Thoughts after two weeks in Paris
After being in Paris for two weeks, I can honestly say that the Parisians are nothing like I thought. After hearing that the French are rude for so long or just seeing that version of them portrayed in the media, I came to Paris thinking that everyone was going to act like we were a nuisance to them.
Turns out, my personal experience has been nearly the complete opposite. Almost every single Parisian I have spoken to has been helpful, kind and attempts to speak basic English to me. I actually feel bad that I don’t know much more than basic sayings in French.
Even though they are not the friendliest in terms of smiling or saying hello when walking down the street, that is just how the culture is here in Paris. People are on their way to whatever they are doing and are not into the small talk, which is fine by me. In America, we are constantly asking people at the grocery store or in the mall how they are doing, but most of the time it’s out of courtesy and not because we care. The French just cut all of that out and go straight to the point if they are talking to someone, which I can appreciate.
In terms of dress, I love Parisian style. As simple and clean as it is, as I have paid attention, there is thought put in the detail. Whether it’s a cool bag, trendy athletic shoes with an otherwise business outfit, or adding an extra layer such as a leather jacket or trench coat to make the look a little cooler. I like how well put together everyone seems without even trying. I not-so-jokingly told my mom the other day that I am going to purge my closet when I get home and live a little more simply in terms of style.
In the States, we have a much wider range of dress and a lot more things qualify as socially acceptable in terms of style. When walking down the street in Paris, no one is going to be wearing a bright pink jacket, but in America, we would not think twice. It feels like there is more self-expression through clothing in America. I am someone who generally likes to dress more minimalistic, but if I wasn’t, I probably would feel a little out of place here in France.
Parisians and Americans are very different and I honestly haven’t noticed a lot of similarities. When I visited London this past weekend, I found more similarities there with the States. The whole culture here is different. What has made me feel welcomed in Paris is that we are all humans sharing this one world and a lot of people have connections or stories about visiting America. It really makes all of those differences feel small.