France as always is one of the most visited countries in the entire world. There is so much that France has to offer, from world famous landmarks and tourist spots to their legendary cuisine, France can be loads of fun. If you are planning a trip to France, here are few things that you should know so that you are able to enjoy your visit while respecting this unique and rich culture.
1. Learn Some Basic Words and Phrases in French
Regardless of how long you are planning on being in France, always make sure that you take the time to learn some basic words and phrases in French. Keep in mind that you are in a foreign land and although many French people do in fact speak English, there are times in which the basic words and phrases come in handy.
2. Know When You Should Greet with a Handshake or a Kiss
Even though in France there are lots of places to meet women , it is important to know how the people of France say hello. In Paris, friends are expected to greet with a kiss, strangers however shake hands. When saying good bye they also kiss, this kiss however is generally a double kiss placed on both cheeks. If you visit small villages it is normal see complete stranger greeting one another in the streets with a “Bonjour!” that however is not appropriate in big cities.
3. Always Tip Your Waiters in Cafes or Restaurants
Tipping in France is very different than tipping in other countries like the U.S., the tips are generally included in the check. This is required by law in France and is the 15% of the service charge that you will see on the check. That being said, it is highly recommended and appreciated when you tip your waiter a little extra. This is not an obligation, however it is common courtesy and it goes a long way. It is also encouraged that you tip usherettes, restroom attendants and taxi drives, it doesn’t have to be a big tip, just something that says thank you.
4. Never Talk Religion, Politics or Other Sensitive Subjects
This does not mean that you should not speak your mind, I mean the French do love a good debate from time to time. However you are a tourist, not a local so it is best to steer clear from sensitive subjects, especially if you may not be completely versed in subject that is brought up. French people rarely advertise their religious beliefs, this is a common courtesy, one that you are expected to abide by as well.
5. Visit More Than Just the Touristy Destinations and Spots
Naturally many tourists want to visit France particularly because of those popular tourist destinations and hot spots. After all it is these draw dropping, awe-inspiring sights that make a country so why would you not want to see them? Those being said, once you have taken in the most popular sights, make it a point to veer away from the common itineraries for tourists. Buying a skin lightening lotion is also something you might want to look into.
France is an amazing place to experience your own way by exploring the paths that are less common to tourists. Head to the towns and villages where French charm abounds. To truly immerse yourself in the rich couture of the country, get to know the locals and mingle with them. This will provide you with a unique experience that the common touristy spots will not.
These five tips and pointers are very simple and easy to remember. By keeping them in mind and applying them during your visit to France, not only will you guarantee that you are respecting the culture and people of this beautiful country, but also that you experience an authentic and enjoyable trip while there.