Debunking the Myths of Paris



Myth: Vacationing in Paris is too expensive.

Truth: Vacationing in Paris can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Museums are reasonably priced, as is the metro.  But if you plan on staying at a five-star hotel and eating at an upscale restaurant every night, then of course your Paris vacation will be pricey.  One cost-effective option to consider is renting an apartment in Paris near the metro, buying some groceries, and cooking instead of going out for every meal.  Not only will you save money, you will also have the opportunity to live like a real Parisian.


Myth: The French are rude.

Truth: This is one of the most common stereotypes about the French.  But it’s usually just about conflicting cultural norms.  As explained in our tips series on traveling to Paris, the French tend to be more reserved when it comes to interacting with strangers.  As a result, you typically won’t see Parisians smiling in passing.  It’s no surprise that foreigners can easily misconstrue their reserved demeanor as “rude”.  In any case, it’s best to try to understand a country’s culture before making immediate assumptions anyway.


Myth: All French people smoke cigarettes.

Truth: Not all French people smoke. However, smoking is socially acceptable, even among young people, in Paris. Since smoking indoors is against the law terraces attract many smokers, so you’ll surely see a lot of them.


Myth: Paris is unsafe.

Truth: Of course, when traveling in a foreign country, you should definitely make safety a priority.  Taking steps, such as keeping valuables hidden, are very important.  However, Paris is relatively safe even compared to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S.


Myth: Everyone in Paris dresses like a runway model.

Truth: Paris is the fashion capital of the world.  But that doesn’t mean all Parisian women are teetering in stilettos and donning designer attire from head to toe when running daily errands.  Generally, Parisians try to uphold standards of formality, and this practice extends to their wardrobe.  They tend to dress in neutral colors and choose classic pieces.  Just keep in mind that even though a t-shirt, gym shorts, and white running shoes are acceptable to wear in the U.S., this attire will probably be considered too casual in Paris.  Aim for an outfit that is comfortable, yet not too casual.

About the Author: Virginia Dillon'