Nine things you must know about Paris…

Paris is like my second home…and not because we have an apartment there or anything…but because when I’m there I am completely at peace and happy…the kind of feeling you only get when you’re “home”.
And even though my heart has and always will belong to Miami…my soul is probably Parisian born ;)

Here are a couple of the things I learned this time around in beautiful Paris:
9) The best way to see a city is by using your legs.
Yes, I know that I’ve advocated before on this site about the wonders and fun of the double decker tour bus…and I still stand behind it…everyone should do it for sure, but a city like Paris is like a delicious vintage Bordeaux…it needs to be appreciated.
Take a moment to just walk the city…with no direction but whichever way the wind blows.
Stop and look at the doors, the high windows, the moldings on every building.
Stop and smell the fresh bread baking, listen to the sounds of a far off scooter coming your way, feel the beautiful late Parisian sun on your face.
Paris wants you to walk her streets and admire her beauty…she is truly breathtaking and like that wine I mentioned…Paris just gets better with age.
Every year I appreciate the city more and more and I’m so grateful for the moments where I have nothing to do but walk the streets of my soul’s city and drink in the fabulosity which makes this city my second home.

8) The fashion is not only fashion, it’s a complete representation of the individual who wears it.
I know, I know…you’re thinking…sheez, must she always talk about Paris’ fashion…and the answer is yes…I must talk about it because it is such an important part of the essence of the city.
Parisians dress for themselves…not to impress people, not to fit in, not for their lovers…they dress for themselves and it shows.
Parisians walk around with a glamorous air of confidence and effortless chic attire.
I mentioned to a friend that if I lived in Paris I would definitely dress more Parisian chic…not sure exactly what that means, but I know I’d do it ;)
From the young kids to the older ladies…everyone looks great, put together, with individuality and a certain “je ne sais quoi”.
And that, my friends, is the true definition of a fashionista…it’s not about the labels, the money you spend or the new “in” look…it’s about owning your style and wearing it for you…everyone else will admire you for it…trust me ;)

7) The greatest Parisian restaurant is not French…
You know when you discover something great and you kind of want to share it with everyone but not really??
Maybe I’m just selfish with exceptional finds…but after pondering whether or not I should write about my little gem of a restaurant, I decided that it’s just too good not to share….see, I’m nice sometimes ;)
La Corte Restaurant is hidden in a little alley just off Rue St. Honore and chances are you’ll probably walk by it and miss it because it’s so hidden BUT if you’re willing to search for it, you will know you found a treasure from your first bite.
We found this place by fluke…or by a blessing/miracle because we LOVE it.
It’s a tiny Italian owned/run restaurant with a menu that is to die for.
Homemade pastas and the most delicious tomato sauce I’ve ever had.
Appetizers that make your mouth water just at the thought and desserts that should be illegal.
Add some amazing wines, bring only your closest friends and voila! C’est un soir exceptional!
But please…let’s not let the word spread too much…I still want to be able to get a table next time I go ;)

6) The French people really (REALLY) like their cigarettes.
I mean, this is kind of a given if you’ve ever been to Paris.
Cigarettes are so common that when I meet a French person that doesn’t smoke, I’m shocked.
Personally I don’t smoke BUT I must say…that if ever there was an city ad for smoking, Paris should be it.
Everyone looks so….well, they all look so damn Parisian chic…sitting in the cafes, drinking their espressos and smoking their cigarettes.
Parisian people are the modern day Marlboro Man…and who doesn’t love smoking cowboy?!
Obviously I know it’s horrible for you…but I will say that there is a slightly small part of my brain that says “damn, they look so cool”.
Ugh….I know…so wrong.
Quick, somebody pass me a nicotine gum before I get any crazy ideas.

5) The French people really (REALLY) like their wine.
Another given if you’ve ever been to Paris…and this is one extreme habit that I fully participate in every chance that I get ;)
Drinking wine at any time of the day in Paris is as normal as smoking a pack of cigarettes before noon….the Parisian do it and they do it big time.
In a restaurant, il faut que tu prends un vin (you must take a wine)…it’s almost rude not to.
And in Paris, be adventurous with your wine travels. Ask the waiter to recommend a bottle and go for it.
Don’t stick to what you know…there are too many exceptional wines you’ve never heard of waiting to be tasted by your lips….so don’t let them down ;)

4) The US stores in Paris are just that…US stores in Paris.
You know the story…girl travels to Paris, she wants to go shopping and begins the spree at “The Gap” or something like it.
We all do it…we all feel like even though the store is American, they’ll have different things because it’s in Paris.
Well, actually, nope…they don’t really have anything different.
So the only Parisian experience you’ll receive at  the Marc Jacobs store will be that your receipt will be in Euros and your tags will be in French….now, step away from the shirt and move on to a store we don’t have in the US.
Seriously…put the shirt down.

3) Parisians dislike tourists….wait, let me rephrase….Parisians dislike dumb tourists.
Parisians are no different then New Yorkers…they don’t want to have to answer to every person holding a map where the hell all the monuments are.
I live in Miami Beach and we have tons of tourists and it’s probably not as bad as it is in Paris…but I’m still annoyed when they ask “do you know how to get to South Beach?” (asking while standing in the middle of South Beach) so I get it…honestly.
So if you’re visiting Paris, here are some friendly tips that will help you not fall into the “Dumb Tourists” category:
a) Never, never ASSUME that everyone speaks English…yes, they probably all do but for you to assume and begin speaking to them in English rubs them the wrong way.
Instead, learn some easy to get by common phrases and attempt to speak in their language…trust me, this will get much further than “excuse me, can you tell me where the Eiffel Tower is?”
b) Don’t talk on your cell phone in a confined space like a restaurant. This is très rude and will guarantee you the “evil eye” from people around.
Instead, step outside and make your phone call like a lovely civilized person I know you are ;)
c) Know where you’re going and how…so that means, if you’re going to take the metro, check the routes you need to take and plan your trip. Do not go into the metro and ask a person (probably on their way to work/dinner/home) how to get to Sacre Cour and which connections to take. They’re not your tour guide…and it’s not their job to get you there correctly.
Instead ask your hotel’s front desk to guide you in the right direction and READ the signs…surprisingly they are correct and will point you in the right direction.
Believe me…you’re smarter and more independent than you think ;)

2) “Crazy Horse” is indeed a “nudie” show but it’s done the way a true burlesque show should be.
Often times we use the word sexy to describe something/someone trashy:
“She dresses too sexy” is just one example of how we use this word to describe something slightly undesirable….but actually sexy is a fabulous word and we should all strive to add a little more “sexy” in our lives.
The ladies at the Crazy Horse do just this…yes, they’re topless and yes, they’re strutty around in killer Louboutin heels but they do it with such grace, elegance and class that both the men and the women watching can’t help but be captivated with the sexiness that is this show.
Being sexy doesn’t mean being trashy…it means being classy, elegant, refined, a little naughty but above all…
Being sexy means being confident.
So try to be a little sexier in your day to day life…walk with a little more strut, hold your head up a little higher, feel comfortable in the skin your in and love everything about you….
Try it tomorrow…you’ll see it’s not that hard to be “too sexy for yourself” ;)

1) And the #1 thing I learned from my last trip to Paris is……
This city is magical.
It’s romantic, chic, historical, young, energetic, peaceful…
It is truly a very, very special place.
Share it with someone you love.
If you can, come here with a loved one and fall in love again not only with the city but with each other.
It’s a perfect place to hold hands and walk down the Champs Elysee or have a long candlelight dinner in St. Germain or lay together on a blanket in the park staring at the clouds.

Paris is called the city of love for a reason…love is definitely in the air here…so take a deep breath and let.it.in!
XOXO,
Martha

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4 Comments

  1. September 18, 2011 / 9:16 pm

    I’ve been to Paris twice and am going for my third time in a couple of weeks! I’m absolutely in love with the city! I love this post you wrote it is very helpful and I totally agree with it! Especially the store part! I really try and only go to stores that the US does not have when I’m there!

  2. November 5, 2011 / 7:42 am

    This is probably one of the most truthful posts about Paris I’ve ever seen – love it!