Tips for Business Travel to France
August 3, 2016 8:11 PM   Subscribe

My husband is traveling to Senlis (seems like a small town north of Paris) at the end of August for 2 weeks on business. He does a ton of domestic travel in the US but this is his first international trip. He does not speak any French, and his top preference would probably be to exist in an isolation pod stocked with protein bars and free weights during the time he is not at the client site. Any tips for making this trip as bearable as possible for him?

He's flying into CDG with a coworkern on Sunday morning , and presumably renting a car to drive to the town, which seems to be about 1/2 hour north of CDG. There are small hotels in the town, but my gut feeling is that he might be better off staying near the airport where he can stay at an American style chain hotel with a gym and get American-ized food that doesn't drive him insane instead of trying to navigate actual French hotels and restaurants. Is this way off base or a good idea? There is basically no guidance from his boss.

Other questions include, are there any tricks to renting a car at the airport? Good supermarkets in the area that are ok for non-French speakers? Good brands of protein powder and bars that are available in France? Can he take a whole bunch of American protein bars/powder with him through customs? I guess he will need to do something with his company issued phone as well to get service there. He has absolutely no desire to go into the city of Paris (has quipped that no American man is less excited to go to Paris since WWII) and plans to fly to Berlin over the weekend to see a friend.

Any general tips for international business travel or to France in particular also welcome.
posted by permiechickie to Travel & Transportation around France (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If he needs a car with automatic transmission, reserving it in advance is standard advice, just to make sure the rental car company has one on hand. Might be less of an issue at a big locale like CDG, but it still wouldn't hurt.

Regarding hotels, there's an Ibis in Senlis, and a Campanile, which I'd guess would be fairly similar to the chain ones in the "hotel village" in Roissy next to the airport, although reviews make them sound rather basic. Neither hotel seems to be listed as having a gym, though.

The map shows a McDonald's a block or two away, and a Leclerc supermarket maybe another block beyond. He'll want to pay attention to the hours that places stay open. McDonald's might be open late, retail stores might not be open as late as an American might expect.

Common cheap lunch for travellers is to go into a bakery and get a sandwich. It's uncomplicated and can be tasty, wouldn't require a lot of navigation. If he's uncomfortable with the possibility of ordering in a restaurant where English might or might not be spoken, I'd expect a hotel restaurant would be a better choice.

Company phone? He'll end up checking with the company to see what's covered. I'd start by assuming that voice coverage will "just work", might be slightly expensive, but data usage might be very expensive if his company's phone plan hasn't considered it.

I could add in all the sorts of things I'd do, but I clearly don't share your husband's tastes from the sound of it. I would mention that driving into central Paris from there could hit really annoying traffic on the way in. If he changes his mind, consider the train as a way into the center of Paris.

He might or might not be interested in Chantilly just to the west. There could be a variety of World War I related sites in the area, if he has an interest around that. Several people I know have enjoyed doing day trips to Reims or Épernay to do champagne tastings, that would be an easy drive just to the east. Anything like that would depend on how many free days he has, though, and if he's using the weekend to go to Berlin, that might use up the free time he'd have for day trips.

I have an anecdote about an oddball friend of mine (not me, seriously) who went on vacation in France with some people at a rented farmhouse, and packed a big unmarked bag of pancake mix in his luggage. He had this odd notion that he'd make breakfast for everyone. Giant bag of unidentified powder led French customs to go over him with a very fined-toothed comb.
posted by gimonca at 8:48 PM on August 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Checking further, that Leclerc looks like it's an auto service location, not a supermarket. But there should be similar places in the area. A Google maps search for Auchan or Carrefour or Casino should show some close by.
posted by gimonca at 9:03 PM on August 3, 2016

Can't your husband just ask his work how the company issued phone stuff works overseas? I mean this sincerely. Why is this your problem?
posted by cakelite at 9:16 PM on August 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

No idea about bringing protein powder but he should be able to buy it at Decathlon which is a big sporting goods chain. He can just type Decathlon into Google Maps. Probably other places too, but this is an easy option.
posted by acidic at 10:33 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even if he speaks very little French, he should at least remember to greet people with 'Bonjour Madame/Monsieur' when he enters... just about anywhere, and 'Au revoir,' when he leaves. The French are BIG on simple courtesies and this will go a long way, especially in small towns where they're not used to foreigners.
posted by Tamanna at 11:04 PM on August 3, 2016 [7 favorites]

Go to and search for Hotels near Senlis. Then choose the map view and filter for fitness centres and anything else applicable. Then, checking availability, narrow it down to say three options (personally, I would stay close to where he's working rather than the airport, as traffic around airports can be terrible). Then, call them and have a chat (in English) about how long it will take to get to work, where the nearest supermarket is, what restaurants are around, where he can get a SIM nearby. Then, choose the one with the most helpful receptionist.

Supermarkets are generally fine for non-native language speakers, as you don't have to talk to anyone until you get to the check out. You just can't be too hung up on finding exactly what you want, as it simply might not be available. And even if it is available, it may taste different. The hotel should be able to help him find friendly restaurants and even give him ideas on what to order.

Prebook your rental and print out the receipt and information. Print out really good directions. Download an offline map for the area (GPS should still work, even with a foreign SIM). Print out the hotel address and phone number. Seriously idiot proof the process of getting from the airport to the hotel, as he'll be sleep deprived and not at his best.

Learn to say hello, goodbye, thank you and 'do you speak English?'. It's polite. Download a translation app.
posted by kjs4 at 11:28 PM on August 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

My tip is to tell him to lose the attitude and have an open mind about experiencing another country. Assuming he will be meeting foreign business colleagues, a disdain for local culture (whether the colleagues be French or not) is likely to put him on the outer and be branded one of *those* Americans. By the sounds of it, he is one of those Americans anyway - as such, realise that that exact attitude is why Americans have a bad name overseas. If you're not digging the experience, at least fake that you are.

More practically, driving (rather than organising a transfer or something) is a sure way to place you in the position of having to interact and understand local norms and put you "outside the bubble". If he can't drive a manual car, make sure he books an automatic in advance, as they are definitely not the norm in Europe, and he may miss out if he attempts a walk up.
posted by ryanbryan at 11:41 PM on August 3, 2016 [20 favorites]

Yelp turns up a branch of Franprix where he'll be able to buy groceries.
The Google translate app was a great help for me.
posted by brujita at 11:51 PM on August 3, 2016

To make his stay easier, i would suggest he tries to find out from the client site what the customs and expectations are there. I assume they speak good english... For example lunch is a big deal in french companies, employees get between 1 and 2 hours to lunch, and that happens either in the company cafeteria for a large place, or in a local café/restaurant. It's very much expected to lunch together with your colleagues/boss/hosts and will be majorly frowned upon if he just skips out to eat his own protein shakes instead of joining. If he's anxious about trying new foods, pizza will be widely available and a safe (if boring) choice.

There's a KFC and Subway within driving distance of Senlis, but french colleagues would probably be horrified at the suggestion to grab lunch there, however he could go on his own for dinner.
There are a couple of gyms in Senlis, he can probably negotiate a 2 weeks membership (or have the client site help him out with this), hotels with gyms are very uncommon in France outside of the big cities, and commuting everyday from Paris/the airport would be a huge pain with traffic jams both ways.

Maybe an airbnb apartment would be better than a hotel room so he can cook his own meals/prepare his protein supplements comfortably? Maybe even look in the listings to see if anyone is renting out a place with home gym equipment (probably not listed but visible in pictures). Or buy a couple of weights at decathlon and train with those for 2 weeks at his rental...

Hopefully the colleague he's travelling with is more adventurous/daring and can help him out navigating this trip, but it's only two weeks so he'll be fine.

I wouldn't bother with getting a SIM in france for this period. It will be a pain and will require french speaking.
His hotel/rental and client site will have wifi for data on his phone, which he can use to call via skype/whatsapp for free. And voice calls not via Wifi are already available on his SIM, just not cheap, but that's for his work to decide what's acceptable for him to bill his company. So basically he's only data-less when out and about which it doesn't sound like he'll be doing much.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 12:09 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Driving in France is different than driving in the US. There are traffic circles everywhere and they can be confusing to scary for drivers unfamiliar with them.

Many French traffic signs don't exist in the US. Your husband should look up some websites that show sample images and describe how to follow them.

A major road going through a small town doesn't necessarily have the right of way at an intersection. Often times, the car on the right on a small, perpendicular road has precedent to the car on the main road entering an intersection at the same time.

I recommend downloading the free Here Maps app and also downloading the free local area map inside the app for driving and walking directions. The app works offline using GPS, requiring no cellular data, and provides very accurate turn-by-turn driving directions.
posted by praiseb at 1:14 AM on August 4, 2016

Also, when I booked a French rental car online this spring, the receipt warned that I needed an international driver's permit. That turned out to be unnecessary when the car renter has a license with a Latin alphabet, so my Canadian driver's license was all they needed.
posted by praiseb at 1:20 AM on August 4, 2016

I would encourage you to encourage him to treat this as the opportunity (of a lifetime?) it is. Most people would kill to get a couple of weeks in France paid for by somebody else, and while he obviously has to do the work, he should be prepared for his hosts to want to show him (or allow him time to experience) something of the culture and countryside, just as you would if the roles were reversed. I assume he would get weekends free, and be aware that daylight can last longer than at home (ie the sun sets later) - this was a pleasant surprise to me, and facilitated much after-work exploration.

I was lucky enough to have a work-paid three week trip to Paris many moons ago, and my hosts allowed me plenty of time (eg start early, finish early) to explore the city. I travelled all around on the Metro and inter-city rail - do not underestimate just how good these are.

Subsequently I have driven in Europe, and it is a new experience, especially for those of us used to RHD cars - a driver from a LHD country will have an easier time for that reason, but he needs to bone up on the traffic rules and signs if he is going to drive (especially the autoroutes and the roundabouts). Do not attempt to drive in Paris, better to drive to a town with a rail station and catch the train.

I suggest he think about some things he might like to see, locally or next door in Chantilly which is very close, or even a weekend in Paris. Google, search on here, and if necessary a separate question framed around his interests should flood you with suggestions.
posted by GeeEmm at 2:28 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If he's that worried about travelling in a foreign country, staying at the CDG airport is indeed a good idea. The Oceania Hotel at CDG has a gym for instance and a good restaurant, wifi etc. (I did not stay but attended a conference there). The trip from CDG to Senlis is just 25 min, mostly on the A1 highway, so it's straightforward and there's a gas station on the way. Renting an automatic car is not a problem (automatic cars are getting more common these days in France and I've rented automatics at CDG) but be sure to rent it in advance with a GPS so that he can navigate the last kms (and many roundabouts...) between the highway and his final destination. Note that CDG at the end of August is a crazy place, with hundred of thousands of tourists leaving or coming home, so booking the hotel and car should be done ASAP.
Not sure about the protein bars: it's not a popular food item in France and brands/packaging may be different so if he is worried about finding his preferred brand, better bring some.
Other than that, when he is with his colleagues in Senlis, it's a "When in Rome" situation: be nice and go with the flow.
posted by elgilito at 2:54 AM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

An excellent piece of advice for him is that any country is what people make of it. If he goes to France expecting it to be... whatever it is he expects it to be, that is exactly what he'll see. If he goes with an open mind, he will, on the other hand, be surprised. If he shows the best of himself, then he will also know that whatever he experiences will have been due to the best of himself.

My parents had a very similar attitude and rented an automatic in spite of my recommendations to use public transportation, which is among the best in the world. Also, the apps for it are in English now (look for RATP, it's the public transport in the Paris area, including suburbs). Needless to say, a few hours of driving in France and my parents were cursing at how awful driving in France was. Can he at least download the RATP app? Or check out the public transport user guide (PDF)? He does realize that road signs will all be in French, yes? Public transport also has the advantage of having actual, understandable translations and user habits that are similar to elsewhere in the world.

As for hotels, there are plenty and they're all quite American so that won't be much of a change.

Seconding that Decathlon is a great chain for finding sports nutrition. It will be in French, but "protein" is "protéine" so that's not much of an ask.

Also seconding to say "Bonjour" and "Au revoir" unless he wants to also come across like my parents did, and have people still talking about how rude he was twenty years later. (Yes. This happened/happens.) He works in a business. If he doesn't want to do it for himself, he can at least do it for his employer's reputation.

If I sound cranky, hey, I'm American and guess what, I pay for our country's reputation of boors as well. Yesterday (seriously) I overheard a young woman crying about her boyfriend to her friend, because her boyfriend had said to her, and I quote (translated from French naturally): "I can't believe you missed your commuter train! How stupid can you be?! Even Americans manage to figure out our public transportation!" There is also the expression "are you taking me for an American?" where "American" means "fool". So perhaps maybe also have a patriotic thought for other Americans.
posted by fraula at 3:18 AM on August 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

Funnily enough I've done the exact same thing to francophones. Assholedom is transnational.

Honestly - France is a first world European country
Most things you husband will encounter on a two week trip- from renting a car to staying in a hotel aren't really very different from how things work in the US. Stay at a chain like an ibis, get a pass at a gym, dine at chain type places. You can easily treat it like being at an office park in Dallas if that's what you want. Especially if it's an American company the employees there will already know whats going on. I wouldn't worry about this at all. I completely understand where you husband is coming from and really, this won't be that different from US business travel if that's what he wants.
posted by JPD at 4:13 AM on August 4, 2016

Here's my standard list I give to Americans visiting France:

Bring no weapons: America has a very different concept of weapons than France, and it catches travellers out surprisingly often. In particular, do not bring containers of chemical irritants like Mace, do not bring knives including folding or locking blades like penknives, and be cautious with dangerous sports equipment like baseball bats and keep them out of sight. In general, if an object can be used to hurt someone, and you don't have a good reason for carrying it, French law will class it as a weapon.

Know the emergency number: The European emergency line can be reached from any phone by dialling 112. It works just as well for tourists as it does for the locals, and you should have no hesitation in calling if it's a genuine emergency. It's generally free for the initial emergency response, but please take out some travel insurance so that any hospital care is covered.

French car laws are strict: France has some of the most stringent road safety laws in the world, and you should read the travel advice before you pick up your car. In particular, France requires some safety equipment such as a reflective vest, a warning triangle and some breathalysers to be carried in your car. These can be provided with your hire car, but you should check with your hire company to make sure!

Plan your dietary requirements: The French cuisine is rightly world famous, but may not provide options that Americans are used to. There often aren't many vegetarian or vegan options, and it's always sensible to check for any allergy problems before ordering a meal anywhere you go. France has an incredible selection of great places to eat, from famous traditional restaurants to all the biggest chains, so it's simply a case of shopping around.

Don't worry too much about the culture: The French can be quite forthright with their opinions, and outside of major cities often don't have much experience with foreign languages, and this often leads to tourists getting a much harsher impression of the country than the French themselves actually intend. Americans are perfectly welcome in France, even if it doesn't always seem so!
posted by Eleven at 4:32 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Any general tips for international business travel or to France in particular also welcome.

I have done a fair amount of international travel for work, and my best tip for making it bearable would be to not hole up inside a hotel avoiding anything French. He might not be interested in visiting France, but since he is visiting France whether he wants to or not, trying to insulate himself from the French-ness of it is only going to make this a more miserable and isolating trip than it needs to be.

A big part of this is an attitude shift away from "France - weird, foreign and terrifying!". He doesn't need to eat in the hotel every night to avoid strange French food - France isn't all Michelin-starred restaurants and snails and frog's legs. There will be plenty of restaurants where he can get, say, bog-standard pizza or pasta. He doesn't need to speak fluent French to get by - he just needs to make an effort to learn a few words for niceties, but he is not going to struggle to buy food in one of the biggest international tourist destination locations in the world.

And, you know what, yes he should see Paris. Get an open-topped tourist bus (commentaries available in English! they are used to tourists!), go and see the Eiffel tower, whatever. Again, he really doesn't need an interest in French culture to do this - but it will give him a break from staring at his hotel room walls for a few weeks, and it will make him feel a bit less like "this place is weird and scary and I don't belong here" for the whole time.

I have taken this approach in various places - including Paris, including places where I spoke virtually none of the language, and including places a lot less set up for international visitors than where he's going. It doesn't need to be a full-on tourist experience. Even if you only go out to eat once, even if you only visit one tourist thing, even if you just go out for a walk and look at the buildings one evening - it really helps.
posted by Catseye at 4:36 AM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

One thing that might help is to become "fluent" in restaurant menu French before he goes. That should take some of the intimidation factor down a couple of notches. This can be accomplished through websites like this one or by looking up French restaurants in your area and reading the menus (which will almost certainly have an English description next to the French name of the dish).

It might also be reassuring that French food is really truly most often basic/simple food prepared really, really well. I mean, a "jambon buerre" is just ham and butter on a baguette but all three components are usually high quality and delicious all on their own.
posted by GamblingBlues at 5:53 AM on August 4, 2016

I'll mention that I found French or Foe by Polly Platt to be a fun and entertaining read about cultural differences between the US and France. It's maybe slightly dated now, but there are good chapters around dealing with culture in the workplace.
posted by gimonca at 7:28 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Any tips for making this trip as bearable as possible for him?

The only tip I consider worthwhile is to keep an open mind when visiting a foreign country. And I’d say this of any country on earth. Any other attitude usually leads to a miserable stay and reinforced prejudices. Take it from someone who's travelled a lot internationally and to plenty of not-so-friendly places.

This being said, renting a car from Roissy CDG airport is a no brainer. All the international rental companies are there: Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Dollar, Budget, Europcar, etc. and it’s pretty easy to ask for a car with automatic transmission and a decent GPS - at the time of booking!

It would be much better to get to Senlis on Sunday morning as he arrives, rather than try to do it on Monday morning, with traffic. This would enable him to find a hotel, scout the city and find his bearings before he starts his work week. Any visit to TripAdvisor and the like will give you a list of hotels to choose from. There’s a Best Western hotel just 9 km from Senlis. France has improved a lot in that respect in the past couple of decades, and most receptionists would speak some English. They should also be his first go to resource when trying to find protein bars (WTF?) and a gym near the hotel.

Something I would also encourage him to do is to use Google maps to pre-view Senlis, and get a feel of the place before he travels there. Things may appear less dauting once you know what to expect. And I really love their 360° feature.

...his top preference would probably be to exist in an isolation pod stocked with protein bars and free weights during the time he is not at the client site.

But this, really, is sad!
posted by Kwadeng at 7:34 AM on August 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would not recommend staying near Roissy/Charles de Gaulle and commuting. What looks like a 30-minute drive might take a lot longer at rush hour, especially as most people will have finished their vacation and be back to work by then. Besides, Senlis is charming.

Staff in hotels, shops, and restaurants will generally speak enough English to get by. Most younger French people have studied English for several years in school, and will understand it well enough if it's spoken slowly. They may find speaking uncomfortable because English is still often taught the way French is: with an emphasis on grammar and on getting everything perfect, not actually communicating effectively. That said, you don't want to presume that anyone you meet speaks English.

As others have mentioned, greeting people when you arrive and saying goodbye when you leave will get you a long way. Have your husband memorize a few handy phrases (check for pronunciation):

"Bonjour, Monsieur" - Hello, sir
"Bonjour, Madame" - Hello, ma'am
"Au revoir, Monsieur/Madame" - Goodbye, sir/ma'am
"Parlez-vous anglais ?" - Do you speak English
"Désolé !" - Sorry!
"Désolé - je ne parle pas français" - Sorry, I don't speak French
"Pardon !" - Excuse me!

There's a fitness club in Senlis that's open 7 days a week. Your husband could contact them in English to ask about a short-term membership. The page is in French, but I bet if he entered his information in English he'd get a response. The fields are Name, Telephone, Email, and Your Message.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:37 AM on August 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Regarding driving in France: different people have different opinions and approaches. I personally found driving in France to be a joy the great majority of the time.

I love the roundabouts, and wish we had more of them in Minnesota. The basic rules for a small roundabout are: 1. yield going in and 2. signal going out. You're unlikely to run into anything large and complicated out in the countryside.

The typical autoroute speed limit is 130 kph, which is about 82 mph in American, which is a very civilized setting to drive at IMHO. Signage tends to point to things and places, rather than the US habit of having road signs that point to other roads. The overall experience to me was smooth and well-designed. (Do be aware of the possibility of tolls on the autoroute.)

Senlis is right up the freeway from the airport, pointing away from the city, you couldn't have an easier route to navigate. The only potential downside would be the outskirts of Paris big-city traffic--he could ask people at his client how that could affect things.

And yeah, none of this advice applies to central Paris. You could totally drive there--if you want to sit stuck in your car for long sessions. Paris public transport at all levels is amazing, so there's no need to drive in the city itself.
posted by gimonca at 7:41 AM on August 4, 2016

Best answer: Does he have a chip and pin card, either through work or a personal one? I feel like most of the banks have been sending out replacements, but I mention it just in case. I feel like it's gotten harder to use a regular stripe card outside the US. Places take them but there's usually some little pause or snafu, and when you're just trying to quietly buy some bananas without having to talk to anyone, it can rattle you a little. Or carry cash.

Take a folding shopping bag. I once got into a confused argument in a supermarket years ago in Germany because I didn't understand the plastic bags weren't free.

I'm an introvert who likes to travel and enjoys engaging in everyday life like going to the supermarket, but sometimes I just can't even. Every meal starts to feel like a chore. That's when I hide in my hotel and eat my granola bars. So I get it.
posted by cabingirl at 7:41 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On preview, cabingirl just barely beat me here, I was queueing up a mention about credit cards as well. I'm going to go ahead anyway...

Before you go, set a travel plan or notification on your credit cards, definitely your personal ones, check to see if your company ones will need it. It has become easy to do--almost every big banks lets you do this online with a couple of clicks. Just say you're going to France (and Germany, for Berlin).

If you can, carry multiple cards in case one decides not to cooperate for whatever reason.

Most US credit cards now have the chip. Very few, though, are fully functional chip-and-pin. Almost all are chip-and-signature. This will mean two things:

1. You'll see local people entering a numeric pin on the terminal when they use their card. You won't get to do this; instead, a bit of paper will get spat out, like in the US, for you to sign. It shouldn't be a big deal, but it's becoming more likely that you'll run into places that don't bother replacing the paper, young people running the terminal who don't understand the issue, and so on. Theoretically, you could still swipe a US card with the magnetic stripe ("glisser"?), but that's becoming more rare.

2. Europe in general and France in particular have a lot of standalone kiosk places that accept credit cards, but due to the cost of keeping a phone or network connection live all the time, they may use a store-and-forward process where they validate the purchase independently, then forward a batch of transactions later.

How does this affect you? It means that you can only use a fully functional chip-and-pin card at these kiosks. Your American card is probably not going to work.

How does this really affect you? You won't be able to pay at the pump at gas stations. You'll have to pump gas, then go inside to pay. And importantly--you won't be able to get gas after hours in a lot of places. And, after hours could mean "all day Sunday". So, plan accordingly.

It also can affect you at toll booths on the autoroute. Be sure to have a few euros (especially coins) on hand, and aim for a lane that has a human staffing it, if possible.

Besides those two, it can affect you at vending machines, at automated ticket machines in train stations, and other places.

Finally, some good news: the vast majority of ATMs will not have this problem.

Really finally, one bit of ATM advice: if you have a choice, don't let the machine give you 50-euro bills. They're too large to spend comfortably at a lot of places. (However, if you do get could probably spend it at the gas station where your American credit card didn't work at the pump...)
posted by gimonca at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips everybody. I will relay to him. Just to defend him a bit, the work aspect of this trip is planned to be very grueling for him (long days of much mental effort) and the way he deals with that during domestic travel is to have a stable schedule of exercise, food intake, and sleep when he's not working. He has a sensitive stomach and eats a very spare diet (protein shakes, meat, vegetables with little seasoning) when at home, which can be difficult on the road, especially in a foreign country. It also doesn't help that he has to leave me, his 30 weeks pregnant wife, for 2 weeks and he's stressing about it, so I'm just trying to gather information to help him out. He's definitely not a Francophobe, just trying to get through a not great work trip planned last minute by his dysfunctional company.
posted by permiechickie at 8:04 AM on August 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Permichuckie, if that's his diet then he should have a decent time of it in France; I'm Indian and have a rather dismal opinion of French food (yes, blasphemy, I know) because they can't spice for shit. The raw ingredients are REALLY high quality, though, so I would encourage him to keep an open mind.

Also, I definitely recommend either the hop-on/hop-off tour buses or one of the Sandemann's walking tours, if he has a day. It might actually help him to have a bit of a break, and Paris is pretty tourist-friendly.
posted by Tamanna at 9:28 AM on August 4, 2016

Also! if he's got a sensitive stomach, make sure he takes whatever meds he might need with him, as well as a small collection of OTC meds for general ailments in case he's sick on a Sunday and nothing's open.
posted by Tamanna at 9:29 AM on August 4, 2016

Last minute travel is super stressful. That's why I highly recommend finding a hotel with a helpful reception and good reviews for helpfulness. When your tired and hungry and grumpy, it really nice to be able to go downstairs and have someone be friendly and solve your problems for you.
posted by kjs4 at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good advice from Tamanna, just also add that for meds, it's even more important to take even OTC meds with you because there are a lot of things available OTC in the US that aren't available particularly in most continental Europe countries, including many types of painkillers, cold/flu meds etc.
posted by ryanbryan at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2016

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