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How to Become Local in Paris?

July 1, 2018

Paris can feel intimidating and many people who come here want to fit in with the Parisians.

That’s why we have prepared a guide for you on how to become (or at least look like) a real citizen of Paris. I propose four basic principles that will instantly transform you into residents of the French capital.

A real Parisian never waits for the green light

This how you will be immediately exposed as a tourist. Parisians simply cross the street as soon as they see that there is nothing going on. Secondly, they do not just walk on the lanes, but where they’re comfortable. Personally, I err on the side of caution and would advise you for your own safety to risk looking like a tourist so you don’t get hit by a scooter or a bus. But if you do brave those streets, do not be afraid of the police. I do not think there ever was a pedestrian in the history of France who got in trouble by cutting the street. Unless it happens that the police get bored and a pretty girl passes by! Then they will stop her, however, only to ask for a phone number.

A real Parisian goes fast

A real Parisian is not going, he is rushing fast enough to pass everyone around. But do not run. To sprint is not Parisian. The only time I run is if I am late for a plane or lost in the subway. You do not want someone to think that you do not know how to move around Paris!

A real Parisian is not impressed

A real Parisian will not turn their head while riding a bus, does not jump for joy at the sight of the Eiffel Tower and would never ask passers-by to take a picture of them against the Notre Dame cathedral. If you want to fit in but can’t resist the allure of these iconic landmarks you can try to take a discreet selfie. This rule does not apply if an American film actress is passing along the street. Then even the most jaded Parisians rush ahead and position themselves and try to find themselves in one shot with the star.

A real Parisian is eternally irritated

Learn to snort, roll your eyes and groan loudly. And use it interchangeably. The Parisian lives under stress and is constantly annoyed. Remember that you have the right to get angry with everything. Get annoyed by the queue, with someone else’s child, dog, the pigeons. You can be like the locals and get angry because someone is standing on the wrong side of the escalator! You can get annoyed by a strike. Or the rain. Or with visitors who are walking too slowly or asking to take a picture in front of Notre Dame.

I hope that my guide will help you during your stay in Paris. Practice these simple things to fit in with the locals and soon you will discover you do not even have to speak French to become a “real Parisian”.

Created by Joanna and Linda for Paris Tour 1