Every good Parisian needs…
Ah, the mythic Parisian. They’re cool, they’re chic, and they are sophisticated. The Parisian is stylish, they can eat croissants and not gain weight, and can pull off any trend with ease. Sound familiar?! You’ve probably all read an article or two about Parisians and how to become one.
While I’m not here to give you step-by-step instructions on how to become Parisian (you should really just move to Paris for that!), I am here to give you a fun round up of things I’ve noticed about them in 5 years of living here. Here are 10 things that Parisians cannot live without!
Must you be Parisian to love baguettes? Of course, the answer to this one is a hard NO, but that being said, Parisians (and French people in general) run on baguettes, not Dunkin’.
Don’t be surprised to see throngs of Parisians lining up in front of their local bakery every evening after work to stock up on their baguettes for dinner and for the next day’s breakfast. The French are known for their lighter breakfasts, which tend to include a pastry and a baguette served with deliciously creamy butter and confiture (thats jam for all of you non-French speakers!).
Something else that you may notice is that many people will start noshing on their baguettes before they get home. You need to taste it before, okay?! Take a look, a good look, at all of those baguettes under the arms and in the reusable shopping bags of passersby. Chances are that the end has been bitten off and munched on by their owners! This part of the baguette is called the croûte, and it’s tradition to bite it off to eat on your way home from the boulangerie.
Something that I noticed right away the first summer that I lived in Paris, is that Parisians do not let warmer weather ruin their *looks*. Picture this: I’m the girl in the tank top, wiping sweat off her brow and melting slowly in the metro. To my left, is a Parisian in a blazer, looking cool as a cucumber!
The blazer is a staple in any good little Parisian’s wardrobe. It can dress up an outfit for work, or a dress for drinks and dinner in the city. It can be worn all year round, and can add that polish that you’re looking to add to any outfit.
If you are Parisian and are reading this article, please comment below with your best advice on how to stay cool in 90 degree weather with a blazer on. Love, the girl with the sweaty armpits on the metro.
3. The metro
Speaking of the metro, this is definitely something that Parisians cannot live without! Have you ever visited Paris before? Have you seen how crazy the cars can get?! Yeah, I’m right there with you, and so are many Parisians.
The metro means beating traffic, and cruising around the city without a care in the world. Well, maybe Parisians don’t feel that way on a Monday morning around 9am on the line 13, but…you get the gist.
The Parisian metro is one of the oldest and most efficient ways to get around the city. If you take it, you’ll not only look like a true Parisian, but you’ll also be helping the environment by reducing your own carbon footprint. That’s a win-win if I’ve ever heard of one!
4. Outdoor markets
Again, this is something that isn’t necessarily particular to Parisians, it’s more of a French thing. That being said, there are a ton of outdoor markets around Paris worth your while, and are essential to any Parisian. If you want to read up on my favorite markets, I wrote a blog about that!
Food is a huge part of French culture. So much so, that French cuisine was dubbed “world intangible heritage” by UNESCO in 2010! That’s pretty serious, if you ask me. What’s a major part of making French food delicious? Fresh produce, of course!
There are different markets in nearly every section of Paris, so I think it’s safe to say that Parisians can’t live without them. Grab your straw shopping bags, your negotiation pants, and be prepared to practice your French because, folks, we’re going to the market!
Scarves are right up there with blazers for Parisians. The perfect accessory for any time of year, don’t be surprised to see nearly everyone in Paris wearing scarves. This one isn’t just for the ladies, either! Parisian men are also known for their scarf obsession.
The weather in Paris can be unpredictable at times, so this essential addition is practical too! Has it suddenly started raining, and you’re stuck without an umbrella? Use your scarf to protect your hair from getting wet. Has it been 80 degrees all day, and then dropped to 60 degrees in the evening? Wrap your scarf around your shoulders to keep warm. Do you want to look as stylish as a Parisian does? You can use a scarf to achieve this, too!
Personally, I also love wearing silk scarves in my hair as well. I get definite a Brigitte-Bardot-in-1960 vibe from this look, and I’m all about it!
The bigger the better is the Parisian’s motto when it comes to sunglasses. You’ll see them sporting their shades when its sunny, in the rain, in the metro and even at night. It’s chic! It’s stylish! It’s a great way to hide those under eye circles!
All jokes aside, in addition to blazers and scarves, sunglasses are the ultimate Parisian accessory. Don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money on your specs, there are tons of inexpensive options out there that look just as fashionable.
My favorite place to hunt for sunglasses in Paris has got to be in the vintage stores in Le Marais. My favorite shop is called FREE’P’STAR on the rue de la Verrerie. Don’t miss the shops that line the rue Rambuteau as well. If you are looking to spend a little bit more, head to BHV or the Galeries Lafayette!
61 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
Le BHV Marais
52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris
40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
Rain or shine, winter or summer, morning or night…Parisians love their outdoor seating. In French, these patios are called terrasses. Most cafés in Paris feature them, providing excellent venues for people watching, coffee drinking, and catching up with friends.
In the winter, you’ll find heaters and blankets to keep warm, and in the rain the awnings will come out. This means that there is never an excuse not to sit outside! Restaurants and cafés spill out onto the sidewalk, so make sure to get your nose out of your smartphone and watch where you’re going 😉
I could (and should) write an entire blog post about my favorite terrasses in Paris, but in the meantime click here to check out our best restaurant recommendations. Chances are, many on the list will have outdoor seating!
8. Cheese shops
Have you ever wandered into a cheese shop in Paris? If you haven’t…what the heck are you waiting for?! While I will admit that you can find some great cheese options in any Parisian supermarket, there’s just something special about buying your fromage from a specialist.
Most of the people that work in cheese shops have a passion for their products, and are happy to help you with any questions you may have. They’ll ask you what type of cheese you’re interested in, how many people you hope to serve, and if you’re really lucky, will probably have a few wine pairing tips to boot!
We have many preferences in Paris, but to start, head to Androuet on the rue Mouffetard. This is where we stop on our famous Tickle Your Tastebuds tour, and we love these guys! Their staff is friendly, their products are fresh and the rue Mouffetard should be your go-to for all of your fresh food needs.
134 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
9. Long meals
Say goodbye to eating your sandwich at your desk for lunch, and shoveling your dinner down in front of the TV. Now, I’m not saying that Parisians do this some times (in recent years, many people have started to complain that more and more people are starting to eat like this), but I am saying that eating slowly and deliberately are much more respected here than in say, America.
Mealtime equals family or close friends time in Paris. Don’t be surprised if you start around 7pm for an apéro with small snacks and drinks, and leave the restaurant around 11pm after dessert. Eating isn’t just about fueling up for Parisians (and actually the French in general), it’s about spending time with your loved ones.
This is something we all love here at Sight Seeker’s Delight…food and spending time with the people we care about are two very important things for us! So, do as the Parisians do, and take your sweet time!
Vacations are sacred to Parisians. It’s normal to start an entry level job, and know you’ll be guaranteed 5-7 weeks of paid vacation right off the bat.
If you’ve ever been to Paris in August, you may notice that the city feels a bit on the empty side. That’s because most Parisians will save up their vacation time and spend 4-5 weeks outside the capital.
There’s no need to leave France most of the time, either! The beaches in the north, south, and west fill up with vacationers in the summertime, and if you’re not a sand and salt kind of person, there’s always the countryside or the mountains to consider! If you are coming to Paris in August, I definitely recommend that you try getting out of the city for a little while. If the Parisians do it, you should too.
Do you feel more Parisian after reading this article? I hope so! Can you live without one of the things on my list? If not, a move to the City of Lights may be in order!
As always, thanks for reading. Leave me a comment below in case I missed something major!