1. Paris in the spring.
2. Major holidays are not an opportunity to go shopping; rather an opportunity to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. Or if you’re all alone, a great time to walk around the city and explore. Coming from a country where we have sold the meaning of everything, it is refreshing to be among people who still value the meaning of the word holiday.
3. Eating isn’t just a necessity; it’s a pleasure and in Paris you can get real fresh, real good food with more tastes than you’ve ever experienced (if you’re coming from the USA) on any budget and in modern (supermarket) or traditional (street) markets.
4. Education is a privilege, not a right. French students do not do any of the distracting activities during class that is typically seen in American classrooms. Such a pleasure to be class and not have the student in front me eating a noxious smelling plate of nachos while talking on their phone in his/her PJ bottoms.
5. The French do not wear slacks. I never saw anyone wear any sweats in public (although you will see Uggs-ewww! ), PJs or women in curlers.
6. An appreciation for the little things in life. The French know how to stop and smell the roses. As an American, this took time to get used to but I have learned to really appreciate life and the simple things like the yummy aroma of a good meal filling the house, eating a good meal with a loved one/good company, good conversation, and sitting in a park outside in the sun just to name a few. As Americans we are go, go go. I know that I walk fast as I want to get to my destination but it is good to walk a little slower sometimes and savor that you are in the most beautiful city on Earth for more than a week.
7. An improvement in French skills. I didn’t become fluent studying abroad for 10 months but I became pretty darn tootin’ good and with a charming Anglophone accent to boot.
8. Cimetière Montparnasse, the Louvre musée, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde and Rue de Rivoli in this area. Absolutely breathtaking!
(Louvre musée – me)
9. Paris at night
10. Pâté en croûte from Monoprix; small, human sized radishes (compared with the mutant ones in the USA); fresh bread with cheese; salmon on blini with fresh cream; Picard’s frozen lentil, veggie and lardon dish- yum!
(Pâté en croûte – www.acuisiner.com)