Parisians look a lot like New Yorkers: They dress like everyone in their neighborhood but feel like they’re super hype, for them, Paris and France = same thing but the rest of the country is not Paris, they are always thinking about how to escape Paris but shed a little tear each time they see the Eiffel Tower.
Apart from that, Parisians are totally different than New Yorkers.
+ To complain, of course. I always forget how much Parisians love to complain and I land in Paris with a sweet joy and a micro-hysteria (Woooooooo I’m gonna be able to eat a croissant a real croissant with real butter in it!!!) (the first Parisian croissant doesn’t count) (< —Do you recognize my typical New Yorker hysteria?), till I set foot in a cab.
There, no hello.
“What a crappy weather, seriously. I’m just warning you, ma’am, we’re gonna get into traffic. Even more so that you picked the right destination, hu! Right in the center city, what a grreaaat idea. It’s totally paralyzed! Whaaat? Naaaaaa, I’m not saying you’re paralysed, ma’am, oh, and she takes the piss pretty easily, the ma’am!!! I’m talking about the city! It’s the city that’s paralysed! Paris! Oh, but, this again, it’s because of politicians. You know, the left wing…”
Here, beware. You cannot do like in New York and just ignore the cab driver by pretending to have emails.
What the Parisian loves, is to complain with you.
Just know: if a Parisian starts to complain, your duty is to start complaining with him. That’s how you make friends in Paris.
+ Talk for hours. Remake the world, we say.
+ Go to the Flore, but not on the tourist side, ew. Parisians have their zones, you guys.
Pretend that you know the waiter and Frederic Beidbeger (notorious parisian party animal / writer) “Yeaaah, he’s a friend. Yeaah, he didn’t say hello right NOW, but that’s a game between us, because we’re such good friends, you see?”
+ Smoke. Parisians love to smoke. They smoke whenever they can anywhere you’ll let them smoke, in any weather. They don’t mind sitting at a café terrasse on a snowy day just so they can smoke. Even smoke in some clubs, yes. Nobody would dare ask the Parisian to stop smoking.
+ Say: “I’m quitting smoking” while lighting a cigarette.
+ “Driving like a lunatic, parking wherever, being super proud of their Smart car beaten up by Parisian life, knowing all the short-cuts of Paris.”
+ Parisians love improvised parties. Start drinking “apéritif” at 7, then stay some more and decide to cook an easy (but delicious) pasta while “remaking the world” till four in the morning. Call the neighbors, the single friend that lives three blocks down. Be a little bit tipsy, laugh a lot. Be cool.
+ Be frank. The Parisian, is frank.
“What about that coat? Did you get it from your grandpa?”
= it looks so-so on you, we can go back to your place to change it if you want.
+ And she has her own way of making compliments.
“Hey, I haven’t received my art print!”
= I like your illustrations, congrats on your shop (I wouldn’t say no if you would send me one.)
+ Having a family of friends they’ve known forever, adore and hate them but be hyper extra faithful to them. Spend weekends with them, vacations with them. Not do too much outside of that, because who needs more friends? Be ready to do anything for them.
Be very, very, very careful when a newcomer tries to join the band. Almost cold. Even mean, sometimes. For a long time. More than a year, sometimes.
+ After a year or more, say like it was nothing: “You’re coming on vacation with us this summer?” Understand you’ve found your family of friends. Be ready to do anything for them. Be very careful with newcomers. Almost cold…
+ Love Monop’ (a cheap but chic city market). The Parisian loves Monop’, because every French girl grew up close to a Monop’. Be delighted to say to someone who’s loving our cashmere sweater : “It’s Monop’!” is very Parisian.
+ Having very heated conversations. Prepare a wonderful dinner, with wonderful friends and wonderful wine and spend the night disagreeing on subjects as large as politics, Kim Kardashian, philosophy, anything as long as the conversation heats up. Start talking louder. Shouting sometimes. Pretend to be very mad: the definition of a successful Parisian diner.
+ Parisians love to flirt. In Paris, here’s how it happens:
The Parisian woman loves:
Pretend she didn’t see that guy who’s coming on to her, make fun of him “to test him”, stand him up while you’re having drinks with your friends and make fun of his DESPERATE texts, be a real pest till the days he falls completely and totally in love with you.
Then maybe decide to give it a try, make him your slave for a year, then decide you love him and make him a baby. Think about getting married, maybe one day “just for the party”.
The Parisian man loves:
To be super pretentious, think he is Serge Gainsbourg, go out with a dozen girls at the same time and party in clubs till dawn. Think that all girls are the same, be a total asshole, till meeting that pest girl who has him totally under her thumb and become the sweetest guy ever.
Make a baby with her, but forget to ask her if she’d want to get married.
+ Say : “I certainly don’t exercise” and actually, really not exercise.
+ Say : “Today, I’m exercising!” Like if it was the event of the year.
+ Try to go incognito to the gym because the Parisian couldn’t find any exercising gear, except these old sweatpants she’s been sleeping in since high school.
+ Say: “The Marais, it’s over!” and end up in the Marais. “No, but Garance, we’re talking Haut Marais, here! Totally different!”
+ Say “Merde” “Putain” “Fait chier” (like saying “shit” “fuck” “it sucks”) every other second, and sometimes the three in a row (when really, it sucks)
+ Say: “Yeah, what can I do? I’m a snob.”
+ Say “I should go to the Louvre one of these days. Wanna come with me to the Louvre? Oh, you prefer going to the Bon Marché? All right.”
+ Talk in negatives.
“It’s not bad, uh?” = it’s good.
“I’m not saying I’m not liking it” = I like it.
“It’s great, no?” = It’s great, isn’t it ?
And Parisians HATE…
+ Being in line = TPHMTAITW (Thing Parisians Hate More Than Anything In The World.)
The Parisians hate queuing so much they’ve all agreed to hate queuing together.
So instead of arranging themselves in a nice line, and politely talk and introduce their dogs like in New York, the Parisian will do anything to go first (pretend he’s sick, create a double line, a triple line, pretend he knows someone at the top of the line) and it creates a general mess where everyone ends up pushing and insulting each other.
+ Cross at the green light. It’s much better to throw yourself under a car than to wait.
+ The Parisian woman hates taking the subway, but she sort of has to, because of the “traffic de merde” and because she’s a smart one, she developed a great Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde technique.
Imagine her walking down the street, walking fast, chic, full of allure.
Step into the subway and suddenly transform herself. Maybe change the way she folds her scarf to hide half her face, take her hat down, her shoulders up, and take up the expression “don’t talk to me or I’ll screaaaaaammmm!!!!!”, anything so that no one will notice her or talk to her because, really, the subway is a pain “even more on my line, Garance, I swear, really it sucks.”
And then come back out of the subway, put back everything in place, stand straight, walk fast, chic, with allure. Chic, yes, but not in the metro.
+ Work during the vacation. (Which is healthy, no?)
But don’t you ever, ever, ever try to contact a Parisian during vacation. Not only will you only find a saturated voicemail, but your contact will be forever blocked from that Parisian’s phone.
Seriously, calling during vacations? WHO DOES THAT???
+ Other drivers: honk, shout, and use a certain type of body language that includes showing up a hand completely folded except for the middle finger to express the frustration of not being the only car driving around the Arc De Triomphe.
+ Other City Bikers. No pity for these stupid people who go super slow on the bike lane with their broken bikes (yep, choosing a perfectly functioning one is an art that one has to learn). Right to insult = oui.
+ Other pedestrians = very loud sigh and moonwalk to get in front of a slow walker when a simple “excuse me” could have worked as well.
+ Other tourists, even when the Parisian himself is a tourist. No because hating other tourists when you’re in Paris, all right, we get it.
But hating other tourists when you’re in New York and yourself a tourist, that is very, very Parisian.
And there you go! I’m pretty sure I forgot a ton of things, but you helped me a lot with your comments here and on Facebook so thank yoooooooou !
I give you a big kiss on each cheek, à la Parisienne ;)