10 Most French Moments


Most French Moments: Only in France

What does it mean to be French, or what does it mean to be Parisian? There are specific qualities that you can point out as French or Parisian. So here are the top ten most French moments that I have witnessed so far in my stay in Paris.

10. Jaywalking: what's the point of traffic signals for pedestrians anyway? I mean if there's no car coming, that means go, right? Well at least that what's it's like in France, especially Paris. You can always tell the tourists from the locals because the tourists wait for the green light while the locals cross when they feel like it.

9. Bros and carts: French bros do exist. They're a rarity here, but they're here. So what happens when they go grocery shopping? They bring their granny cart of course! Bros here don't need to be macho and carry ten grocery bags in one hand. No, they bring their little rolling cart, load it up, and casually roll it back home as if their masculinity is not threatened. Only in France is this not an issue.

8. Cougars: Paris is full of cougars. You know, older women that still dress and like they're in their twenties. Except these cougars are well off 60, most at least 70, but to use a French expression, they fart fire, meaning they're fire crackers. They're always made up, they wear skinny mom jeans, meaning they're right on their slim legs but go up way past the belly button. And they always have a purse with a tiny dog inside that loves to bark at you when you get too close in the metro. And the cougars are everywhere! And there's something about them that is different from American cougars.

7. Non-smoking smokers: France has a lot of smokers, and many of them are trying to quit. And with the anti-smoking laws, they are needing to get creative in ways that they can smoke. So many of them have turned to these e-cigarettes. They smoke these things the second they step outside. They can often be found sucking on them like you would be furiously sucking the last bit of a slurpee, just trying to savor every last drop.

6. Bread and cheese: cheese and bread are the two most important food groups here and they go really well together. The combination of cheese on bread is a heavenly mix but it causes a problem. What happens when you run out of the other? You always need to get one more piece of bread because there is cheese left on your plate, but then you have more bread leftover than cheese, so you will eventually need more cheese as well. This causes a downward spiral of bloating and carb-filled regrets. Thank you France for introducing me to a question harder than "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" Now I need to figure out "when to stop: the bread or the cheese?"

5. Coffee and cigarettes: I think the only thing that goes better than bread and cheese (for smokers) is coffee and cigarettes. Everywhere you go in Paris you can see people siting at a café outside, whether it be hot, cold, or rainy, and they're drinking a coffee while smoking a cigarette. But since the coffee usually lasts longer than one cigarette, you can see them smoking a few. It seems that now is always the time for coffee and cigarettes and the smoking break or the coffee break is highly valued and very common. Yes they do have jobs, but they also see the importance of stopping for a breather to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, nicotine.

4. Sounds and facial expressions: you know how people say that Italians talk with their hands? Well French people make facial expressions and sounds that can only be understood in France. (Check out this website here for a guide on French noises.) my favorite is the growl that they make when they're frustrated or the mouth fart when they don't know. There's the shrug of the shoulders, the roll of the eyes, and the hand pointing to something while yelling "oooh" because they don't like when something happened. For a country with such a beautiful language, they don't always use their words.

3. One foot out the door: smoking is not allowed on trains in France, which means that smokers take advantage of all the stops the train makes. But they don't want the doors to close on them in case the train leaves. Nor do they want to be standing in the cold weather outside. So they put one foot out the door and one foot in the door, straddling the gap between the train and the platform. Technically they're not in the train, so they smoke. Yes France has smoking laws, but how well are they really followed? Not much!

2. Cellphone, cigarette, and Segway: getting around Paris is easy, but it's even easier with a razor scooter or a Segway, both of which are popular here. But a lot of people that can afford a Segway are busy business people that need to check their email a lot, so they are on their phones while riding the Segway. But what makes this so French, or in this case very Parisian? The fact that they are smoking while reading their email and riding the Segway. My dad was the first to notice this in September but I've seen it a few more times.

1. "Do you want me to get off this scooter!?!?":  a taxi parked on the sidewalk waiting for its passenger, a scooter was riding by on the sidewalk to pass cars. Both were in the wrong, but both didn't care and got mad at the other. It eventually led to a screaming fest and the scooterist ask the driver if he wanted him to get down from the scooter, as if all he'll would break loose if he did. I guess the guy felt like he was one tough guy and that he could kick the drivers butt because he was on a powder blue Vespa. Yes only in France do they fight over who is less wrong while threatening to get down from their non-threatening vehicle to kick some butt. Yep, masculinity is defined differently in France than in the US. I don't know what happened, I just kept walking down the street like it was an every day occurrence, because usually it is. 

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