While working and living in Paris, my goal was never to stand out as a tourist. I wanted to do things that the locals did because I felt that would aid my experience in France. Everyone has heard rumors of the French having a reputation, and I have noticed that the reputation of, more specifically, the Parisians, was true in some ways actually. It is never correct to say all Parisians were the same, but I did find some qualities were applicable to the majority that may not be the ones that fit into their normal stereotype. I am talking mostly about the young Parisians, since they were who I had most of my encounters with.
They will photo bomb any picture scenario.
When traveling in Paris, you’re bound to take pictures everywhere you are. There are so many beautiful buildings and monuments that you feel inclined to get a picture in front of them all! There are also many amazing restaurants and bars with photo-worthy decor; almost overwhelming. I often found myself scrolling through pictures from the day to find random people posing in the back or pushing their way into my photos with me. For example, this man who silently insisted on making himself the star of my photos for an entire night:
Unlike the majority, some skipped sliding into the back of pictures and instead felt that they had to be up-close and personal with their photo bombs:
They are publicly romantic in nature
As many know or have found out, Paris is known as the city of love! That name does not only come from the beauty of the buildings, monuments, or the people, but it also has much to do with how many young french enjoy expressing their love quite publicly. We have all heard the term PDA, and I for one now believe Paris is where “PDA” was discovered and born. It exists in the streets, the metro, cafes: everywhere! Some would even go as far to say that they are quite aggressive romantics. For example, when you come home to your apartment building to find a rose, candy, and a love letter waiting for her:
They love to drink
With no open container laws (that are enforced), you find fun picnics anywhere the grass grows and near La Seine (the river that runs through Paris). Many young french meet with friends with or without a blanket to enjoy wine, beer, cheese, a baguette, music, cigarettes, and lots of conversation. No matter what day of the week, picnics and happy hours are in full swing in Paris! To give a small scope into just how much drinking, here is what most recycling bins looked like by the end of a Friday night on Saint-Germain (about 2 blocks form La Seine):
Overall, the young French/Parisians did not embody most of the stereotypical qualities that we think define the French people. Most spoke some English and were truly interested in getting to know Americans. They actually like Americans and have plans to travel there if they have not been already. I built great relationships with so many Parisians and in getting to know them, I felt more connected to the french culture. I plan to stay in contact with them and hopefully visit Paris again soon after I leave!