Parisian women are amazing for many reasons, but for the purpose of this post it’s because they seamlessly accomplish two things: 1) Portraying the vibe that they have all their shit together, all the time and 2) Look amazing doing so. Personally, I would love to embody just one of those traits, but both would be fan-fucking-tastic. After our April trip to Paris, I can see the appeal of living like a local. And to be honest, when I travel, I do my best to blend in like one. My mark of success is if a tourist asks me a question assuming I’m Parisian. My die-gone-to-travel-heaven mark of success is if a local stops me. (For the record, this has happened twice in my entire life. Once in Florence, Italy, and once in Paris. C’est magnifique!)
So, based on my short-lived visit and multiple
judgments observations, I give you:
How to be Parisian in 6 Easy Steps
Be Baguette Chic.
To be a true Parisian, you should be carrying a full-length baguette, everywhere, all time. Bonus points if the end is ripped off (which means you tasted it and it was, in fact amazing). Don’t even try to carry a half-baguette, as no self-respecting Parisian would be caught dead with a teeny tiny excuse for a breadstick. It’s huge, or nothing. (Realizing that can be taken a few ways… interpret as you will.)
2. Rock the Roches
Or any Nike shoe, for that matter. If I had one Euro for every fashionista, no, every woman in Paris, who was wearing black and white Nike Roches – I would be rich, but I still wouldn’t have a pair for myself. For my trip, I specifically chose not to bring runners as not to look like a tourist. I have a pair of KILLER Air Max in grey and coral and I debating (way too) long and hard about bringing, but ultimately left them at home so they wouldn’t get dirty. (Yes, I am aware they are shoes meant for the outdoors and not a white padded room, but still, I was protective. French women are all about the classic kicks, but with dresses and pantyhose. Which leads me to number 3…
3. Ditch the Athleisure Wear
Don’t you dare think about wearing yoga pants and sneakers out and about if you are NOT, in fact, going to yoga, or you can prepare for some epic French shade. (Even if you look like my model above.) Unlike in North America where it’s pretty much weird if you DON’T wear you Lululemon to the grocery store, on a date, or your kid’s kindergarten graduation, athletic wear for non-athletic ventures is a major non-non.
4. Take the Metro Everywhere
Even if you are traveling a perfectly walkable distance, take the Metro. Even if walking to the Metro, underground through the Metro, and up the stairs to the Metro is 2.5 kilometers longer than that actual distance between café A and B, you will still take the Metro, out of principle.
5. Socialize your Little Black Heart Out
Not a people person? Paris is not for you. Love chatting, drinking, coffee-ing, randomly running into friends, and
judging people watching? You will thrive like a mom with a litre of wine and no kids on a Friday night. Paris is a place where social artistry is at the core of daily life. What do you do if you are n your way to work but bump into a friend on the way? Why, stop and have an espresso, of course! Had plans for the evening but walk by an open patio table at a funky corner café? Stop for a cheese plate and a glass of champers. (That’s how classy people say Champagne.) Your party won’t mind if you’re 20-30 minutes late. It’s the French way!
6. Up your Charcuterie Game
You’re in the land of wine and cheese (and baguette) so you best learn to enjoy it. Better yet, learn to shop and create meals like a local and you will improve your personal happiness by approximately 150% (*that is a made up fact.) But seriously, crafting the perfect cheese and meat board is another French art, but you’re in luck, it can be taught! Check out smaller, funkier parts of Paris like Marais and Montmartre. You’ll get the local feel and even find your own go-to butcher, fromagerie and boulangerie after a few days of research (aka testing out all the food and creeping on which places the locals hit up). Or you could do a food tour which is led by a local and treats you to shopping and eating the Parisian way.
There you have it. Now go forth, and be Parisian!