I visited Paris recently to see my brother and his girlfriend who have been living there for the past two years. Overall, Paris is a wonderful city filled with lots of beautiful, well-dressed people. I had a great time checking out all of the sights and tourist spots around the city - below are some of the observations that I made about Parisian life.
Almost all Parisians leave the city and vacation in August. However, the city doesn’t shutdown and at least one bakery is required to be open per neighborhood during the vacation month of August. Read more about this here.
Cafes do not serve coffee - only espresso in small little cups. Also, most cafes do not serve drinks in to-go cups. Parisians are great single-taskers. When it is time to eat or drink, they stop, go to a cafe or restaurant, eat or drink, and do solely that activity. You NEVER see anyone walking around drinking a Starbucks.
I love this aspect of Paris - everyone dresses well. No one leaves their house wearing pajamas or allowing their hair to be messy. You never see sandals (except on fat Americans) or even shorts. Women wear dresses and high heels. Men typically wear slacks and dress shoes or nice sneakers. Parisians care about how they present themselves to the world and it shows.
The cuisine is out-of-this-world delicious. Every restaurant and cafe that we ate at had absolutely phenomenal food. I’m gluten-free and was tempted to partake in the unbelievable breads and deserts but I chose not to… I did have lots of gelato, creme brulee, macaroons, and French chocolate... and duck, steak tartare (raw ground beef), caviar.
Wine is cheap and oh-so-good. The house wine at a restaurant in America is oftentimes disgusting and is the cheapest bottle available. Whereas in France, it is an inexpensive but delicious bottle of wine.
Dogshit is everywhere. To put it simply, Parisians don’t pick up their dog’s poop. Apparently the fine is so small that they don’t care to pick it up and as a result, walking on certain streets is like dodging landmines.
Parisians sit outside in any kind of weather at a cafe and drink espresso. It’s like people watching is a second hobby to Parisians.
Parisians smoke as much as they drink. Smoking is still very popular and probably won’t be going away anytime soon. Pairisian smokers are majority women, not men. Apparently Parisian teenage smoking rates are still increasing…
I also like this aspect of Paris a lot - Parisians are skinny - you can tell there is a strong desire to not gain weight. I am always disgusted by the fat acceptance here in America, when it is the leading cause of so many debilitating diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc). Parisians, even though most probably don’t workout, watch their weight.
Parisian’s butter is never salted. If you want salted butter in France, you must go to Brittany. It is also the most crucial ingredient to their delicious baked pastries.
Extensive list of top Paris restaurants and etiquette tips. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/paris/
The photo is from the top of Notre Dame cathedral.