So you are fed up with relaxing all inclusive Caribbean resorts and ready to visit Paris eh?
Trading in those sexy sandals for practical orthopedics is just one of the many obligations I really must insist you adhere to before you are allowed entry into the world’s most meticulously detail-oriented city.
The days of serendipitous travel to foreign lands where local customs are learned through meaningful interaction and trial and error are over; the average full-blooded French citizen of 2022 no longer tolerates naive ignorance and the repercussions can be severe. (Just look what happened to their Royal Family if you don’t believe me!) Prepare yourself for total assimilation by reading the following conclusive and totally indisputable list of Paris Do’s and Do Not Even Think About It’s!
1. DON’T REQUEST KETCHUP
You may have heard the controversy surrounding the derogatory “YO GARCON!” old school method of calling attention to your server, but the resulting anger that may result is just a fraction of the wrath you will incur compared to if you dare request a ketchup accompaniment with your meal. The only accepted dipping sauces are mustard (pronounced MOO-TARDE), mayonnaise, or occasionally that green garlic butter sauce your escargot has been boiled alive in. I could dip my shoe in that savory shit and eat it!
2. DO Tip
Historically, this is the most controversial question that Paris tourists face, especially the generous American ones when they inevitably ask themselves what to leave as a gratuity when faced with the terminal phase of a French Restaurant meal. According to legend, the whole misconception began during the American Revolutionary War when Governor Patrick Henry famously declared “Give me Liberty or Give Me Death!” to the second Virginia Convention in 1775. Word spread quickly with everyone more or less understanding the message until the heroic (and not as fluent in English as most would believe) French General the Marquis de LaFayette caught wind of it at the end of a meal at his local tavern bar. He misunderstood the whole thing and thought the whole liberty notion Henry spoke of was a broader term to include liberty from the obligation to include a 15-20% gratuity following a meal in addition to liberty from British rule.
It didn’t help matters that across the bar and at the pool table about to pocket the winning 8 ball, Paul Revere overhead the whole thing and hastily added it to the whole OH SHIT THE BRITISH ARE COMING Midnight Ride Speech which spread word faster back to France than the American Government would displace native american tribes from their ancestral homelands in 1831. Ultimately, this could be complete historical bullshit, so I’ll leave you with the shocking result of the following indisputable scientific study recently conducted over eight years through Harverd University.
According to 100% of Parisian servers, a tip is appreciated following a meal.
3. DON’T Fondle the Fruit
Remember that scene in the 1992 Disney film “Aladdin” when the naive Princess Jasmine plays palace hooky and swipes an apple on behalf of a hungry peasant child only to learn that in the real world outside the royal walls of her pampered daily life, monetary compensation is required for the acquisition of a good? Just like their Middle Eastern counterparts, burly Parisian market vendors won’t hesitate to chop off an appendage with a quick swipe of their machete if you are caught groping any melons. This is especially true at the organic markets like the one found on Boulevard Raspail where the blood curdling screams of tourists can be frequently heard as they frantically attempt to reclaim their detached fingers after they rolled away under the pesticide free grapes (pronounced des raisins) as a result of picking up an orange and sniffing it for freshness. Thank God Emergency Medical care is affordable in France!
4. DON’T Climb the Eiffel Tower
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. Don’t be tempted to scale the 1887 relic that once served as a big fancy door to the 1889 World’s Fair. Look, I get it: I’m empathetic to the struggle thousands of tourists face daily when they realize tickets to the tower are sold out weeks in advance and the lines to get up the Iron Lady sans une réservation are as alarming as seeing an erect dolphin’s penis with your kids at Sea World. What your Rick Steve’s guidebook doesn’t tell you is that each night dozens of foolish tourists are peeled off the tower scaffolding like mice stranded in peanut butter after they made the poor decision to get up to the summit and indulge in a 15 euro glass of champagne with or without a ticket. I’ll spare you the grim details, but these are the lucky ones. If you are really set on an Instagram worthy view of Paris from above, I urge you to consider the Montparnasse Tower. Compared to the 300 meters (1083 feet) of the ET, the MT has a more realistic 210 meter (689 feet) height attainable for even the most mediocre Spiderman impersonators.
5. DO Witness a PSG VS Marseilles Match
Ici c’est Paris! Sure the budget of the capital city’s home team is at least twice that of their competitors, but ultimately talent has far more worth when compared to the pockets of billionaire PSG owner and Quatar ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Introduce your soccer lovin’ youngins (Watch out! It’s called le foot in France!) to a little family friendly match between bestie rivals Paris Saint Germain and Olympique de Marseille. These heart-warming games put even the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower to shame with their passionate raging fires that burn brightly from the stands, accompanied by the unexpected heart stopping explosions from home-made mazel tov cocktails as they are sent hurtling onto the field to the delight of spectators, the team, and law enforcement officers present. Don’t forget your face guards and flame retardant apparel!
6. DON’T Consume Food On The Go
Paris might not be known as the friendliest place to visit, but this is just because they have more manners than you, it’s not their fault. In addition to loud noises, fun, and deodorant, French people are easily offended by witnessing food consumption that is done anywhere that is not on a chair, so think twice before you stuff your face without discretion while out and about. Originating back to the French Revolutionary War when soaring bread prices made the desperately starving citoyens viciously attack anyone seen carrying any form of edible nourishment in the street, Parisians today have an uncontrollable impulse to roll their eyes or grunt in disgust at the sight of anyone eating while not passively relaxing. Don’t be mistaken by the wide availability of food to ‘manger sur la pouce’ (literally eat on your thumb, AKA to go), this is meant to be eaten at home, or on rare exceptions in a park on a park bench. If you are unable to control your hunger pains, do what the Parisians do and light up a cigarette.
7. DON’T Wear Shorts
Closely following eating in public on the go, (see above) exposing your naked legs while wearing shorts comes in second on the unofficial list of How to Piss off a Parisian. You might be thinking, “Why are legs accompanied by shorts bothersome when the French culture embraces naked boobies at the beach or public advertising with nudity?” The answer is not so black and white and may surprise you. The delicate curves of a female breast or the coy glimpse of a male derrière are respected artistically in French culture. The problem lies in your knees. Yes, your wrinkly squishy knees are as repulsive to the French as margarine and Cheese Whiz. Which is probably why you have never seen a bare set on a Parisian in real life before. As a culture they have gone far to eradicate this grotesque feature from sight, including cropping Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa masterpiece (to be fair her knees were disturbing) and ordering French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi to lengthen the robe on his original design of the Statue of Liberty before he handed her over to New York. It is important to acknowledge that some efforts are being made to challenge this rather old-fashioned notion in 2022. Shorts (denim or otherwise) are more noticeably tolerated when worn with hosiery.