A few months ago, N and I chose to add on Paris to our India trip itinerary mostly because this was N’s first time out of the country. The moment I began to share the news with friends and family I got two responses simultaneously: 1. OMG! I’m so jealous! You’ll love it! 2. You know Parisians are…
So, I came here with many preconceived notions. I’m happy to say I’m squashing a few today!
Myth #1 Parisians are rude.
Since I booked my trip to Paris, I’ve been anxious about how the people of this city would respond to me. Especially as someone who doesn’t have a handle on the language yet. However, the people of Paris are surprisingly kind and even helpful at times. When we were looking for the entrance to the Cimetiere de Montmantre, a woman who didn’t even speak English gave us directions. So, I haven’t found the locals to be impatiently rude just because I am American. Perhaps because I am an immigrant, I’m a little more into plan assimilate than most and that is the reason. But even still I say Parisians are helpful and kind in general and that a small percentage are ruining the reputation for the masses.
Myth #2 Parisian food is not good.
Bread and pastries are yum, but the meals are not. Again since I booked my trip several of my friends who’ve been here said the food was no good. However, this too I found to be a myth. Perhaps the food at one point was not good, I don’t know. So far, all the meals I’ve had have been tres bon! From the veal stew over potatoes at Soul Kitchen to the duck breast in red wine sauce at Cafe Le Petit Pont to the simple pan roasted chicken breast at La Tremoille, each meal better than the last. I even love Parisian scrambled eggs; they are light and airy and runny. I would compare French food to Southern food in America. It’s incredibly simple and seasoned with basics like butter, salt, and pepper, but using these ingredients correctly is a science–too much of any one and the dish is ruined. Like in southern food though, the right combination is home on a plate. So the food is good and look for the right places to eat it. You will find that actually simple ingredients can offer you a unique experience. One you want to either come back for or recreate at home or both!
Myth #3 Parisians don’t wear sneakers like lazy Americans.
Yet another myth. More than one person spoke to me sternly before I left for Paris about sneakers. “Don’t bring sneakers! Don’t wear sneakers!” Now while Paris or New York or any fashion forward city sneakers are generally frowned up, people do wear them! Not with a dress, but with the right outfit in Paris or New York, you can get away with sneakers. I’m not saying wear those big clunking kind or the ones you run in, but a nice sleek pair that are slim and cool are acceptable–with the right outfit! Now that workout gear has become more trendy, with the right combination of these articles, sneakers work. Then, you can look like you just finished a workout and just happened to end up shopping…making you appear more like a local than a tourist.
One thing I’ll give those two people who warned me so sternly: Parisians take shoes very seriously. So their shoe game is far beyond anyone in American, except New Yorkers! But they do wear sneakers, granted they are way more chic and interesting than your average sneaker, but still Parisians wear sneakers!
Myth #4 Everyone is super chic and fashionable that you won’t fit in if you don’t bring your A game.
Again, like any other city, there is a larger crowd of fashionably chic walking the streets, but because Paris is so diverse, there is just as large a crowd walking around in mom/dad gear also known as uncle/aunty gear if you are Indian. Now this may appear to be a myth due to my time of travel, but I still think that we as Americans view Paris as this above and beyond destination in terms of fashion and while it’s a little true, it’s not completely true. I could also have this bias opinion due to my short stint as a New Yorker, but Paris fashion is not above New York fashion.
Myth #5 Paris will break your wallet.
It is now the start of my fourth day here and we have spent under $200. Most of it on food alone. If you know me, I spurlge most on food so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is my bill. The Metro is 1,70 Euros to go anywhere is Paris and better yet you come here equipped with your best and cheapest mode of transportation–your two legs! If you don’t do Paris like New York–discover each neighborhood on foot, you are really missing out on the true ambiance of this city. Also, the Louvre has free admission every first Sunday. So like New York, there is plenty to do for free! Don’t get me wrong there is plenty to do on an extravagant budget, but this is my first time here so I’d rather feel the city out on my feet than spend hours indoors at shows, etc.