Paris Culture: Do’s and Don’ts

Taking a trip to Paris, the City of Lights, can be one of the best experiences of your life. Filled with iconic attractions, world class restaurants and plenty of romance, you are certain to be left dazzled by this amazing capital.

However, as with every foreign country that you visit, to get the most out of your trip you should be aware of the culture and what is acceptable and not. This is a guide to some of the things you should try to avoid doing and do your best to do to help your trip be a smooth one.


While the local Parisians would never be so rude as to mention it, if walk up to a restaurant or attraction wearing trainers, a money belt and shorts, you may as well have carried a sign above your head telling everyone in the area that you are a tourist.

Many of the Parisians will be dressed in a casual but stylish outfit if they are not heading to work, although don’t be surprised to see many restaurants filled with people in suits. If you are planning on visiting some of the more upscale restaurants in the city, you will need to bring your own suit and tie for you to be able to dine there.


While you may have some certain opinions on different matters such as political correctness, animal rights, sex, smoking and drinking, assuming that these views are shared by Parisians would be a mistake.

As Paris, and France, has a different culture to many places in Europe, their views on the same subjects will more than likely be different, so try to keep your opinions to yourself to avoid any confrontation.

Cafe Etiquette

If you take a trip to a cafe in Paris, you will notice there are three prices on the menu for drinks and food. This is because in cafes, you get one price for sitting indoors, one price for sitting at the counter and another price for sitting outside. Outside tables are the most popular, and most expensive, due to it allowing the locals to enjoy one of their favourite pastimes, people watching.


Generally, any cafe or restaurant that you visit in the city will add a 15 percent service charge to your bill. This is your standard tip, although if you would like to tip the waiter or waitress directly then this is up to your discretion. Additional tips are appreciated more due to the money going directly to your host.

If you’ve decided to book flights to Paris, and you want to take a taxi from the airport, tipping is expected, although it should usually just be a case of you rounding up to the nearest Euro. Ushers in theatres and cinemas also expect a small tip, nothing more than two Euros for an usher in the theatre and a euro for a cinema usher.

Porters generally expect that you give them a Euro per bag that they carry, while it is customary to tip a couple of Euros to your tour guide.

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