Over the past few months in Paris, I have had new experiences and have become more open minded about different cultures and the way people live. As clichéd as it sounds, it’s true. Since September, I have really become Parisian.
Living alone, I’ve learned to appreciate my own company more than before because I’m in a city away from home. London and Paris are very similar in which they are cosmopolitan and full of places to visit, dine, shop, drink, parks to walk around and artifacts to take photos of. To live in a big city, you need to know what you need and desire. This I learned while living in London, but here is my Parisian address book on places I can rely on whatever I long for in this city.
A run through the Jardin de Luxembourgh.
The Prescription Cocktail Club, the best cocktails in the city and a hidden bar, which means only Parisians, know about it. Le Kong at Pont Neuf also does great cocktails and great dancing music.
La Palette, rue de Seine. I can stay here for hours while drinking red wine… Also works as a perfect breakfast café, post a night out.
A Walk in the City
Le Marais, from vintage stores, to designer boutiques, to coffee shops, wine bars, falafel stands, and galleries, there is always a crowd and something new to find in this area.
Other than the classics such as Sandro and Maje, Les Petites… and Art du Basic do simple, chic clothing.
A Birthday celebration
Le Hibou for dinner and Le Comptoir General for strong cocktails and good music.
Eggs and CO in St Germain des Prés.
Merci, Colette, two concept stores, with lots of things to discover. Libertie is my Religion for delicate jewellery and beautiful headpieces and Frederic Malle for a personal perfume or candle.
Marché aux Puces de Clignacourt.
Impromptu Dinner Party
La Grande Épicerie. This store is a department store just for food and drinks. Literally, a food lovers dream.
Les Deux Magots, located on a perfect corner spot at Place Saint Germain des Prés, sitting outside on a sunny day, is the best place to enjoy a coffee and watch the city go by.
Café Marly on the terrace, overlooking the Louvre, sitting here you can admire the picturesque view of the beautiful architecture, the Jardin des Tuileries and a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. L’Avenue, another beautiful view, might be shallow of me, by the street is famous for the designer stores, therefore the view is of the beautiful shop window displays, the street itself, especially on a Winter evening and the attractive people walking past are admired at this restaurant.
Gérard Mulot, the best croissants, baguettes, chocolates, cakes, macaroons, savoury treats…
Have I convinced you?
Writing this, I may have gotten a bit of inspiration from the book ‘How to Be Parisian, Wherever you are’ By Caroline de Maigret, Anne Berest, Sophie Mas and Audrey Diwan who give their views on style, culture and what it takes to be a true Parisian in the 21st Century.
Some things mentioned are totally stereotypical, others you maybe will not believe straight away, but observing Parisians, you begin to comprehend and recognize their mentalities.
What it takes to become a Parisian.
Dine at your favourite bistro
Accompany friends to the Eiffel Tower
Identify a good croissant
Have a fresh baguette sticking out of your bag
Overpay for brunch- it’s worth it
Look both ways even when light is green
One Shall not:
Go to The Moulin Rouge. What was once a must go to show in Paris has become tacky and touristy. You’re better off going to The Crazy Horse.
Stand in line for burgers. They are just burgers, nothing special. But find best burgers in town and have it once in a while, such as Blend Hamburgers.
Have a wardrobe of too many colours. Black is everything.
Join a fitness club. I enjoyed a run in the park or a swim at my local swimming pool.
Leave your iPhone on dinner tables.
Sit at first row of chairs at a café; you get to see more if you’re further back.
#HaveBecomeParisian. You need all of the above and the below. Take note.
Complain. Metro is awful, it makes me appreciate the London Underground and French drivers don’t know what a zebra crossing is. Be careful.
Drink on The Canal Saint Martin. On a sunny day, take a picnic, some wine and a group of friends and enjoy the surroundings. When it gets dark, finish the night at Le Comptoir General.
Wear a scarf in all seasons. It completes an outfit and is a pop of colour in your black attire.
Keep hair and make-up minimal. Parisians like it simple and fresh.
Have an espresso after your meal.
Grocery shop in gym gear and then feel embarrassed because you are not wearing your finest clothing.
Saying ‘putain’ all the time.
Might seem a little random, but these are the true qualities attributed to someone who lives in Paris.
On my last day here, I enjoyed the French traditional New Year Galette des Rois (Cake of the Kings), with some family friends. I won the bee charm, which in France means I will be working hard! And also I will be Queen of the Year!
A few days before I was due to leave for London, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack happened in the city. I was shocked and saddened by these events just like everyone else. This made me realize France’s solidarity and their strength in these hard times. It was and still is very touching, seeing so many Parisians assemble in the Place de la République to show their respect and sympathy towards the victims of the terrorist attack.
I am ecstatic to have been in this city for such a long time and a part of me is sad to leave, as I have grown to know the city well and can call it another home and call myself Parisian.
À bientôt Paris, tu me manqueras!