2. French women are not preoccupied with trying to look younger. They are just walking around, looking their ages and looking incredibly put together and effortless and simple.
3. You should always look put together. Even when buying a baguette for breakfast. Or walking your incredibly cute dog.
4. French dogs are waaaaaaay cuter than American dogs.
5. French kids are waaaaaaay better dressed than American kids.
6. French dogs and French kids are waaaaaaay better behaved than American ones. No joke. For real. It was astonishing. The only time we heard a kid yell was when we were having a picnic by the Eiffel Tower and the silence was abruptly disturbed by children racing and playing Tag. They spoke English. The dogs do poop everywhere, but given the lack of grassy patches, I suppose that's not really their fault. And not even one single dog tried to lick my toes or jump on my legs (my friends know I HATE that).
7. Sex toy shops do not have to be seedy or gross or make me feel like I have to shower afterwards. In fact, in Paris, many are decorated nicer than the Bloomingdales in the U.S.
8. There is no shame in being sexual...or sexy...or in love. PDA is so not a big deal in Paris.
9. Carbs are not the enemy.
10. Neither is cheese.
11. Ditto for alcohol.
12. Have wine at Every. Single. Meal.
13. Relish Every. Single. Meal.
14. Have an actual conversation over your meal. Save your Facebooking and your texting and your apps for the Metro. We did not see one person on the phone at a cafe or a restaurant or a bar. Even the people who were eating by themselves (which could be listed as yet another lesson: Eating alone is no big deal) simply sat and ate, smoked, read, or pondered life.
15. You shouldn't have to apologize if you spend an hour nursing your espresso or your wine while you take up a table to finish your book. In Paris, they never bring you the check until you ask for it.
16. Use really big spoons for dessert.
17. Butter is good.
18. If the coffee is good, it doesn't actually need all that cream and sugar and occasional dollop of artificial flavoring.
19. French people really, really like American music. This worked out well for us when we went to a hip French nightclub and were pleasantly surprised that every other song was straight off American top dance charts (Who thought we would ever find ourselves dancing to Pitbull in Paris?!?). However, it got pretty annoying when nearly every cafe and restaurant was playing late 80's and early 90's tunes. (Bananarama over crepes? Really??)
20. It is not, apparently, a big deal to wash your hands at a public restroom sink while a man is using the urinal right beside you. (Two times in Paris, and I still can't get over the co-ed bathroom deal.)
21. Consider wearing sensible shoes. (I was shocked to discover that my color-blocked 5-inch stilettos were, by far, the highest and fiercest in the nightclub. I mean, c'mon, ladies, this is Paris. I don't care if you have to walk cobblestones and take a bus or a train...you all are the birthing center of all things high fashion! But then, as I found myself to be the only girl standing in her stockinged bare feet at the taxi stand at 5:00 a.m., because I just couldn't take the pain anymore...did I mention they played Pitbull?...I understood.)
22. Make pleasure a priority.
23. Indulging is not being indulgent.
24. I can go a whole week without being snippy, snappy, or sarcastic. Apparently, enjoying life can really do that for a girl.
Paris was absolute perfection. We spent 7 days just being together. We ate the most delicious things and drank the best wine (why don't I get a hangover in France??) and bought great stuff. We talked and laughed and danced and held hands. We toasted "To 10 Years" with every glass. We definitely recognized that couple. They are still there. And because of that little trip, they're going to be making more regular appearances around here, too.
|I swear, I could have had this at every single meal (I nearly did).|
|Dancing all night in my non-sensible shoes at the chic French nightclub...|
|Only the American girl was standing barefoot at the taxi stand...|
|Strolling the streets of Paris at night...so Owen Wilson in "Midnight in Paris"|
|Picnic on the lawn by the Eiffel Tower: #482 on my Life List...check!|
|My favorite souvenir: Lanvin shoe bootie pumps, 2009 collection, found in a little vintage shop in the Marais neighborhood...never worn!|
|Our last night in Paris...in our cute little hotel room with the wrap-around balcony.|