Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Girls Guide to Paris Guestage: 5 Reasons to Love & Loathe Paris

My baguette has come in, readers. I live, drumroll please, in PARIS! Yes, the Land of Lovers. The District of Divine. The Magnificent Metropolis. I call “Par-ee” home. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, ”OMG that must be amazing!!!” . . . I’d have enough nickels to fill the Louvre and a sore neck from all my ecstatic nodding.

I’m not going to play it down: living here is a dream come true, and I’m reminded of that a thousand times a day. But everyone has bad days now and again (like yesterday, when I stepped in actual human excrement), but no matter how awful it gets, I love to sit in the park or watch the passers-by from a café and say to myself, “At least you’re not having this day in Wisconsin.” (Works every time.)

And yet, as much as I am in love with the City of Light, its denizens find a way to wedge poo underneath my high heels when I least expect it.

Paris sometimes reminds me of a bad relationship. There are reasons to stay in these toxic situations, and as many reasons to leave them.
1. It’s Flippin’ Gorge

Paris is like that really beautiful man you just spotted at the end of the bar. Expertly ensembled, coiffed to perfection, sculpted as if he were the god of a Gucci campaign . . . he gleams. Just one little problem: you are as noticeable to him as the gum stuck under the bar stool.

Paris knows this. It’s the apex of urban life and makes my hometown look like the pimply-faced band geek I used to be. I suspect the rest of France secretly despises Paris, fully aware that the other cities represent the proverbial ugly sister.

It’s amazing to be surrounded by the elegance of a city that’s in bloom, and at times I want to throw my hands in the air and sing “La Vie en Rose.”

The downside to all this beauty is the standard it sets. You can’t bum around in your pj’s in Paris. If you dare take a stroll in your workout shoes, be ready for some odd looks. Looks that in no uncertain terms inform you that you’re below the bar. You’re not even level with the ground on which that bar is perched. Oh, no. You’re sunk deep in the layers beneath the Earth’s crust, swimming in a molten fashion hell, and you should probably be set aflame for your faux pas.


  1. I just left a comment on the GG2P site. Paul let me know it was posted! Since the comment is under moderation, still, I am going to copy and paste it in here:

    This is one of the best pieces I have ever read on what it is REALLY like to live in Paris!

    Kudos to Shannon for highlighting that while Paris is an amazing city for many wonderful reasons, the reality of life here is not always equal to the fantasy of what one *thinks* it would be like to live here. Everything she writes is spot-on! I’m bookmarking this one to come back to it again and again, and will refer people to it, too, so they can understand what it feels like to be an American living here. (I’m originally from Wisconsin, too. Is it just that people from originally from Wisconsin feel this way? I’ll be interested to track the comments here to see what people who live here think about what Shannon writes.)

    Thanks, Shannon, for writing about what it is like to live in Paris with such humor and clarity!


    Seriously girl, you knocked me out with this piece. It really does center on just what it feels like to be in Paris, and I love the metaphors and similes you came up with! SO CREATIVE!

    On a totally other note, I am sorry I missed the Tweet Up last night. The cold medicine I'd been taking for this awful crap I've contracted (I've been under the weather for over a week now) had gluten and lactose in it, which I knew when I took it, but it was the only thing that would touch the nasal congestion I'd been having. I was just feeling too tired and gross from having a bloated stomach (from the meds) and a crappy, post-nasal drip cough (from the cold -- I could not win for losing!). I decided to stay in and watch "Desperate Housewives" (in English! I love télévision numérique!!) instead. I hope by the next one, which I also hope is soon, that I am doing much better. :)

  2. Karen, your sweetness factor is off-the-charts. Thanks for the kind words, glad it resonated w/ you. Might be a Wiscolorado thing ;)

    We missed you last night - get well soon!!!

  3. I loved your piece. I have traveled there for work and vacation from time to time. I really enjoyed myself but you are spot on with those descriptions (beautiful man at the end of the bar). I know you will enjoy your stay there, so I will just say "bon vivant" and if you have a moment please feel free to stop by my blog at:
    I can't promise french chic but the stories are from the heart like yours.

  4. Great post! I really, really love it1

  5. Hi Shannon, Figured I'd leave a comment for you here too as it doesn't appear like the one I left a few days ago on GG2P was posted. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this piece, especially number 3. Hilarious!

  6. Bwahahahahaha....what a refreshing change to read about the 'real' life here in Paris! I want to have "Life in Paris, Life in France is not all unicorns & rainbow farts people!" tattooed somewhere, and not like I don't have the real estate for that oh so oft repeated phrase, but I'm a wuss for self-inflicted pain ;) Biz. Parisbug

  7. @Shopgirl: nor can I promise french chic. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it doesn't exist on this site even in the tiniest of ways unless it is to mock what I lack lol. Glad you dug it :)

    @Andi: love yours too -- thanks again for the sat 6!! :D

    @Amy75: thanks for the comments on both :D Glad you lauled!

    @LRMJ: nothing like a rainbow fart, I always say. Go for it & tweetpic the photos!!

  8. Shannon,

    Great article about the real side of life in Paris!! I'm still laughing (about so many things you said) and nodding (as per the 'if I only had a nickel'...)

    Thanks for the humor and the smiles! (Love our little expat network, it's true that when you search for something you often find it)

    Careful where you step with those YSL's! ;)

  9. Ha ha ha! Hilarious! You make me miss Paris more than I ever thought I could. J'aime votre écriture! Thanks for tickling my funny bone.

  10. Excellent article! I've only visited Paris very briefly but i can even so relate to a lot of what you say!

  11. @kasia: Thanks hon, I'll watch out for the poo if my shoes cost more than 30 euros ;)

    @golfinparadise: Yeah, Paris has that effect more than my writing I think lol -- what are you waiting for? Come back! I'm sure there's a golf course around here you could put around.

    @Crafty Yay, not just expats who get it lol. That confirms my suspicious -- Parisians are flagrant in their hatred for visitors. Glad you liked it!

  12. Superb post! I have just frequented London really quickly however i will nevertheless connect to numerous that which you state!

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