Ditch the 'Tourist' Tag: A dive into How to Look and eat like a local in France

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Image Ditch the 'Tourist' Tag: A dive into How to Look and eat like a local in France

1. Repetition is Fine

In France, wearing the same thing twice in one week is not a fashion crisis. It’s the key to daily fashion in France. Capsule wardrobes for the win! This is great news for your suitcase. Rather than creating a lineup of completely different outfits, focus on packing a few key pieces. Bring a nice coat or blazer, a pair of quality shoes, and one or two pairs of nice pants.

Paris is known for the fashion and elegance of its inhabitants

As far as shoes go, avoid flip-flops and clunky, white tennis shoes; what you wear on your feet should be both stylish and comfortable, as you’ll be walking quite a bit. For pants, wearing jeans is fine as long as they aren’t scuffed or faded. You could also throw in a nicer pair of slacks in case you end up going to a nice restaurant or club. Ladies, don’t forget to throw in a dress or two! You can get away with spending weeks in France with just a little carry-on if you’re able to mix and match.

“Le Café de la Nouvelle Mairie” in the 5th arrondissement

Café de la Nouvelle Mairie

Café de la Nouvelle Mairie

Located a two-minute walk from the Pantheon, the « Café de la Nouvelle Mairie » is a typical bistro. In the heart of the student area of Paris, the restaurant is often filled with students, teachers, and musicians. With a façade dating from 1927, the place was perfectly renovated with a typical French decoration, a zinc counter, old parquet, mosaic, etc. The welcoming staff adds to the charming atmosphere. The owner is a wine lover, and especially of organic wines so he has made his restaurant one of the best addresses in Paris for these wines from boutique wineries.

2. Wear a Scarf

Scarves are another basic that you should pack to switch up your wardrobe. In France, scarves are popular year-round; they are more of a fashion statement than a tool to combat cold weather. If you want to know how to not look like a tourist in Paris, simply throwing (or wrapping) on a scarf will instantly give you more of a French look. Add a fashionable scarf that’s right for the season to your packing list, or if you don’t have one, it might be fun to buy one of these iconic French accessories while you’re there.

Scarves are popular for men as well. So guys, if you’re in France during a chilly season, don’t be afraid to bundle up!

Couple walking in Montmartre, Paris
Natural hair and scarves are key features in the French ‘look’

“Le Pantruche” in the 9th arrondissement

Le Pantruche

Le Pantruche

Located in the So-Pi district (South Pigalle), the Pantruche – a slang word for “Parisian” – is a French bistro with filling and complex cuisine. The menu changes every month and proposes typical French recipes with a modern twist such as “Tender scorpion fish”, “Mackerel with red berries from my stepfather’s garden” and the famous “Soufflé au Grand Marnier”. It also offers a wide selection of fine wines that will perfectly match your dishes. The Chef studied in the best Michelin-starred restaurants of Paris. He worked with Christian Constant, a famous French Chef who cooked at the Ritz and the Crillon Palace hotels. The restaurant was elected “Best Bistro of Paris” by the Fooding guide few years ago. So, if you want to have the chance to eat at the Pantruche once, you’d better make a reservation several days in advance.

“Le Métropolitain” in the 4th arrondissement

Metropolitain

Metropolitan

Located in Le Marais district but away from the crowd, the “Métropolitain” was taken over by a former candidate of Top Chef (the famous TV show), Paul-Arthur Berlin. His offer is traditional French cuisine made with fresh produce coming directly from the market like “Cod with a parmesan crust” or “Whitefish with beans and piquillos”. I especially love the very good value for the money of Le Métropolitain. Have a taste of its gastronomic cuisine for a reasonable price: the 2-course prix fixe formula costs 19 euros and a 5-course tasting menu is available at dinnertime for 45euros. The dining room is quaint and decorated in the style of a Parisian Metro station. This is the kind of place you have to know about or you would miss the tiny and hidden Rue de Jouy. A true insider address!

Le Métropolitain 8, rue de Jouy 4th arrdt 

3. Black is the New…Black

Everyone wants to know how to look French, and the answer is to simply wear black. Black never seems to go out of style, especially in France. This isn’t to say that everyone wears black all of the time, but it is a safe color to don if you’re in doubt. Fashion in France, just as with most European countries, is all about neutral colors rather than big, bright colors or flashy prints. Besides, it’s easier to match clothes with wardrobe basics if you don’t need to put much effort into avoiding clashes.

“La Rotisserie” in the 5th arrondissement

La Rotisserie

La Rotisserie

Located just in front of the Saint-Louis island and near Notre-Dame, “La Rotisserie” is known as the little sister of the “Tour d’Argent”, one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. Its cuisine is typically French and traditional. You can find the famous “Coq au vin” that I used to eat as a child, the “Escargot de Bourgogne” or the “Côte de Boeuf Salers”, various classical recipes that made the reputation of French gastronomy. The wine menu is very selective, with special attention given to Beaujolais wines.

4. Hair and Makeup is “Au Naturel”

While France–Paris in particular–is often seen as the fashion capital of the world, this doesn’t mean women glob themselves with makeup and spend hours making sure their hair is perfect. Makeup is actually viewed as more attractive when barely any is used. If you really want to know how to look French, a natural, glowing skin look instead of caking on creams and powders is definitely the way to go.

Gargoyle looking over Paris at night
Not only is Paris beautiful, but it’s also fashionable as well - learning how to dress like the French will give you a whole new understanding of style.

A similar strategy is used for hair. Rather than flat ironing curly hair and curling straight hair, French women wear their hair as-is. It’s not a big deal if there are a few weird kinks or if a strand is out of place. They make it work. It’s all about playing up natural features that give you that
je ne sais quoi.

“L’Ebauchoir” in the 12th arrondissement

L'Ebauchoir

L’Ebauchoir

“L’Ebauchoir” opened in 1995 and is now a landmark of the Aligre district, in the Eastern side of Paris. This is the place to go to with your friends and have passionate philosophical discussions while drinking good wine. This restaurant will also surprise your palate with a traditional French cuisine associated with an inventive touch from other countries. Look forward to dishes like “Zander net with chorizo cream” or “Rack of lamb with tapenade and Curcuma”. The wines are exclusively local with representation from most of the main French wine regions. The decoration is retro and cheerful, with big mirrors, wooden tables, and old tiles.

L’Ebauchoir 42, rue de Cîteaux 12th arrdt 

5. Shorts & T-shirts Are Out

Sorry guys, but if you are in the habit of dressing “American,” you’ll have to learn to branch out when you go abroad. Shorts and a loose-fitting t-shirt of your college’s mascot just don’t fit in with clothing worn in France at all. Unsurprisingly, fashion in France demands a little more from your outfits. Instead consider wearing polos, button-up shirts, or fitted t-shirts under a sports jacket or leather coat. Running shorts and t-shirts are out for the ladies, as well (unless you’re actually running/at the gym).

View of Paris, France
Paris is known for the fashion and elegance of its
inhabitants

“Les Petits Plats” in the 14th arrondissement of Paris

Les Petits Plats

Les Petits Plats

Les Petits Plats” is a restaurant that has made its reputation thanks to its quality and convivial atmosphere. It is located at the corner of Villa d’Alésia, a charming cobblestone street with artist workshops as if it was the “café of the village square” in the small French villages. This is my childhood’s district and every time I eat there it feels like a Proust’s Madeleine to me! As per the food, the restaurant’s name stems from the tapas style small portions which allow you to taste several specialties of the house in one meal. Quality products are mixed to compose a refined French cuisine re-interpreting the classics. The wine menu is also very comprehensive, made of French “Grands Crus” and small traditional winemakers.

Les Petits Plats 39 rue des plantes 14th arrdt

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