France, je t’aime

Having spent 3 months in Paris I wanted to share some of the things I love about both Paris and France:

  1. Apéro! A meal before the meal which can actually be better than the meal itself. This is not a starter because that will come later. An apéro is just to get you in the mood for a meal to come. It’s not for everyone especially those that like the British (I will try and refrain from using too many stereotypes) eat fast but I am certainly enjoying this aspect of life. Not to mention that I have a new favourite drink: Pastis. Generally drunk only as an apéro, I am happy to consume it at any time of day
  2. Paris metro system. Yes it’s not as clean as many others in the world (including London) or as impressive (Moscow) but for an old world metro system (I’m not comparing it to some of the incredible achievements in Asia) it’s amazingly useful and efficient. Trains are very frequent and with 16 (I’m including 3bis and 7bis) metro lines (plus 8 tram lines, and plenty of RER and bus options) it’s extremely convenient
  3. Ubiquitous boulangeries, pharmacies, patiserries, marchés, flower shops, tabacs etc. make it extremely easy to find things everywhere. Only thing to be aware of is the oftentimes strange opening hours e.g. my favourite boulangerie is open every day 7h – 20h (including bank holidays) except on Tuesdays when it’s closed.
  4. The caddie! Not the golf type but the shopping cart type. Despite them not having much Va Va Voom (if you’re not familiar with the terminology check out this Thierry Henry ad) they’re everywhere! And I love it! The most common brand is Rosler and the French certainly make full use of them, but their main use is definitely for grocery shopping.
  5. Environmentally friendly approach to life. In particular I am impressed at the recycling rate. A whole week in my French language course was devoted to learning about recycling and the various words that seem to be reserved purely for this exercise including the very efficient word “tri” which means the sorting of waste into three separate bins (indicated by yellow, green and blue bins). In addition, Paris has a fantastic bike sharing scheme called Velib’ (the bikes are better than the Boris bikes of London, cheaper, and there seems to be far more of them!) as well as having been one of the first to launch an electric car sharing service called Autolib’.

I look forward to enjoying other aspects of the French and Parisien way of life. À bientôt!

Pastis 51
Selection of Rosler caddies
France, je t’aime