Photo: Diana Grytsku/Shutterstock

24 Differences Between Locals and Tourists in Paris

Paris Travel
by Brenna Daldorph Dec 6, 2015

1. Tourists think the accordion players in the metro are cute and quintessentially European; locals sigh and change metro cars.

2. Tourists queue for macarons from La Durée, locals queue at one of the new Burger Kings. If you thought Parisians were into “MacDo,” then you’ve never heard them talk about “BK.”

3. Tourists in Paris wear hiking shoes and backpacks as if they were going to trek through the rainforest in Thailand, while locals wear only black and stride around expertly in heels and/or pointy-toed shoes.

4. Tourists flock to St. Michel for lunch and dinner; locals go to Picard to pick up some frozen gourmet.

5. Tourists eat fries with ketchup; locals eat fries with mayonnaise.

6. Guess who is wearing the beret and the striped shirt? Yes, that’s a tourist with the jauntily tied scarf, too.

7. Tourists think that they can get to Nice for a day trip. Parisians know that they’ll need to take one of their (numerous) days off of work and turn it into a four-or-five-day weekend.

8. Tourists don’t know the numbers of the arrondissements while locals have trouble leaving theirs.

9. Tourists hang out by the Seine while Parisians hang out by the Canal St. Martin.

10. Tourists wish they could use Velib‘ and bike around like they see Parisians doing, but most can’t because the machines don’t accept swipe cards.

11. Tourists show up for dinner at like 6pm while locals are still at work.

12. Tourists wear wedding dresses and tuxedos to pose for pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. A lot of locals don’t even get married; they just end up being PACS-ed and, if they do have a ceremony, it is usually outside Paris.

13. Tourists buy locks to put on the Pont des Arts. Locals know that the locks are a safety hazard and that the city cuts off this symbol of eternal love regularly.

14. Tourists stand in large crowds and stop in the middle of the sidewalk or block metro entrances. Parisians push them out of the way or strategically — yet nonchalantly — hit them in the face with oversized black leather bags.

15. Tourists wear shirts that say ‘I heart Paris.’ Parisians have bumper stickers that say ‘I heart nothing, I’m Parisian.’

16. Tourists come out of grocery stores with plastic bags and shops with paper bags, while every Parisian has multiple cloth bags from Monoprix.

17. Tourists want to go to Disneyland Paris, while a lot of locals venture out to Parc Asterix.

18. Tourists would laugh at you if you said you were going to see the Statue of Liberty in Paris (“Wrong city!”) while locals know that there is indeed a mini Statue of Liberty in Paris.

19. Tourists may mistakenly call the Seine “the river.” Parisians don’t even think of the Seine as a river (and genuinely don’t know what you are talking about if you say “the river.”)

20. Tourists stroll around St. Germain de Près and Île St. Louis, while Parisians soak up the sun on a blanket in Buttes Chaumont.

21. Tourists only want to drink wine in Paris. Parisians love wine, but they also know how to enjoy a good mojito or beer.

22. Tourists sit inside at pretty restaurants while Parisians huddle around tables at outdoor cafés (still managing to look glamorous) in the dead of winter.

23. Tourists want to eat “real” French food at restaurants in Paris. Parisians are basically obsessed with sushi.

24. Tourists are in Paris in August. Parisians are everywhere but Paris in August. 

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