updated 1/4/2007 12:39:24 PM ET 2007-01-04T17:39:24

You don’t need to speak French to understand the Parisians. You just need to know how to gesture.

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Or so claims a new guide issued by French tourism officials to help foreign tourists understand Parisians with a list of commonly used gestures with meanings like “shut up”.

“Blend in by using them the next time you’re in Paris. People will start mistaking you for a native in no time,” says the online guide issued by the Ile-de-France regional committee of tourism at cestsoparis.com.

The city’s famously rude inhabitants have long been a headache for tourism authorities who have made repeated attempts to persuade Parisians to be more friendly to foreign visitors.

The latest campaign appears to cede to the notion that if you can’t beat them, join them.

Its part English-language Web site promises to show people “How to Cop the Parisian Attitude” with games to help them learn commonly employed gestures.

These range from the quintessential “Bof”, a non-committal shrug used to deny knowledge or agreement, to “Camembert”, when the thumb and forefinger are brought together into a circle to tell someone to shut up.

“You don’t need to speak French to understand Parisians or to blend into the crowd,” the Web site says.

“Stick out your lower lip. Raise your eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously.”

The guide is linked to an advertising campaign in London that hopes “to show that Paris isn’t a stuffy museum city.”

And just in case it is taken too literally, it also includes a cautionary note suggesting that visitors may see some even ruder Parisian expressions if they use the gestures too freely.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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