Everyday as I walk around the city of Paris, whether it be to class or just on a random stroll, I notice trends amongst French people. The list is endless but here are some of the first things I’ve noticed…
1. Either staring isn’t rude or everyone is rude.
It doesn’t matter what you are doing, someone will look at you with a blank stare and it will make you think you have food on your face. Normal activities, like sitting quietly on the metro, earn stares. When you do something really crazy, like wear sweatpants, EVERYONE will give you dirty looks. That’s not even the strangest part. In America, if you make eye contact with the person staring at you they will realize they’ve been caught and they’ll quickly look away. In Paris, looking back at them, and establishing that you see them staring, will not deter them from giving you dirty looks. I’ve gone so far as to wave at someone and they still continued to look at me like I had three heads.
2. Girls wear tights under their shorts.
Paris experienced an Indian summer this year, and there was a random week in October when it was 85 degrees everyday. I brought out my finest selection of sundresses and floral tops; the Parisian women brought out their selections of shorts with stockings underneath. I don’t know why they do this but I have a few theories. A) They don’t shave their legs and are hiding gorilla-esque situations. B) They are self-conscious about showing their twig legs a world full of normal sized humans. C) Their legs get cold but they want to wear shorts to seem in season. Regardless of the reason, it is extremely popular here and I don’t think it looks that great.
3. Windier than Chicago
The wind in Paris is baffling. It comes from all directions, constantly threatening all flowy skirt or dress choices. When it rains, the wind makes it rain sideways; thus umbrellas either blow away or do nothing to protect you from getting soaked. I attribute the constant wind to the circular pattern that Paris was built in. It creates a vortex/tornado/air tsunami situation that will force you to always wear shorts underneath skirts and dresses.
There you have it, the first three Parisian-isms! There will be plenty more to come :)