Paris Travel Etiquette: The 12 Métro Commandments
Posted December 2, 2014 by Aeon Tours
It's no secret that perceived rudeness, even unintentional, is not well-tolerated in Paris. But visitors aren't the only ones who need a gentle reminder, according to the Parisian public transport authority.
In a light-hearted but earnest attempt to curb the faux pas of Parisiens on the métro, the transit authority has condensed 2,000 suggestions from métro and bus users into a set of 12 commandments for métro riders: Manuel de savoir-vivre a l’usage du voyageur moderne (A guide to good manners for the modern traveler).
The guide is light-hearted, punctuated with playful illustrations and French puns. While the guidelines may seem trivial, they offer useful insight into French culture.
Rule #8 is a good example: Say hello to the driver, whether it's a man or a woman. In France, it is expected that you will greet staff and sales clerks with a bonjour, madame or bonjour, monsieur. Forgetting these respectful titles may leave you stranded at the service counter or on the receiving end of a brusque reply.
Read on for the English translation!
1) Be courteous: Understand that the enormous crossed out cigarette is not a work of contemporary art, but a no-smoking sign.
2) Be helpful: That means helping the guy in the Bermuda shirt with a subway map in one hand and his hair in the other.
3) Be polite: Using your phone makes you unbearable.
4) Be helpful: Hold the exit door for the person behind you. In life, never pass on the chance to come across a pretty glance.
5) Be polite: Use your handkerchief, and not just to wave goodbye on the platform.
6) Be helpful: That means taking an old lady's bag... and giving it back to her with a smile at the top of the stairs.
7) Have manners: Share your new musical tastes on your social networks. Today, you can express yourself in silence.
8) Be polite: Say hello to the driver, whether it's a man or a woman.
9) Be courteous: Don't stare at a female rider, even if she has piercing eyes.
10) Be courteous: Don't start a duel with the knight who accidentally steps on your foot.
11) Have manners: On the really hot days, play the penguin and keep your arms at your sides. Hold onto the bottom of the pole, not the top.
12) Have manners: Don't confuse the metro with the bathroom, even if both have tiles on the walls.
View the entire guide, including illustrations, at chervoyageurmoderne.fr.