Je ne sais pas "Haircut"
February 22, 2015 7:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Paris this week. I need a haircut. Something fashionable. I barely speak any French. Where should I go, and how do I handle the language barrier without leading to a terrible haircut or uncomfortable situation with the stylist?
posted by schmod to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Find a picture that looks like what you want and take it with you.
posted by something something at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

posted by dmo at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2015

posted by zagyzebra at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2015

Do take a few pictures. Be sure that they're of people with your same face shape and hair texture, or that they're styles that would be appropriate for your face and hair.

Here's a cool article about someone who got a haircut in Paris. Might be helpful.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:53 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I received the best shampoo and cut of my life In Paris on Avenue Victor Hugo. I didn't tell the hairdresser an exact style (we spoke English and French intermittently) and I let him do what he thought. He'd check in along the way, but he was so right.
If you can take pics, it'll obviously help, just like any salon. If you just want a trim, it doesn't really matter that you're getting a trim in Paris.. If you can give up a little control and really do want fashionable, it might turn out amazing.
With the language barrier, be polite and ask in French if they have stylists comfortable with English if you are worried.
posted by lawliet at 8:25 AM on February 22, 2015

Which arrondissement will you be staying in?
posted by ellieBOA at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2015

It might be even easier to bring pictures of yourself that show (more or less) how you like your hair to look vs. how it looks now.

You can also pre-load your phone/notebook with a few key phrases you can just point to (instead of worrying about pronunciation), things like: "plus longue ici, plus court ici, je ne passe (trois) minutes le faire chaque matin, je veux essayer un produit de coiffage nouvelle, je préfére quelque chose plus simple / plus à la mode / plus bouclé / plus comme George Clooney, etc.." Charades will carry you far, too!

Have a great trip (and trim).
posted by argonauta at 8:59 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jean-Louis David is a great chain of hairdressers with lots of locations around Paris.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

I just did this while on a trip in Vietnam. I don't speak a lick of Vietnamese, just went into a barbershop, pulled up old pictures of myself with a fresh haircut I had on my phone, showed it to him, and he nodded and I got a great haircut for $5. It probably helped that I am Asian and had hair similar within the realm of hair he worked with on a regular basis.

Unless you're looking for a brand new style or have very specific style tastes it's hard to go wrong with showing them a picture of a good haircut you've had in the past.
posted by Karaage at 9:59 AM on February 22, 2015

If you'll have a smartphone with you, have google translate in your back pocket, too.
posted by daisyace at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2015

If it helps the thing to say is: "Je voudrais une coupe de cheveux."

zhe voo-DRAY ooon coop duh shuh-VUH
posted by radioamy at 10:37 AM on February 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

My brother was in Paris a few years ago and went for a haircut. He knows some French, but not enough to describe a hairstyle, so he just said un petit peu (a little bit) and held his fingers half an inch apart - "just take off a little bit all over." They seemed to understand each other and the guy pulled out the clippers and got to work. A few minutes later my brother walked out with a brush cut. The guy had thought he was showing how long he wanted his hair to be.

So be careful and do show a picture if you can - easy to be misunderstood!
posted by pocams at 1:29 PM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

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