If you are planning to visit Paris on your next family vacation and you want to blend in as a local you can follow a couple of tips from travel writer Rowena Carr-Allison.
It’s all about attitude, and nonchalance is crucial. And you don’t have to worry about your kids; after all, they will look blasé in the French city. Remember, excitement is not a Parisian characteristic.
Some people tend to recommend that one way to appear like any other Parisian you must be rude or aggressive. Though it might not look like something correct to do it would probably help you along the way.
Check the next tips so you can blend when visiting Paris with your kids.
What you have to wear.
Make an effort on not wearing clothes with bright colors; locals are commonly wearing black during winter, navy or dark grey. During summer is usual to wear pale colors. During this time you can use beige or white jackets, in reality any tone of sand will help you.
You don’t have to take in mind practicality or laundry; this rule should be applied to kids too. It is rare to watch Parisian kids wearing clothes with bright patterns. As a matter of fact, locals can recognize tourists thanks to their “fun” outfit.
Now, if you are planning to use a pattern, you should use sailor stripe, considered the only acceptable pattern, which tend to be en vogue in each season.
If you are looking for kid-friendly clothes you should take a visit to any local store, and if you don’t have any budget issue you should go to Zara, Bonpoint or even Monoprix. Or if you want to, you can visit the local supermarket, a perfect place to find affordable and stylish Bout’Chou collection for kids and babies.
How you have to look.
Ladies should have their hair styled if “je m’en fou” encounters “I just rolled out of be.”
Makeup should make you look “naturel.” If you have little girls, they should have their tresses combed or plaited, or you can use an Alice band to hold it back.
Princess customs are only meant to be wearing in themed parties, while little boys and Dads must use short hair or the surfer-sheepdog style.
Where you have to be.
If you are visiting Paris, you are probably expecting to wander around and checking out the sights, which are commonly crowded by tourists, like the Champs Elysées.
If you want to visit the Eiffel Tower go for a walk around the 7th arrondissement, down Rue Cler, a beautiful place where you can spend some time while eating a tasty lunch. Later you can purchase a ticket to visit Notre Dame, go for a little adventure into the Marais after taking a small break in Place des Vosges. And if you are planning to be a real Parisian take a visit to the Bourgeois Bohemian (“Bobo”) areas like Batignolle or Canal St Martin, check out a window shop or the local park, and after go into a Paul for an unforgettable ‘pain au chocolat’, just like locals. Or just rent a couple of bikes and get around the Velib.
What you have to order.
One of the most important things that Parisians must do every day is drinking their coffee, and is surprising that locals cannot get agitated or nervous with the enormous amount of Espressos.
Espressos might be tiny but are really strong, and it is common to be drunk after each dinner and lunch and during the entire day. If you order a cup of coffee, that is what you should expect.
And if you don’t have the stomach for it, ask for a café au lait, a milk coffee or a grand crème, and during the day, you can order a noisette, an espresso with milk.
Take in mind that French enjoy of salads during their lunchtime and heavier meals at the end of the day. Parisians dishes must to be tasted, and they are also kid-friendly, like Croque Monsieur, a cheese sandwich with toasted ham that commonly is served with green leaves or fries.
If you have an adventurous tongue, you can go for the steak tartare, a raw minced beef served with onions, capers, ketchup and mustard, with a raw egg on the top.
What you don’t have to do.
Please do not open a map and stare it in the streets or immerse yourself in the pages of a guidebook. If you stop the traffic on a street corner is sure that you will make a lot of people angry.
Luckily, nowadays, modern technology is useful for tourists all around the world, so you can search special apps. And if you are only staring at your phone, you won’t look like a lost tourist.
People will notice that you are not from there due to your accent, and one thing you shouldn’t do is not to talk at high volume, this indeed might help you to blend in.
Do not go around the street without knowing where to go, after all, every Parisian is going to somewhere. So, walk with a mission, knowing where is the place that you are going.
A last tip; please do not walk in the streets wearing a beret, that would only lead to people staring at you.
What you have to say.
The key to blend in is to speak the lingo. And though it might be a challenge, start practicing your French, you can also make your kids part of the practice, so they can learn how to talk French.
Photo Credit: By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons