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What I Love About Living in Paris

Paris, France, the City of Light.
Paris, France, the City of Light. Photo © Tommie Hansen, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Here are some things I love about living in Paris:

  • Those first glorious, sunshiny days of spring, when Parisians can’t help but smile as they bask in the sun at terrace cafés across the city.
  • Brocantes (antiques markets), marchés aux puces (flea markets), and vide-greniers (rummage sales), where scoring secondhand treasures is a popular weekend sport.
  • Mid-November, when Parisian streets get gussied up with twinkling lights, decorated trees, and marchés de Noël that usher in the holiday season.
  • Mastering the myriad meanings of the beloved expression “oh là là.”
  • Watching strangers helping strangers lug suitcases, poussettes (baby strollers), and grocery bags up and down those seemingly endless Métro stairs.
  • The outdoor produce market in autumn, when summer’s ripe peaches and cherries give way to earthy mushrooms, fresh hazelnuts, and crisp Normandy apples.
  • The way Velib’ has transformed the city into a cyclist’s . . . well, not paradise, exactly, but something close!
  • Sharing conversation with friends over perfectly quaffable €3 glasses of côtes du rhône at a local bar à vins.
  • Hopping an early morning TGV from Gare de Lyon beneath gray skies, and arriving in warm, sunny Nice just in time for a prix fixe lunch en plein air.
  • The way my neighborhood boulanger reaches for the tradition graine baguette as soon as I walk in the door.
  • The unabashed topless septuagenarians sunbathing at the public swimming pool.
  • The simple act of filling my empty wine bottles from one of the enormous wood casks at my favorite caviste’s.
  • Community gardens, where growing kale isn’t just an activity for transplanted Californians.

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