Paris: Experiencing The Parisian Culture
January 1, 1970
by Gemma Rakia
Moving to Paris
After living in the UK for 19 years, returning home after travelling became very difficult for me. London did not feel the same, as I did not come back the same person after travelling. My eyes and soul widened. I loved travelling and I wanted to continue to explore the world.
I knew I wanted to explore France, and I chose the city Paris to be my first stop. Why choose to live in Paris? Well on my travels around the world I met amazing people along the way. I made a friend in Tahiti that lived in Paris and we met up again and he showed me his city that he loves so much and I began to love it too. My wonderful weekend in Paris is what made my mind up, I decided Paris was going to be my new home.
Moving was quite simple for me but before making the big move to Paris I managed to secure myself a job through a craigslist ad. It was an ad looking for a Pastry Chef (Yes that’s me!) to open a brand new 5* Hotel. I had a phone call interview and the job was mine! Things were going so smoothly. Lucky for me I had 2 months before I would even need to start working. So that gave me time to move on to the next step and look for accommodation.
I was indecisive whether I should have a flatmate or rent a studio, but finding accommodation went pretty smoothly for me as well. I managed to find myself a nice little studio in a perfect location in Paris. It just so happens my landlord was also from London and lived across the road from my studio which was perfect. I was in disbelief in how well this was all going.
Being in Paris for over 4months I can tell you what I think is so great about Paris. Paris really embraces it’s French culture with the Boulangère and Pâtisseries on almost every street. A major part of Parisian culture is fashion the best way to describe their style is simple and chic. I arrived in the summer with everyone eating outside the restaurants which was wonderful even in the winter you will see people sitting outside eating. There are amazing muscians playing in some restaurants, the metro and on the street. The music creates a beautiful atmosphere and can feel very romantic if you’re in Paris with someone special.
Paris is a lively city and has a lot going on. Another great part of being in Paris is the love of art Parisians have they really embrace the arts which is wonderful. There are many art galleries, also there are lots of amazing street artists that have inspired me to dabble into art myself. The best places to see amazing paintings, sculptures an artists you will find in Montmartre, Arts et Metiers and in the Le Marais area, Place des Vosges.
Another thing I find so great about Paris is the architecture it is just stunning I believe it’s what makes the city so beautiful. There are quite a lot of buildings that look very similar all around Paris and there is a reason for that. My Parisian neighbour who also is a traveller explained to me that most of Paris’ architecture are designed by Haussman who was instructed by Napoleon lll to renovate the city. Haussman builds started around 1848. The most famous architectural buildings in Paris are; the Arc de Triumph completed in 1836, the Louvre built in 1989, Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre built in 1914 and the stunning Eiffel Tower built in 1889 which lights up during the night and I’m lucky enough to see in from my window.
Tourism in Paris is very popular. I’m sure when arriving in Paris the first thing you want to do is see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph. I’ll advise you to visit the Louvre when you have no other plans. The reason why? The Louvre is humongous, the biggest museum I’ve ever been to I believe it’s the biggest in the world. There is so much to see and you could spend hours there which is why advise to have a day free just to go to the Louvre Museum. The Louvre is also the home of the Mona Lisa. If you plan to see the Mona Lisa be aware that there are large numbers of people crowding around the painting taking selfies. So to get a good view be prepared to get pushed around and squashed between people. Also the Mona Lisa is quite a small painting which I wasn’t aware of until I saw it. There is so much more amazing things to see in the Louvre they even have an Egyptian Mummy which was really fascinating. I have not managed to see everything inside the Museum so I need to make another trip.
Taking a ride on the Bateaux Mouche is a must it takes you around the River Seine and you get to see the beautiful views of Paris. Visiting Monmartre is a must as I mentioned before it is a famous spot for the artist and its also where you will find the Sacré Cœur. You will also see the most amazing view when you reach the top of the staircase. Also Moulin Rouge is very close to Monmartre it’s very expensive to see a show so I have not been inside yet.
Live band bars and Jazz bars. I’ve been to a few bars and my favourite bars are the ones that have live music. My number one spot for live music is Aux Trois Mallietz. Upstairs is like a nice Jazz themed cafe and downstairs is in a cave where they sing different styles of music. The atmosphere is just amazing! The talented singers interact with you and they get everyone dancing. I believe its open until 5am so it’s great for a good night and perfect for all ages.
Shopping is definitely one of my favourite things to do. But where to go? Champs Elysees is very popular with the tourists you will find lots of high end fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel etc and also there are lots of high street brands. My favourite place to shop is in Chatlet a shopping centre called Forum Des Halles I like it because it is not so crowded because it is not so familiar with the tourists. Another great place to shop is Galeries Lafayette Haussmann the architecture is just stunning and there are so many shops to see you won’t be disappointed. If your looking for a peaceful shop that is not so overwhelming I recently found a new shopping centre So Quest it is a lot smaller than the other shopping centres but its definitely worth a visit.
I will explain the question mark later as dating had me confused and still does till this day. Dating in Paris, I unexpectedly did find myself dating here in Paris. I had a short summer romance (a complicated matter lol) I had the best dates I’ve ever had in my life! I’m not sure whether that’s because of my previous poor taste in men or the fact that I just happen to have met one amazing man. I found that he was listened to everything I said as every day he took me to a place I mentioned I like which was so refreshing. He would pick me up from work everyday. We went to museums and lots of art galleries, live band bars, lots of restaurants, we went on a river boat, walks around the Seine and all over Paris.
Going for walks are quite normal for dating in Paris but let me explain. Back to the question mark. The term dating is not quite clear in France dating is more of a thing in the US, UK and Australia I assume. So do not be surprised if you find yourself in a relationship when you thought you was just “dating”. I still have not understood dating as I’ve been told many different things but so far I have had a good experience. I met good looking French man with a beautiful soul. Since the summer romance I met a few more French men I have learned a little more. The men are very open and straight forward, they get gold medals for giving compliments. I would recommend not casually kissing French men unless you are wanting something more as it can be misleading to them. In France relationships generally start from the first kiss which is why dating doesn’t really happen.
Making friends in France. Making friends was pretty easy thanks to the online world. Couchsurfing and Meetup events are perfect if you want to make friends. I went to a few events and met people all of the world. Going to french classes is another great way. Also at work I made quite a few good friends even though I no longer work in the hotel I still meet up with the friends I made there. I really recommend Meetup events in Paris there is something for everyone it gives you the opportunity to meet people all over the world and people with similar interests as yourself. I went to an event recently and went clubbing with the people I just met and had awesome time. I went to a club called Duplex it was amazing. If you are from the UK you’re probably use to partying till 3am, in Paris you can party till your heart’s content as the club’s finish at 7am and if you don’t want to stop there is always an after party going on until 11am!
So far my stay in Paris has been amazing and I’m very happy to call it my new home. For now I’m going to continue to live in Paris. Hopefully I can give you an update on the food in Paris, Paris is just full of restaurants on every street. If you’re thinking about living in Paris the truth is, it’s expensive! But if you’re a Londoner you won’t know any different as London is also very expensive. The good thing about Paris is once you know the streets quite well, you realise Paris is quite small and you can walk everywhere. I save lots of money by not using transport and walking everywhere. A part from being expensive Paris is a wonderful place to live. I’m sure you would love Paris just as much as I do.