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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Paris: observations

One of my favorite things about traveling is making cultural observations.  I also just love seeing what people are wearing. Being there during Paris Fashion Week did not disappoint.  Here are some of the more interesting things I noticed in Paris:
EXERCISE (or the lack of)
  • I saw 3 people exercising, 1 gym, 0 fitness apparel stores. 

  • I saw 0 people wearing exercise clothes (except for the 3 who were actually exercising). 

  • The only overweight people I saw appeared to be American. 

  • I did not see any women with colorful clothing, noticeable make up, bright blonde hair or obvious designer labels.

  • I did see lots of black and grey clothing and natural-looking hair and makeup. It was all on the subtle side, but very polished-looking.

  • Lots of clunky, masculine shoes & cool athletic-style trainers.

  • Waiters and waitresses will not bring you the check until you ask for it.

  • The tip is included at restaurants. It took us a few days to figure this out.

  • I saw Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Italian, and Spanish restaurants, but no Mexican, American or BBQ.

  • Food portions are much smaller than they are in the U.S. 

  • A normal workday lunch lasts 90 minutes.

  • A small 'cafe creme' is expensive; 3.50 Euros in many cafes. Someone explained to us that cafe owners look at it almost as if you are "renting" your table to sit and chat for as long as you'd like.

  • The produce is really delicious. I've never had a tastier apple.

  • Restaurants don't open for dinner until 6:30 or 7, and they don't expect customers until after 8.

  • Kids are dressed like kids and they are really well-dressed. Lots of muted colors, classic styles, Liberty prints, collars and beautiful materials. No pink. No skinny jeans. No kids dressed like mini adults. 

  • Unlike this observations that Pamela Druckerman made in her book, I did not see many moms at the playground sitting on the sidelines. They seemed every bit as engaged as American mothers- in an age-appropriate manner.

  • There were a lot of older kids playing at the playground. Especially on Wednesday when children have half days. 

  • Most Parisians speak English.

  • No one picks up after their dog. Beware!

  • "Recent history" includes the 17th century.

  • No one is in a hurry. Ever.

What interesting things have you noticed while visiting different places?

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