chic mother and her two daughters in front of Eiffel Tower

|| 5 July 2018

Paris Report from Synthia

Several years ago in preparation for her first trip to France, Synthia read the Chic & Slim books. She credits their information with helping make her visit so enjoyable. Recently Synthia emailed from Paris with a report on her latest visit this summer of 2018.

I'm in Paris with both my 20 and 10 year old daughters. I really wanted to give my 20 year old the French overview of beauty, manners, etc... although they have been fortunate to be in Spain as well as Italy, I knew France would be different.

1. The advice you gave about saying hello, soft voices, learning a bit of French is still on!! We couldn't find a rude person here if we tried. The service has been overwhelming and the people so friendly. We have been to French restaurants, touristy restaurants, etc... The idea of the soft voice is still very much adhered to.  The only people we could hear has been Australians or Americans. A case in point; the waitress dropped off some waffles for a gentleman's daughter and he said really loudly "she's going to need syrup with that. " The problem was it was already sweet! And he was American.

2. I think you would be surprised to find that there are more overweight people in France than before but you can definitely spot the true Parisian. At this time she wears a very thin sundress with flat sandals, tennis shoes stylish of course or cute flats. My oldest daughter claimed that her roommate told her that no one in France wears a bra. That is only true if you are very small and flat chested. I said that would not go over well with someone who was not built with that frame. We did a bit of shopping in the clothing stores and they have one size: small. The woman of a certain age still dresses very chicly and put together. I have not seen anyone with a lot of make up or crazy clothing.

3. I know France is full of immigrants and one thing that I have noticed is the ability of all the immigrants to assimilate to the French culture. For example, they are all soft spoken, friendly, and thin. Of course we have been in the nicer areas of Paris so that may be the reason why or even in our own hotel but we have met many of the neighborhoods in Paris and I find this to be true. Between Uber drivers or taxis., Waiters,  hotel staff , tourist attraction workers, etc....They are all quiet and nice.

4. One thing that did surprise me compared to the last time that I was here is that it appears that the portions are enormous. I am surprised as we have eaten at high end restaurants, lower fare restaurants , touristy and true Parisian. Overall it is a lot of food and I am wondering if this is new or if it is because The French really only eat one large meal a day?

5. If the eating here is a paradox so is the driving! I cannot believe how we have not witnessed one accident or anyone screaming at each other as they are driving. It is Mayhem. It is so crowded and the drivers weave in and out of traffic but the most shocking thing — especially coming from California — is that there is absolutely no road rage. I asked the driver why this was the case. He claimed that it is because this is the way Paris has always been with driving. It's nothing new . My husband who commutes on one of the busiest freeways in California claims he sees an accident every day and the road rage is out of control in the bay area as well as our country. In Paris... no big deal. I did see a few people yell at one another but then it's over with within one second and they go back to normal. We also witnessed that in Spain and Italy and that gave us quite a chuckle. We really like to hold onto things and I don't think that is the case and the rest of the world either.

6. No one has mentioned to us our president or our policies so I thought that was also very interesting as well.

Well that has been my observations for you. If I think of anything more I will let you know but it has truly been a wonderful trip and very memorable for my daughters . We just concentrated on Paris as there was so much to see along with trips outside of the city.

Anne, I wanted you to know that I truly use your books as a guide and now I am using them with my daughters as well. There's  hope for the future!


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Image: view of Paris. Photo by Yann Caradec via Wikimedia