I think we all know people do things a little different in Europe – but until my trip to France, I didn’t realize just how different things really are!
First, everyone always seems to be dressed to the nines! I only saw a couple folks in very casual (i.e. American) clothing – I felt like I was on-set for The Devil Wears Prada! I think of it as good manners to dress well for the day out, so it was so nice to be somewhere where everyone else seemed to agree. No wonder sidewalk cafes are so popular! There were so many “beautiful people” from all over the world, so people-watching was always a treat!
Second, everyone smokes!
I know it’s kind of a French stereotype to picture them standing around with cigarettes all the time (drinking coffee, outside art museums, wearing funny hats…), but it really is just the norm in Paris. The strangest part of that was seeing kids – and I mean KIDS – outside schools smoking!
You can also smoke on the sidewalk side of the sidewalk café, which is quite different from the strict no-smoking regulations in our restaurants. Only once, did someone in a restaurant ask us if we minded them smoking during dinner.
Considering the close proximity of tables and people, we were grateful! Yes, we told them we minded.
Third, everyone drinks coffee.
I know, you’re thinking Duh! Everybody knows that!
Even though I was expecting it, it was nice not to feel guilty for indulging everyday 🙂
Oh! Did I mention how small the coffees can be unless you order an Americana?!? Well, assume you’re ordering an espresso unless you opt for the Americana sized cup of caffeine.
Fourth, you can take your cat to work with you! Enough said about that! Some of my friends would need to take a personal day or be sedated with Benadryl.
Fifth is the food. All meals are an event in France!
Everywhere we went, even a simple bistro, presented as an art form and tasted just as fabulous as it looked.
I saw very few chain and fast food places and even heard that their McDonald’s sells croissants and pastries! But with so many beautiful bakeries, there was no way I was even going to waste time stepping into one!
Sixth surprise for this Mad Interior Designer from Las Vegas… everyone has wine with lunch in Paris! Yeah!!! Like smoking, it’s also the norm! So I joined in of course! Hee hee… What do you say we start this trend America? Well, some of my Vegas friends and clients already act like they’re eating in Paris ~next time I will be joining in without any guilt.
I have to say I think there are a few things Americans could learn from our European neighbors!
Seventh and my favorite…
Everything boils down to how these people LOVE beauty and make everything artful. There were gardens, monuments, cathedrals, museums, streets, cafés, hotels, street signs, and of course my favorites ~ beautiful Parisian doors and awesome window displays!