Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Those Quirky French

The French, or at least Parisians, have their quirks--I suppose like any culture. I've noticed a few.
  • These people look good. Plain and simple, they know how to dress. Men and women. I'm guessing this is less true as you travel away from the center of Paris. But urban Parisians have Bostonians and Chicagoans beat, for sure, and I think they edge out New Yorkers, if not at the high end of fashion (a tie?) then in the fact that almost no natives look mediocre; everyone dresses well above average.
  • These people also smell good. Cologne and perfume are liberally used. This may be because...
  • Everyone smokes. The French refuse to put genetically modified foods into their bodies, for fears of unknown dangers that have never been proven to exist, but they're happy to fumer all day long, the dangers of which have been documented by volumes of scientific evidence.
  • It's hard to find a cup of coffee to take out (except at Starbucks, but that doesn't count, and I've only seen one of those, thank God). If you want coffee, you sit down somewhere and drink it. And it's really, really good coffee. You don't see people walking around with paper cups or mugs, slurping 32 ounces. They stop and enjoy. Even commuters in the morning pull up to the bar in a cafe and put away an expresso, then continue on with their commute. Probably as it should be, especially when the coffee is this good.
  • The French put their door knobs in the middle of their doors. Now, this may be charming or aesthetically pleasing, but it sucks from a mechanical perspective. There's just not enough leverage, especially with these 200-year old, solid wood doors that weigh 200 pounds. Form before function, I guess.

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