Today’s guest is YouTube superstar Jay Swanson. Between us, we’ve lived in Paris for almost a decade, so you can bet your last centime we’ve made our fair share of mistakes.
With this in mind, we share eight tips for the things you should never, ever do in Paris.
Here’s the episode, please subscribe on your favourite podcasting platform (even Spotify!). And keep on scrolling for the tips!
Things you should NEVER do in Paris
1. Never fall for a classic scam
This includes the ball in cups game, people with clipboards, people tying things to your finger, people offering you a “gold” ring. Just say non merci and walk on.
2. Never leave phone in your back pocket
You’re offering a gift to the pickpockets if you do this. It’s such a rampant problem that other Parisians might just warn you to move your phone if they see you’ve left it in your back pocket. This goes for your wallet too!
3. Never let one bad experience ruin it all
OK, so you’ve been scammed, or pickpocketed. Or maybe a rail strike means you missed your train somewhere. But who cares! Don’t let a negative story ruin your trip. Just get on with it. This city is far from perfect, but if you focus on the good stuff here you’ll see how quickly it outweighs the negatives.
4. Never be controlled by a bucket list
Remember, Paris isn’t a checklist. If you come with a plan that’s too detailed then you’ll miss all the small pleasures. There’s more to the Louvre museum than just the Mona Lisa, for example. There are other great towers besides the Eiffel. Spend some time just soaking up Paris.
5. Never forget to say bonjour
You know when you “make it rain” with cash? Do the same with bonjours. Just say it anywhere and everywhere. Passing a policeman? Say bonjour. Buying a baguette? Say hello to the baker. Don’t stop. It’s an etiquette detail that’s very important to French people 🙂
6. Never cross police barricades
This might sound obvious, but we brought it up after each of us have been getting a lot of questions from worried tourists about the gilet jaune (Yellow Vest) protests. In short, stay away from police barricades, demonstrations, and protests, and you’ll likely be totally fine. Now, if you’re thinking to start another French revolution, ignore all the above information.
Look: There’s me and Jay on the Champs-Elysées!
7. Never feel embarrassed to try your French
I’ve talked about this before on the show. If you think your French is terrible, you might be right. But don’t let that stop you. And don’t be disheartened if people don’t understand you or if they switch to English. Just make the effort! And don’t forget, as I said in a recent episode, you probably speak better French than you think you do!
8. Never forget online tickets
For the biggest museums and tourist attractions, as well as some of the smaller shows, you can often save money and time by buying tickets online. Sometimes you may have to book a day in advance, such as with the Eiffel Tower, but it’s worthwhile!
Links mentioned in the episode
OK, they were some of the main tips from the episode. We also talked about never offending your baker and never expecting spicy food to be spicy, but I left them as little treats for you to find in the podcast. Go listen!
Here are some of the links mentioned in that very episode so you don’t have to go scrambling around searching for it all on the internet.
The guy who jumped over the Tour de France:
Jay’s YouTube channel is here. The Earful Tower’s is here.
Jay’s video about the Louvre:
Jay’s guide to Paris:
My recent live video with Jay
Jay’s video of his appearance on the Earful:
How to support The Earful Tower on Patreon.
If you want to learn French with Camille’s method, find the French Today audiobooks here.
That’s it for now – thanks for stopping by! Here’s the episode again 🙂