Anyone who has been to Paris will have suffered two major things: the airport and the disdainful stares from the Parisiennes. It doesn’t matter that you’re wearing the best in your wardrobe – you’re still a plebeian in their eyes. So, how does one blend into the über chic city… especially when fashion week is around the corner? We give you priceless tips on how not to look like a complete tourist. You’ll know when you’ve succeeded when people come up to you and start garbling in French.
#1 Never Smile
Smiles are a rare commodity in Paris, and it’s ungainly to wear a broad grin on your sleeve, no matter if you’ve just won the lottery, discovered a cure for cancer or have learnt to make Justin Bieber shut up. Actually, emotions are rare in Paris, save for the odd solitary tear you’re entitled to at a funeral. Unless of course, you’re drinking, in which case it’s a free-for-all emotional buffet (it’s pronounced byoo-fayyy if you were wondering).
#2 Go Genuine or Fly Home
Especially when it comes to French brands, keep your AAA grade knock-offs at home. Parisiennes know their stitching, so unless you want to be treated like you have leprosy in stores and streets, keep it unbranded, or genuine.
#3 Drink Coffee Like a Sailor Drinks Rum
Don’t order a white coffee, don’t order a frap. That’s for ‘Muricans. Get espressos, or if you need something to dilute the effect, a noisette (macchiato) would be ideal. Having said that, Parisian coffees are kind of crap – we don’t know why they insist on drinking it.
#4 Smoke Like a Chimney
Or if you don’t smoke, be obnoxiously self-righteous about it and claim that it’s the secret to your flawless complexion (but first have a flawless complexion if you plan to say this).
#5 Drink, But Never Look Drunk
You can have as many flutes of bubbly as you want, but the point is to look chic and composed while drinking. If you get the Asian flush, opt for sparkling water instead and insist you’re watching your weight. If you want, go the extra mile and start telling the table how many calories wine has.
#6 Know How to Shop
Don’t goggle outside a store and squeal at the merchandise. Walk casually past it and if you REALLY want to go in, make it as casual as going to the grocers.
#7 Never Eat More Than a Small Spoon
Don’t mistake this for not eating; just eat with a smaller spoon or spoon out smaller portions. The reasoning behind this is that it’s ungainly to open your mouth too wide and chew like a cow on cud.
Bonus, you get full faster and you’re a few pounds nearer to being as svelte as a Parisienne.
#8 The ‘No Makeup’ Makeup Look
It’s handy to have this anywhere else in the world, but it’s almost a prerequisite in Paris.
#9 Always wear sunnies
Even if you can’t see a thing, keep them on anyway. It hides your expression.
#10 Wear Black
Sorry, but a daisy yellow or a Hawaiian print is akin to having a great big neon sign that says, “JUDGE ME, FOR I AM A TOURIST.”
#11 Subtle on Scent
Don’t douse yourself in sweet, sickly scents; Parisiennes prefer complex, obscure fragrances or simple, understated ones. You won’t go wrong with Annick Goutal, L’Artisan Parfumeur, and Diptyque.