France is a country that is highly rated by expats offering fine food, a rich cultural life, excellent shopping and a beautiful countryside. The InterNations 2018 Expat Insider survey scored it 34th out of 68 countries with 40% of expats surveyed saying that they planned to stay in France forever and it scored particularly highly in the Quality of Life Index, ranking 19th out of 68 countries.
Expats also agree that learning French can be challenging and if you are moving to Paris, there are some unwritten rules you need to follow if you want your life to progress smoothly – here are some tips to make sure your life in Paris is as perfect as possible:
Be prepared to “do lunch”
If you are used to quickly eating a sandwich at your desk as you work, you will need to change your routine if you move to Paris. The French generally enjoy a one-to-two hour lunch every day and stores often close during lunch. While this may be frustrating if you are used to living a fast-paced life, it’s an important habit to embrace as a lot of business networking takes place over Parisian lunches.
Pay attention to your wardrobe
Doing business in Paris can be a very formal affair and business dress is typically stylish and conservative. Clothes should be of good quality and even occasions that specify ‘informal’ wear still require a tastefully coordinated outfit and often a jacket for men.
Greet the shop staff
It’s important to say “bonjour” when greeting retail assistants and anyone who you want to do business with. The country is founded on liberty, equality and fraternity, which means that everyone expects to be treated with respect and courtesy.
Obey the Metro rules
The metro in Paris copes with more than four million Parisians every day and there is a strict sense of order that applies to keep things moving smoothly. Many rules and regulations are enforced with heavy penalties – so learn what they are and stick to them.
Be prepared for many meetings
The French are very passionate people and it’s part of the Parisian culture to hotly debate issues and expat business people are expected to be able to intellectually defend their positions. Be prepared for many meetings where opinions are strongly voiced.
Be prepared to split the bill
If you are attending a social or work lunch in Paris, it’s polite to split the bill. So if four of you are eating, you will pay a quarter of the meal. Paying for just your own portion is not common policy – so make sure you eat your fair share!
Get ready for the Parisian kiss
While a handshake is regarded as an appropriate greeting for both men and women in Paris, friends and colleagues are known to kiss on the cheek, no matter what the gender. If you are doing a handshake – keep it light and not a show of strength!
Be prepared to play the host
Business deals and friendships are sealed over great cuisine and wine. If you are invited to someone’s home, be prepared to return the favour. Even ‘casual get-togethers’ in France can be quite formal, so dress smart-casual and bring a gift – usually chocolate or flowers. Bringing wine is not a popular option as it could be perceived that your host is not generous with their own supplies.
Refer and earn in Paris
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