Don't ask me why?
From time to time an idea (good or not) starts percolating in my head and if it stays there I tend to follow through with it.
This is the case with this new Saturday feature (if it sticks to Saturdays) which I described to all those I asked to contribute so far as 10 Do's and Don't.
The idea being that someone (a native or a transplant) shares their do's and don't about the place where they live. Each week will feature a different person, a different city, on all continents.
We start with Cristina who writes From Buenos Aires to Paris and could teach me a few things including how to take gorgeous photos. As you might guess, she was born in Argentina.
Here is her unedited take on Paris:
Foreign Woman Going to Live in Paris (or dreamong about it) ?
This is what you MUST know…
Many years ago, my husband and I came to live to Paris. We both experienced similar difficulties in many senses : the language, adapting to new food, the weather…Ok, there are things that are common to both sexes…but which are the things a woman in particular has to face ?
- Don’t feel bad to show yourself naked ! Yes, when you go to gym, you will see all the French ladies, engaged in conversation, going to the hamman, reading their E-mails in their I-phones…completely naked ! Yes, nobody will try to wrap even a little towel around their anatomies…What for ? Naked is beautiful !
- Don’t run away from your gynecologist office ! He’s not a sex maniac ! I will never forget my first RDV !! The doctor told me to take off my clothes ! I went into the cabin..I saw nothing to cover myself so I went out in my underwear..The doctor looked at me (rather crossed) and told me to take off ALL my clothes..so I did ! To increase my embarrassment, he made me fill out some papers while in this « condition » Then, my French friends told me this is normal…( ???!!)
- Be ready to share a minuscule elevator with a man ! I think we all know how small Parisian elevators can be ! On arriving in the hall of an apartment building (mine), a gentleman was waiting for the elevator. It arrived. He didn’t let me in first, but rather, he volunteered sharing the 50cm2. I turned down his offer politely…believe me, it would have been a « more than close » encounter !
- A woman might not always go to the Ladies’ : You are leaving on vacation. « Journée rouge » (peak day) Plenty of cars in the highway. You stop at a gas station to go to the Ladies…50 women queueing for the Ladies’..Nobody in the Gents. Don’t be surprised to see French women going to the Gents.. « c’est normal…There is nobody » If when they come out of the WC cabinet, there is a « monsieur » standing « relieving nature » , they will explain with a long speech, that the « Ladies’ is congested » while the « monsieur » continues his « standing activity ».
- Always have a book in you bag, to read in case you have to wait ! But not any book, it has to be a « prix Goncourt » (literary award) just to show the other people waiting that you have a « certain cultural level » literary speaking…
- But don’t go with the book to read alone to the Jardin de Luxembourg !! It appears that it is « the » thing to do if you want to be approached by a handsome young man in search of a lonely (and cash generous) lady !
- Always go to see the latest art exhibit !! You are not interested in that painter ? It doesn’t matter !!! You will be completely out of all the conversations and what’s more people will think you are not very learned.
- It is OK to drink a « kir » (white wine and cassis liquor) or champagne at 11.30am, alone, sitting at a café ! Pour quoi pas ? (Why not ?) It’s apéritif time, and nobody will think you have a problem with alcoholism !
- Don’t take a home-made cake when visiting someone..unless your cake looks like a Lenôtre one ! (or one that you learnt to make reading my blog (a bit of publicity ?) Your guest will give you a « poor thing » look that you will never forget !! (In fact, I think this is the reason why I started taking cooking lessons !)
- Always wear a foulard ! Yes, it’s the symbol of French élégance, together with « la petite robe noir » (little black dress), but don’t buy it in H&M. A good carré, preferably Hermès, is a lifetime investment…more than that ! it will be something you will pass onto the next generation ! Ok, it is true that nobody wears it like a French woman does…this is why Hermès has published a little orange book : 100 ways to wear a Hermès carré…oh là là !!
What better way to illustrate this top 10 than a photo of the lady herself taking a walk in the city of lights.
10 Do's and Don't # 1: Paris by Cristina