1. Beautiful Parisian Women
While I may not be a HUGE fan of feel the fattest, shortest, and frumpiest I've ever felt in my life, I must say I do love how beautiful some of the women are in this city. It makes me feel like I'm in a movie. How do so many women here have such long legs? Do they all have personal stylists and shoppers too? And where do they get all the damn money for the plethora of snazzy scarves and leather bags they apparently own?
2. Stinky Cheese
I have always been a big fan of cheeses. The stinkier the better. And if it's soft and spreadable it's love at first sight. And here there are so many different cheese shops that I cannot resist buying some and having a constant supply in my fridge. In fact the other night Elze and I had a dinner based primarily on cheese, bread, foie gras, figs, sour cherry jam, and grilled pineapples. To say it was "french" would be accurate. To say it was sublime would be an understatement. There is a serious drawback to having a round of stinky cheese in your fridge and that's the pungent waft of morning breath aroma that comes every time you open your fridge. (It's also not all that great for your waistline). But the quantity and quality of decadent cheeses is just too irresistible.
Wine is something I write about often. I have never imbibed so much wine before in my life. But it just seems like the appropriate thing to do considering where I am. And it's also hard to pass it up when even the fairly cheap bottles are tasty. I am, by no means, a wine connoisseur, but I do appreciate a good glass when it meets my lips. All the same, living off of the meager means my internship pays me doesn't allow for much splurging when it comes to vin. And considering how many bottles my friends and I go through we have to be thrifty. So while I have a new found appreciation for the delicious beverage I have even more appreciation for the availability and quality of the cheap wine you can find here.
4. The Metro
The Paris metro is something I have a deep relationship with. I take it everyday on my way to work and if my day has been especially emotionally exhausting I take it home as well. While it may scare some people, being underground, crowded, rat infested, and with a regular announcement warning you of pick-pockets, I don't find it intimidating at all. It's easy to navigate and for less than 2 € you can travel anywhere in central Paris. And having Metro Card makes me feel like I'm part of a special club.
5. Tiny Shops
I know I've mentioned this before but I just cannot get over how many teensy weensy little shops there are in this lovely city. Some of them are the size of a tiny bedroom with stuff stacked up up all the walls. They can range from a tiny flower shop, a small antique store, a little vintage clothing store, to a minuscule art shop. And what else I love about these shops is that most of the people that run them are actually charming, friendly french people. They obviously enjoy their lives in their little shops and there's something about these enchanting stores that gives me the sense that the people who own them are doing something they really love.
6. The Homeless People/Performers
Now this may seem like an odd thing to enjoy but the homeless people in Paris are extremely interesting. Most of them have mattresses and I see them sleeping on them when I walk to work in the morning. Firstly, I'm always a bit upset that they're still asleep while I'm on my way to my internship in hell. Secondly, I always wonder where they got these mattresses. Thirdly, where do they put them during the day? They also almost all have a daily job they do. They sell homemade ashtrays made from soda cans. They have tin bins rigged inside shopping carts as grills and they'll grill corn on the cob over them or roast chestnuts on top of a lid over the flames. Every day when I get off the metro I can smell chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I know I'm going to love it even more come wintertime. I think another reason I enjoy them is because I walk past the same few guys every day so I've sort of bonded with them. There's the three guys near my metro, one who sells grilled corn on the cob, one who roasts chestnuts, and one who sells ashtrays and always has his little dog with him. The dog is always sleeping on a piece of cardboard and is covered with a blanket.
There are also a lot of people who perform on the street or in the metro. Most of these people are very talented and I love listening to their music while I wait for my train. These people don't seem to be homeless since they are well dressed, groomed, and can afford quality instruments, microphones, amps, the whole shabang. But they are still some of those people that everyone just walks past without taking notice, when really they are a big part of this city.
The croissants here really are the best. I don't know what they do differently but you just cannot get a croissant in the states that is as flakey and melt in your mouth as one in France. They are a French creation so I'm sure that has something to do with it, but almost everywhere you go you find a delicious flaky buttery croissant just waiting for you to enjoy it. I'm going to try as hard as I can to make a decent croissant to sell in my shop, but I think there are somethings you just can't replicate. It's obviously in their genetics, or perhaps the water, but just as they cannot make a burger better than the ones we have, we can't make a croissant better than the ones they have here.
Offal is something I have always loved but American's squeamishness about innards makes it a difficult thing to find in the states. The French, however, love it. You can find liver, bone marrow, sweatbreads, brains, kidneys, or fromage a tete in most restaurants, brasseries, and cafes. Foie gras? Why, I'd love some! Bread with a side of sausage and fromage a tete? I'm all about it! The other night I ordered some bone marrow and out came three cuts of bone cooked so that the marrow was soft and delicious, served with a bowl of sel gris, some toast, and a tiny spoon and I was in heaven!
9. French Swear Words
Something about French curse words makes me smile. Sure it may scare me a bit when my chef is yelling, "Merde!" or "Putain!" but they way they express it shows such meaning and feeling I enjoy it. Plus there's something about it that helps me relate to my fellow kitchen staff. I swear in the kitchen all the time and so while I may not understand exactly what he's saying, when Alberique utters a "putain," "merde," or "salope," I can relate to what he's going through.
10. Cobbled Streets
It may be a bitch to walk on with high heels but cobbled streets add to the charm of Paris. It also reminds me how old this city is. I walk on so many on my walk home and it makes me smile every time.