Despite the charming architecture, drinking lots of wine and eating cheese, the reality of every day life deals with political controversy, the war against terrorism and economic uncertainty.
As my experience with life “à la francaise” is reaching its second anniversary, below are a few random (simple) things that I have observed:
- Protests and strikes can get very violent and tense. In March, a controversial event took place in Paris. French anti-cop protesters vandalized and burned down a police car, under the eyes of the public. The entire scene (caught on video) can be watched here. I was completely blown away to listen to debates where the attackers were defended and applauded for their gestures. On the other hand, the police officer was decorated and rewarded with a honorary medal for professional response.
- August – the best month for visiting Paris. As the majority of the population is heading to the beach or to the country side to visit grand-maman, so are rude, pushy, good-looking Parisians. Imagine visiting Paris without being crushed in the Metro, sit quietly on a terrace and actually hear your friends talking and bicycling without being ran over.
- Cafe gourmand. This is one of my favourite deserts to order when I go out. It’s an espresso coffee served with miniature desserts. I love the simplicity and the variety of flavors all rolled into one. Besides, I find the plate so pretty.
- The French have an entire store dedicated to frozen foods, called Picard. The layout of the store is similar to the one of a supermarket: vegetables, fruit, starters, main courses, bread and pastries, desserts, ice cream and sorbet. You can have fun checking their website here.
- Bachelor/bachelorette party aka Enterement de Jeune Fille/Garcon (literally means: “burial of young girl/boy). In France, future brides and grooms are taken by surprise and dressed up by their friends in funny costumes. They hit town and are asked to do the silliest things. Last week, I saw a (poor) guy dressed up as a clown, singing the national anthem in the middle of the crowds. (NY’s Naked Cowboy watch out!).
All in all, on my second year in France I made some awesome friends, I ate some amazing foods, I felt vulnerable whenever violence stroke the country…and I became a French citizen. As my story is unfolding, I will be happy to tell you more about my adventures next year… or even better, next week! 🙂