Can you already hear the accordion playing? Welcome to the land of art, cigarettes, fashion, wine, and history. Paris is a world of its own and it will be difficult to not be in awe of this glamorous city for your entire trip.
We have compiled the most important and helpful information to assist you with the planning process. Check out your guide below for a list of public holidays, visa info, a guide to dressing and tipping, and some interesting facts about the city itself. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime, yogis! Au revoir!
Important dates in France
1 January: New Year’s Day
March – April: Easter Monday
1 May: Labor Day
8 May: Victory 1945
20 May: Ascension
30 May: Whit Monday
14 July: Bastille Day
15 August: Assumption Day
1 November: All Saints’ Day
11 November: Armistice 1918
25 December: Christmas Day
Population: 2.2 Million
Religions: Catholic (51%) No religion (40%)
Weather: The weather in summer, from June to August is perfect. The highs of summer average in the 70’s°F and the days are full of sunshine. The summer draws the largest crowds and is the most expensive. The fall is also beautiful, with the changing of colors in the trees all around. In Winter, the weather begins to creep down, beginning with November averaging around 41-50°F down through 38-46°F in December, 36-45°F in January and 37-46°F in February. In March, the temperatures begin to climb up, from 41-53°F. April averages between 44-58°F and May 50-66°F.
Good to know
As a visitor, you will require a short stay visa, also known as “C” visa or “Schengen” visa. The Schengen visa is the standard visa that is valid for all the 26 countries in the Schengen Area, including Italy. This short stay visa is issued for 90 days within a 180 day period from the date of first entry to the Schengen Area. The visa is issued for single entry or multiple entries. Please check the official Schengen websites for more up to date information here.
Culture and Etiquette in France
Ok, in our other blog posts we may have been a little more forgiving with insistence on speaking the local language. Paris is different. It doesn’t matter if you are scared or can’t speak a lick of French. Study and be brave, dear yogi. This is not a place you want to show up unprepared. The French are devoted to their language. We live in an age where there are plenty of apps and resources online to learn the basics. Be a prepared traveler. Say bonjour and merci, au revoir everywhere you go. It will make the locals happy and your experience will be so much better. Trust us on this one.
This is Paris, darlings. Leave the Hawaiian t-shirts, oversized hoodies, flip-flops and big bulky backpacks at home. In all of our posts, we advise travelers to dress as the locals do out of respect, and Paris is no exception. The Parisians take pride in their appearance. And, why not? Your appearance introduces you before you even say a word. Whether you took the time to take care of yourself this morning before you left the house represents how you feel about yourself inside. Furthermore, you may bring your baggy Thailand pants and show up and feel quite uncomfortable in an environment where everyone is well-dressed. So, if you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb, be immediately identified as a tourist, or be uncomfortable, dress nicely!
The prices you pay at restaurants already reflect tipping and taxes. It is custom to leave a few coins if the service was great but this is not necessary. The French earn a living wage and don’t rely on customers tips to make a living. In taxis, it is customary to tip 10% of your bill, so if your taxi is 10 Euros, 1 Euro tip will do. At the theaters, it is custom to tip the usher a couple of Euros for seating you.
Paris is so rich with history. To come to this city and not know about WWII, about Impressionism, about theater, about food, about the catacombs and so on would be such a shame. Take the time to educate yourself. Pick a few things that naturally stand out to you and dive in. You won’t regret it.
Many cathedrals have a strict no-photos policy. Be sure to find out before you start snapping away. In restaurants and bars, don’t be that foreigner causing a mild case of blindness from the flash. As always, only take direct photos of people if you have their consent beforehand. There are plenty of street vendors and folks who would be happy to be in your photo, but there are even more who would rather not. Respect their privacy. Also, can we please come together to stop this narcissist trend that is dominating travelers – selfies everywhere? Let’s go back to the basics and actually savor the moment. Of course, take photos, but the emphasis should be on your experience, not your Instagram or Facebook feed. Greeting: Called la bise, the French stick to the custom of two kisses: one on each cheek. Go to your left first! This will get easier the more you do it, but know that you could end up kissing someone on the lips if you screw this up. (Left, first, remember.) In professional settings, a handshake will do.