10 Things A Woman Dreaming of Living in Paris Must Know by Cristina

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 ?

  1. 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 !
  2. 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…( ???!!)
  3. 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 !
  4. 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 ».
  5. 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…
  6. 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 !
  7. 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.
  8. 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 !
  9. 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 !)
  10. 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

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