As soon as we arrived in Paris there were a few things that really caught my attention. To be clear, they caught my attention in comparison to the United States where I live:

  1. French Flags were MIA: unlike in the U.S. where we see the American flag e everywhere, it took me a while to see a French flag. I then observed flags were seen in governmental buildings, landmarks, and hotels.
  2. Traffic: OMG, traffic is horrible. Not only are there a lot of cars but there are tons of motorcycles that ride in between lanes. I am not talking 5 or 7, I am saying hundreds from the airport to Paris. Somehow there seems to be a systems for drivers and motorcycles… they respect each other and they coexist in traffic.
  3. Paris is huge: I guess I always knew Paris was charming and cute but I never thought it would be so big and so busy. There are floods of people everywhere, both French and tourists. It’s crazy! There are … million people in Paris itself and the neighboring cities also come to Paris for work and pleasure
  4. Cafes with outdoor sitting: Everywhere there are plenty of cafes and restaurants and almost all of them have some sort of outside seating. And don’t think it’s only good for the warm days. No! They all have heaters outside which is great. Regardless of the weather, you can enjoy a nice patio and people watch. This was one of my favorite things.
  5. Everybody smokes: now, really, it seems like every single person smokes. I knew the French smoked a lot but man, do they smoke! I have never seen so many people smoking and so often. They finish one and go to the next one. Second-hand smoking is one of those things you can’t really get away with.
  6. The wine: If you are a wine lover like me, this is the place to be. Not only is the wine food but it is really cheap. Even the good wine is cheap! There are plenty of choices from all o se the world but in France, why not just try the French wine? There are endless options. Have I said how cheap it is? Yup!
  7. The food: French food is delicious but, be ware, it has a lot of butter. For someone like me who does not eat a lot of butter, the food was delicious but a bit heavy. Of course there are places where you can have healthier food but traditional French cuisine has a lot of butter. There is a lot of good restaurants from everywhere in the world. Now, let’s talk about the desserts… wow, they are so cute, delicious and simply amazing!!! I felt like walking into e wry single patisserie just to take pictures. It’s incredible how the French treat food as an art. Oh and forget the concept that you will get just a little bit of food. Everywhere I went, the portion sizes were pretty enormous. The smaller portions are in the fine dining restaurants.
  8. French People: forget all that you’ve heard about the French. It’s absolutely not true! They are very nice, helpful, polite and amicable. As long as you at least attempt a small “bonjour,” they will be the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Plus, most of them speak English so if you at least say one word in French, they will in turn speak English to you. Trust me, they were a lot nicer than a lot of people in the U.S.



Simone Santos

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