy. Don't worry too much though - you'll be able to find crepe stands and bakeries that sell delicious sandwiches on every street you go down. That's the real Parisian meal right there.