They say time flies when you’re having fun, and this explains how two months living in Paris have raced past. I had lots of messages, comments and likes on my observations in my first week and thought I’d add a follow-up piece.
I think holidaying somewhere gives you a very different perception of a city and you may miss the ordinary things of everyday life. So I’ve compiled a list of the top things that have garnered my attention in the last couple of months.
Just a side note to say I am writing of my experience and don’t want to generalise, but this is what I’ve seen in the last eight weeks.
My goodness Parisians love to honk their horns!
I’ll set the scene for you, Florian and I were crossing the road and we saw a bus had clipped a car when attempting to turn into a narrow lane and was blocking the intersection. It was clear an accident had occurred and one could see this from within their car several vehicles back. Instead of sighing, hitting one’s steering wheel or turning up the music, the Parisians place their hand on their horn and do not let go. I’m talking 10-20 seconds of one car holding their horn without respite. This tends to then peer-pressure cars in the vicinity to join in the symphony of honking.
I’m not talking about public displays of affection but rather public displays of arguing! I’m not accustomed to couples having screaming matches on the footpath as I walk past trying to enjoy my morning pain au chocolat. I recently saw a couple yelling at each other with the woman then deciding to sit down, arms folded whilst her (I assume?) boyfriend pleaded for her to get up- I guess to continue the argument at eye level? There have also been screeching exchanges in grocery stores and metro stops but my favourite so far was a gentleman verbally abusing someone on the phone. This wasn’t just a raised voice with some colourful language, it appeared he was potentially possessed and whoever was on the other end did a bad, bad thing- I still wonder why one would remain on the phone and wouldn’t just hang up?
I’m not saying having a disagreement is a terrible thing, but maybe move your verbal shrieking matches into the privacy of your own home- just a thought?
Ugg Boots- outside!
Can someone please agree with me here in thinking ugg boots beyond a Macca’s run or a quick dash to the grocery store, aren’t to be worn outside the house? I have been so shocked to see so many Parisiennes wearing uggs out and about. Don’t get me wrong, they still look uber chic and can pull them off, but I never would have thought I’d see uggs strolling down the Boulevard Haussmann. I recently needed to buy new boots as my Australian boots weren’t up to standards of the cold weather and number of steps Florian and I are clocking up each day. Whilst they aren’t uggs, I decided to follow suit a little and get a leather pair with lambskin insoles!
Futuristic modes of transport
Another thing I’ve noticed is the prevalence of one-wheeled stand-up scooters- yes you read that correctly.
Whilst scooters and bicycles are the predominant modes of transport after cars and the metro, I’m seeing these weird uni-wheeled contraptions everywhere! Florian has been a little nervous renting one of the bicycles on offer in the city, post-ACL surgery, especially taking into account the chaos that ensues on Parisian streets from jaywalking, motorbikes slipping through reds and people weaving through crowds. But the idea of one of these stand up scooters make me incredibly nervous and I think I’ll just stick to walking for now.
So many grocery stores, bookshops, boulangeries, optometrists…
There’s so much of everything!
Within 1km of our studio, there are:
- 20 boulangeries
- 13 butchers
- 8 Optometrists
- 4 Grocery Stores
- 8 Fruit Shops
…I’m not kidding!
According to a very quick Google search of the city of Paris and Greater Sydney, I thought I’d offer some context to the difference in size:
|Greater Paris||Greater Sydney|
|Size||814 km²||12,368 km²|
|Population||5 million||4.9 million|
It makes total sense to have that quantity of stores in the suburb I’m currently living in given the number of inhabitants. It’s just something to get used to, especially considering Drummoyne, the suburb I was living in before I left Sydney, has a population of 12,000 people and where I live now has 170,000!
At least I’m never too far from a pain au chocolat and a pair of glasses 😂
Christmas decorations in Paris are on a whole new level. I’ve always been impressed by QVB’s Swarovski tree but I really hadn’t seen anything until now.
Forget popping up some tinsel and some hobbyco fake snow, by the looks of things, Christmas decorations are taken very seriously, and no wonder in the city of lights!
I’ve spent more time in shopping centres looking up at the decorations than buying anything- which is great for my wallet!
I’m incredibly excited to be heading out of Paris, thanks to the easing restrictions, on Saturday as we head to the French Alps via Lyon for what I hope will be a white Christmas.
We will then be heading to Florian’s birthplace in Le Mans to ring in the New Year with Florian- and my new- family!
I can’t wait to share my experiences from the new cities and will be sure to write a blog on the train home.
Until next time!