Paris Practicalities: Parlez-vous touriste?

In the "Paris Practicalities" series, I lay out some basic advice for the foundation of a trip abroad for the well-informed and savvy traveler.

Being a house guest (at least the kind who wants to be invited back again) means making effort to abide by the general house rules set by the host. While the host tries to make the guest comfortable, the house guest does things like take off his shoes at the front door and offer a hand clearing the dishes after dinner. 

I find traveling to be follow the same guidelines. When traveling, the host country will want to make an effort to welcome its tourists if for no other reason than to generate income from tourism. And yet the traveler must also work to observe cultural norms and learn what being respectful as a house guest looks like in the given host country.

France has been knocked for being a bad host - one recent article dramatizes its reputation as the "rudest place on earth for tourists." This sentiment is not new in any way - last year information was distributed to the tourist sector of Paris called "Do you speak touriste?" (link in French). In the manual 11 different nationalities are profiled with information on spending habits and preferences to keep in mind when interacting with them. And efforts are still being made to give tourists a warmer welcome in France.

But relationships always involve effort from both parties. We as tourists need to work on our part as well to be respectful house guests. So here are 6 tips to keep in mind the next time you visit France:

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