After a grand total of 8 weeks here on study abroad, I think it’s become pretty obvious to everyone around me that I am basically Parisian. I mean, I no longer have to use Google Maps to get to the end of my road. I feel that means I can now speak with great authority about what it means to be Parisian – daily life, cultural nuances, fine dining and the like. So here goes my non-exhaustive list of how I’m trying not to look like a tourist (and mostly failing).
1. Invest in a silky scarf
Purely aesthetical, the silky scarf serves no purpose to us Parisians. Hung neatly around the neck, the silky scarf is a symbol of effortless chic. If you wear one, everyone knows that you just threw your outfit on with no regard to how you looked and still managed to look fabulous. The effect is particularly powerful when you don’t know how to tie one and it systematically falls off on your walk to the shops.
This feels completely natural!
2. And a side order of snails, s’il vous plait.
Snails (or escargot if you want to sound even more impressive than you already look with your new scarf) are part of the staple Parisian diet (aren’t they?), which is probably why I drew so many looks when I ordered them at a restaurant. If you want to blend in even more with the locals, you should pick up your dish to pose for a picture with it and then spill the garlic sauce all over the table. Très chic.
Because if you didn’t Instagram it, you didn’t eat it…
3. Own the road (and get angry with everyone else).
Whether you are driving, cycling or just crossing the road, it is imperative to have the attitude that you are always right. As a pedestrian, this requires stepping out into the road as far away from a crossing as you can get and just knowing the cars will stop for you because you are obviously very busy and important. As a cyclist, this means impatiently ringing your bell at said pedestrians and shouting merde! whenever you see fit.
Always keep your eyes on the camera (oh and the road!)
4. Rubbing shoulders with the stars.
If you have been following the steps above, then people know you must be a big deal and this will open up countless opportunities to mingle with all the celebrities you 100% do not stalk on Instagram (who does that? Lame). This week, I saw Karl Lagerfeld and was just so chilled and breezy with him. What would have been completely embarrassing (and so un-Paris) would have been to stop dead in my tracks a metre in front of him, feel my jaw drop to the floor and go “oh my god, it’s Karl Lagerfeld!” (pronouncing his name wrong in the process) in his face, thanking my lucky stars that today was the one day I didn’t wear my waterproof with the biro stain down the front. Who could comprehend such an act?
The celebrity can be a piece of art if you can’t find a real one!
5. Become a flâneur.
Being a flâneur means becoming someone who saunters carelessly through the cobbled streets (preferably decked out in a tan trench coat) with no particular purpose in mind other than getting in the way of others. A good flâneur will stop with no warning in the middle of the pavement to the detriment of others around them to look up at a building quizzically or check their phone. This is a fine art and acquiring the perfect “I’m sorry, am I in your way?” look does take some time to master.
Don’t mind me, just sauntering
Follow these steps and you are on your way to becoming a bona fide Parisian. No need to say merci, that wouldn’t be very fitting.
Edited by India-Jayne Trainor