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Her Paris -- How Not to be a Tourist

Little make-up and many brushings...

Personal grooming when it comes to clothes and hair is a priority. The grunge look has yet to really catch on except among some of the younger generation, whose parents moan and groan.

Rarely do French women wear heavy make-up (just a gloss here and there) but they take pride in their hair. French hairdressers must make a fortune streaking hair to give it that sun-bleached look. There are hair salons everywhere and it is not unusual for women to stop in for a brushing which means a shampoo and blow-dry. Even though Paris is no bargain, one can be elegantly coifed for less than $20 in one of these walk-in salons.

Don't be the tourist from Mars...

Another tip for not looking like the tourist from Mars: Don't haul your week's supplies with you when you are out for a simple outing. This doesn't mean no camera, but skip carrying the six guide books you have dragged to Paris to facilitate your sightseeing. Photocopy the section of the guidebook you want to explore that day and buy a plan (map) of Paris to tuck into your purse and carrying pouch. The maps department stores distribute are sure give-a-ways. A word of warning: wear that pouch under your clothes. This is not only for aesthetics but for safety as well. And try your best not to look tentative.

When you are walking together as a group, don't hog the sidewalk so that no one can pass. Parisians tend to be in a hurry, walk fast and resent having to play quarterback. Natives tend to mutter when they have to play dodg'em.

Let me go on record as saying that there is nothing wrong with being a tourist. But you want to give off the best vibes possible. Even though the French have the reputation for not being tourist friendly, just try asking a question with a genuine smile and I suspect you will see their attitude change. The French are becoming increasingly used to foreign visitors (it is one of their largest sources of revenue) but one should exhibit the courtesy he or she would like in return.

Beware doggie doo-doo...

Finally, be very careful. One of the sure ways not to look like a tourist is to look down and not up, gazing at Paris' wonderful architecture! If you continue to look up, you may find yourself stepping into a doggie's souvenir. And, there are many of those! Did you know that there are more dogs in Paris than there are people? Think about it.

Ed. note: Now that you've been properly informed, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, Paris!

Lots of juicy women-centered tours to France

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