Is there a worse city in the world to be marked out as a tourist?
Maybe, but we haven't been sneered at by a waiter there yet.
But you don't have to be the bumbling out of towner.
Stick to a few rules (actually 11) and you'll fit right in.
1. Bone up on the latest films and exhibitions
Dinner chat in Paris is dominated by culture and opinions, so read Le Monde or Libération for the latest.
Le Monde comes out around 3 p.m., so you can easily grab a copy and read the headlines en route to le diner -- nobody will pay that much attention to what you say, anyway, before interrupting.
In October, you can join the strutting vernissage (opening night) of the FIAC, a contemporary art fair and annual glam gathering.
In the celluloid division, be sure to mention seeing an obscure independent film at the slick MK2 Bibliothèque (French site only).
2. Sort out the coffee minefield -- fast
Always drink a Parisian espresso after lunch or dinner, never white coffee, ordering simply "un café" to designate the little black one.
For breakfast, don't ask for soupy café au lait, but rather the stronger crème, petit or grand.
A noisette (macchiato) is also standard.
Unless you're in or near one of the top patisseries, croissants in cafés are often tasteless sponges. But as a Parisian you should be whippet thin, anyway, and rarely in need of bread products.
To really do the coffee thing right, sit for a few hours over a black coffee, moodily flicking through a paperback or Le Monde, though in reality people-watching from behind your Ray-Bans.
3. Treat waiters as equals
Parisian waiters are professionals, not students or unemployed actors, and they expect to be treated with respect.
Bark your order, make a smart insider joke (reference latest political scandal) and drop a few coins before you sweep onward.
4. Stand up to civil servants
Develop a snippy attitude toward any fonctionnaire (civil servant), who are notoriously tough, even obstructive, nuts in France.
Don't be cowed -- keep the upper hand by using an assertive, informed tone.
The fonctionnaire revels in the power they wield from desks on which a bottle of mineral water is firmly planted -- they believe it makes them lose weight.
Their jobs are for life, and resignation is unheard of.
5. How to dress -- women
Wear primarily black, keeping a casual, just out of the sheets look by day and a more primed, predatory look by night.
Accessories are key so invest heavily in shoes and watches.
Perfumes follow, preferably something ethereally obscure from Dipthyque or L'Artisan Parfumeur.
Kit yourself out at Merci (111 boulevard Beaumarchais, +33 01 42 77 00 33), the cult concept store near the Bastille, or at the style emporium Colette in the rue Saint Honoré (No. 213; +33 1 55 35 33 90).
Adopt a younger lover for illicit coffees in the romantic backstreets of the Left Bank, and use a Vélib (hired bike) to get around, no helmet of course.
6. How to dress -- men
Like the iconic existentialist pinup, Albert Camus, turn up your (black) coat or jacket collar, stick a Gauloise in your mouth and puff away -- or pretend to.
Smoking is still cool and even in deep midwinter pavement café heaters cater to the inveterate nicotine fiend, environment be damned.
Serge Gainsbourg is another defunct role model, a poetic, rock 'n' roll roué who managed to sing with a cigarette drooping from his lower lip and stiff drink in hand.
The Parisian celeb not to model yourself on is Johnny Hallyday, a perma-tanned crooner of beyond pensionable age.
7. Shun the suburbs
Only stay intramuros
No respectable Parisian lives outside the city, as the very word banlieue (suburb) brings shivers to their stylish souls.
The faubourgs, once looked down upon as too prolo (proletarian), are now considered ultra-hip, with more space at less cost.
If you decide on an extended stay, first-floor apartments with high ceilings are tops, though a fifth floor walk-up is perfectly acceptable. Kitchens aren't important, as you always eat out.
8. Learn to be a flâneur, i.e. stroll aimlessly