Preparation is key when it comes to having a successful and enjoyable trip to Paris, France. Travel tips from a reliable and knowledgeable source are a big step in the right direction. At Executive Class Travel, we provide useful Paris travel tips on everything from money to French business etiquette. We’ll even ensure that you arrive rested and ready to go by offering you the opportunity to purchase a discount first class ticket from us. With our help, you’ll come out on top whether you’re in a corporate meeting or enjoying the beauty of Paris in your free time.
Generally, crime isn’t something that you’ll need to be overly concerned with while in Paris; however, it is something that you need to be aware of and know how to avoid. One of the main concerns for business travelers is theft, including pickpocketing. The best way to avoid an incident is to always be cautious about your belongings and aware of your surroundings. If you need the police or an ambulance, call 112. Dialing 17 is another way to contact the police. It also may be helpful to know the French way to call for help, which is “Au secours!”
An inability to power up your electronics can be a problem when the purpose of your visit is to conduct business in Paris. Travel tips will advise you to buy a plug adapter and potentially a voltage converter. Certain electronics, such as laptops, are designed to work with higher voltage and will not require a converter. To determine whether your laptop can withstand a higher voltage, check the back of the power supply to confirm its limits.
We would be remiss if our tips for traveling to Paris did not include information regarding currency. Paris’ currency, which is the euro, is almost comparable to the U.S. dollar. Always check the exchange rates for the exact conversion, however, as it frequently fluctuates. While shopping in Paris, be aware that as a tourist, you’ll be subject to an additional tourist tax. Fortunately, you’ll be eligible for a value-added tax, or VAT, refund if your expenditures exceed 175 euros with any one retailer.
Know When to Tip
Tipping in Paris differs somewhat from tipping in the U.S. Generally, tipping only occurs if someone performs beyond what is expected. When this happens, don’t add the tip to your credit card bill. Instead, coins or cash may be set aside and left behind. In all other cases, tipping is not necessary, as a service charge is added onto the bill.
French Food and Dining
Food and wine are an important part of French culture and can be one of the more enjoyable aspects of your trip to Paris, France. Travel tips regarding food must be taken seriously, whether the setting is a professional one or casual in nature. The French enjoy well-prepared food, with wine and cheese being an important part of the dining experience. You should always use proper table manners when dining, particularly when it’s business-related. Lunches are commonly used to conduct business; however, business and discussions of business are not done during dinner. During business lunches, do not hold your hands below the table or leave food on your plate. Prepare to spend some time, as business lunches are often lengthy affairs.
In France, business professionals keep their personal and business lives separate. This is largely due to mistrust and the fear of wrongdoings in business. Americans conducting business in Paris must keep this in mind and never attempt to cross this line. It is also important to recognize and respect the hierarchy in French business and to understand that there is a vertical line of command. Any meetings held are for the purpose of discussion and not decision-making, which is different for many Americans. Only the higher-ups make decisions, which will likely not be done during the course of a meeting.
When it comes to punctuality, the French are more lenient than in other countries; however, it is still important, and you should strive to arrive within ten minutes of the scheduled time. When setting up a meeting, give two weeks’ advance notice to avoid any scheduling surprises. Surprises such as dropping by one’s home or business unannounced are frowned upon. During the greeting process, French business etiquette requires you to offer a light handshake, with men initiating the gesture. Women may kiss a man on the cheek in greeting; however, this is not a common practice, and men should never initiate it. Address people by their last names or as monsieur or madame.
If exchanging business cards, one should always be handed to the secretary. While the French may exchange gifts upon occasion, it does not occur during the first meeting. If exchanging gifts at subsequent meetings, only do so if the gift is a quality one. Examples of good gifts include flowers, cakes, and candies. When giving flowers, avoid giving 13 flowers, but do give them in odd numbers. Gifts that are considered in poor taste are those bearing your company’s logo, as they will likely be interpreted as rude and crossing the line of being too personal. When entering a room, rank dictates who enters when and where they are seated. As you communicate and negotiate with your French associates, look them in the eye as you speak in a low tone of voice. Don’t be surprised if there are interruptions or questions while you are speaking, as this is a common practice. You should go slowly and take your time going over any pertinent details. Do not try to hard-sell during the meeting or try to pressure anyone. Other behaviors that should be avoided and that are considered rude include publicly yawning, sneezing, or scratching, giving wine at dinner, and making the “OK” symbol with one’s fingers.
Phrases Professionals Should Know
Your French associates may feel insulted if you are unable to speak any of their language. For that reason, it is a smart business move to learn a few phrases. Only speak these phrases when you are able to pronounce and use them correctly, as using them incorrectly can prove to be an even greater insult to a people who take pride in their language. Commonly used words that professionals should learn include “bonjour” for “good day,” “bonsoir” for “good evening,” “au revoir” for “goodbye,” and “Parlez-vous anglais?” for “Do you speak English?”
Passports and Visas
Your passport must have six months of validity remaining and meet the Schengen requirement. Failure to meet this requirement may prevent entry into the country. You may stay in the country without a visa for 90 days, but if you are working for a salary, you will need a work permit.
Things to Do
Once your business is complete, it’s time to acquaint yourself with Paris. Transportation is a simple matter, as the Paris Metro can get you to most places easily. Other options include the Paris RER system, bicycling, and buses. There are many well-known attractions that are a must-see, particularly for first time visitors. These attractions include the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Another popular activity is to take a boat ride on the Seine.
Executive Class Travel is the right place to look for affordable first class tickets online. We’ll not only help you get there in comfort and style for less, but our tips for traveling to Paris can ensure a fun and well-planned trip for all. If you have any further questions, contact us and our customer service team can help.