18 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Going to France

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1. Buy a pair of excessively large pants. You will grow into them, trust us.

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2. Practice saying “ça va?” in your bathroom mirror with various inflections, because that’s the most important phrase you’ll be using. “Ça va?” “Ça va.”


3. Go to a wine tasting and try sipping your beverages. Chugging the entire bottle is (bizarrely) not common practice in France.

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4. Read up on the current president. Confirm that he is detested by everyone, and perfect your talking point. “Le con!” works fine.

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5. Start wearing sneakers with jeans (yes, just like your dad). You’ll get used to it… eventually.

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6. Buy and carry around a copy of any Leila Slimani book. You will earn coolness points, even if nobody actually says anything to you about it.


7. Spend hours on your hairstyle to create an I-just-woke-up-like-this-but-I’m-still-stylish ‘do. French women seem to literally wake up like that, but you gotta start somewhere.


8. Work on air kissing people’s cheeks while making that weird kissy noise, without actually pressing your lips to their skin. Consider the hug dead to you. (Warning: Do not mimic E! red carpet footage, you will look foolish.) 

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9. Ease yourself into a bread-and-cheese-centric diet. Consume baguettes and cheese daily to prepare your stomach for what’s to come.


10. A) Learn to drive stick shift, B) get some travel insurance, C) Pray.

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11. Buy a scarf. Rather, buy hundreds.


12. Throw out all of your non-black clothes. 

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13. If you don’t want to learn French, practice your filler words: “Bennnnn,” “Ouaisssss,” “Enfin,” and “Alors” are a solid start.

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14. Non-smokers: download solitaire to your iPhone so you’ll have something to do while your friends are outside taking a smoke break. Smokers: you’re ready to go.

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15. Learn the rules of rugby. And soccer (or should we say “foot”?). Learn to love both… or at least fake it. 

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16. Make your coffees smaller and smaller each morning. When they consist of just one sip, you are ready for French “coffee.” (Emphasis on the air quotes.)

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17. Complain: about the weather, about the traffic, about the educational system. About anything, really.


18. Stop smiling so much. It will give you away. 

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Featured image: Stock Photos from Mauro del Signore /Shutterstock

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