In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to start with part one of what will hopefully be a series of posts about ‘Things Parisians Adore’. I was originally considering the title ‘Things Parisians Love’ but I couldn’t bring myself to add to the already saturated over-use of the word love. It is used so much, and for everything, that it no longer carries the same connotations it once did. We have no problem saying how much we love this movie, or love that restaurant, but when it comes down to saying it to a person, love suddenly becomes such a strong word. Adore on the other hand is a word that has become slightly neglected. You rarely hear it said aloud, and so it can be a refreshing linguistic change.  And because this is one way of saying love in French, it seemed an appropriate fit. So here’s a few things Parisians adore… 


It was French designer Isabel Marant who designed the first high heeled sneakers after all. And oh how the Parisians adore them! If you can go a day without seeing them on a parisienne’s feet, I congratulate you.

More recently, however, I’ve noticed that sneakers of all shapes and sizes are making a come back. Why, just this evening, while waiting for the dryer at the laundromat, I witnessed an impeccably dressed French girl with the red lips, perfectly-messy-knotted bun, the long, herringbone, wool coat; the black zipper jeans, and then suddenly… Boom! A pair of neon Nike running shoes where black boots might have been.
And here I thought Europeans were snobs about this sort of thing. Sneakers are for running, playing football, doing sport. Not for wearing in the city. Seems that the chicest of said Europeans know how to incorporate even the ugliest pair of old Adidas and make them look good.


Walking Around With Baguettes & Eating Them

Yes, I know it’s a French cliche, but it happens! I usually witness this act in the middle of the day, at that point where breakfast was ages ago, and your stomach is already talking to you about lunch prospects. And while Parisians eat less than, oh I don’t know… me for example, they still get hungry at this crucial part of the day and so this is when they flock to their favorite boulangerie and proceed to break off just the tip of the hot, fresh bread. Parisians adore their bread.



I don’t blame Parisians for choosing this mode of transportation over any other. Owning a car in Paris is just pointless, and after five months of taking the metro every day, I can honestly say I know I’ve missed one too many hours of precious sunshine (there aren’t many here). So Paris was smart to think up the Velib bike system. Anyone can literally just walk into a Mairie and pick up a bike card, sign up online, swipe it at one of the hundreds of bike stations across the city, and spin away! This all sounds easy and fun until it rains… The girl who was dripping wet as she cycled down my street today didn’t look so happy.


Mail & Bureaucracy 

You’d think the email era would help cut down on the amount of paper wasted in mailing letters back and forth across Paris. But, as recycle-conscious as they are, the French can’t seem to let go of their traditional bureaucratic system. The city administrators must get excited to receive thick packages of dossiers in the mail, just so they can write you another letter 3 months later saying that your application is incomplete and that you are, in fact, missing this or that document. Needless to say, it takes several letters back and forth through snail mail before you can open a bank account. It takes months (possibly a year at this rate) before you can get your social security number. And it takes a lot of paper and visits to the copy store before you can rent an apartment. This is why efficiency is not one of the words listed in their motto.
[Photo credit: Paris vs New York]