A few French phrases will get you far. Smile and say “bonjour” whenever you enter a restaurant or shop, and drop an “au revoir” when you leave (even if you’re at a grocery store). Learn how to order food and ask for directions. If you must speak English, politely ask the listener if they do too (“Parlez-vous anglais?”).
Parisians rarely wear shorts, even during deadly heat waves. You won’t see many locals in baggy t-shirts, either.
Speak quietly at restaurants and cafés. Summon your server with eye contact, a subtly raised hand, or an “excusez-moi.” Your server won’t bring your check until you ask for it.
Quartier Latin/Saint-Germain-des-Prés: centered around the Sorbonne, this is a vibrant student hotspot complete with winding cobbled streets, great brasseries, and the unforgettable Luxembourg Gardens.
Montmartre/Pigalle: come for the views from the steps of Sacré-Coeur, stay for the risque nightlife.
1st arrondissement: see the world’s best art at the Louvre, relax in the colorful Tuileries Gardens, take pictures down the Champs-Élysées from bustling Place de la Concorde, and sip a coffee at a trendy café near Les Halles.