How to survive in Paris
without speaking French

From local habits to typical sayings and various faux-pas, learn to master a few technical and social codes to survive in the Parisian jungle.

How to survive in Paris ©How to survive in Paris

Experience Paris as a local

Paris being one of the most visited cities in the world, the autochthon wants to stand out from travellers. The true Parisian at heart follows the au-then-tic way of life. Here’s the good news : they are quite easy to copy. For instance, you can stroll around the neighbourhood markets, visit the forgotten museums or the smallest cinemas, have a drink on a café terrace… Discover 8 ways to visit Paris like a local.

Most importantly : Parisians never doubt themselves. So even when you feel a little lost, pretend to be perfectly at ease… In other words, ‘fake it until you make it’ - Parisians adore speaking Frenglish.

Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French ©Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French

Learn the Parisian language

According to Alexandre Dumas, the writer of Camille, “God invented Parisians so that foreigners could not understand a single thing about French people”. More than a century and a half later, this statement may still be true. Additional challenge : there isn’t “one” Parisian language but several.

Starting with the “bobo” (bourgeois-bohemian) dialect : “I know the best poké bowl in Paris. Chill, it’s gluten free”. The “snobbish” : “I’m going away to the countryside because ICC (I can’t cope) with Paris anymore but I’ll BRB (be right back) for our brunch”. The “young dynamic executive” : “I’m underwater, can we schedule a brainsto ASAP ? - Maybe in 5, I’ve got something urgent in the pipe”... who needs to relax after a tough day : “Shall we have an afterwork ?”.

Thankfully, the “nerd” still preserves the linguistic heritage of Paris with historical sayings. For example, “We’re not going to wait 107 years” in reference to the time needed to build Notre-Dame Cathedral (who cares if it is inaccurate by a decade). 

If you don’t know which dialect to choose, you can bet on a shared Parisian classic : sighs. In the end, “ça passe crème” (easy as pie) !

Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French ©Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French

The metro : for better or worse

There are two kinds of Parisians : those who know the map of the underground by heart (and take pride in it) and those who have sworn never to set foot in the tube again (because it is ‘so has-been’). What matters is to choose a side.

If you adopt the ‘metro team’, ensure to remember the districts served by each line, and if you can, the wagons which will position you in front of the exits. Because there is nothing less Parisian than forgetting to turn around on line 14 to face the platform of Gare de Lyon.

But if green (transport) is the new black for you, journeys on foot, Velib cards and electric scooters are your allies. Feel free to set an example for Parisians by obeying the traffic rules and parking your scooter out of the way.

Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French ©Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French

Take part in a local community

To nurture the homelike feeling in a big city, Parisians live in their neighbourhoods as in small villages. 

Some districts of Paris, as the 9th arrondissement preserved from mass tourism, have kept a warm and human atmosphere. Around Maison Mère, Village Montholon gathers a community of inhabitants, merchants and artisans who know and support each other on a daily basis. Every week, these Parisians go to their cheesemaker, their cellarman, their flower shop… and will be more than pleased to introduce you if you encounter them at Maison Mère.


Avoid the most touristic places

The Champs-Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur or the best gardens of Paris, “we see them everyday, let’s move on”.

If these monuments attract loads of people, there is a reason. Not visiting them would be regrettable, but so would be not visiting the discrete and authentic spots of the capital. It is this true Paris full of charm that Maison Mère enhances through her anchorage in Paris 9, her partnerships with neighbour artisans and merchants, and her events which gather the Entire Paris under her roof.

Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French ©Maison Mère - Paris without speaking French

Maison Mère : the meeting point between Parisians and travellers

Maison Mère, more than a 4* hotel in the heart of Paris, is a genuine living place and a meeting point between Parisians, creators, artists and guests from all horizons, where every friend’s friend is welcome. 

From weekend brunches to dinner parties, artistic exhibitions, creative workshops and frenzied evenings, the House vibrates in resonance with encounters and festivities.

Thanks to our experiential packages and personalized attentions, enjoy your stay in Paris like a fish in water… or a Parisian on a terrace.


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