I don’t think there is a need to convince anyone of Paris as a travel destination. So writing the top 10 sights or what to do in one or three days wouldn’t add much. Besides, this kind of info is merely scratching the surface of what’s there to explore.
We’ve to admit Paris has got a lot of secrets confined to a few of its inhabitants. Though its population is not strictly french they get to develop common traits. Those things that form its character, what might annoy or impress…
Well that’s actually a french trait, it doesn’t only exist in Paris. Curiosity, according to Cambridge dictionary, means “an eager wish to know or learn about something”. And that’s how the french operate and Paris isn’t an exception. They always show a certain intellect in terms of acquiring info, critiques and debates. Most importantly they act upon it, once they are aware, they own the issue and its resolution…
The “Bio” Mania and the environmental foot print
There is a new wave in Paris to buy from farmers market. You need to find the farmers who may not be necessarily labeled and certified as “Bio”. But find those who sell fresh crop that may not look picturesque, also it has to be the seasonal crop. The french learned that perfect looking crops are genetically modified so it should be avoided. They also learned that the “BIO” label in the super market has been processed in a fridge, exported or brought from far locations, stored in warehouses consuming energy so even the green foot print is not there. You see the intellect in the story is about the principle and purpose of protecting the planet and consequently your own health as well as your family.
Tip: “Raw honey“
In a few Sunday markets in Paris (namely you can find and buy raw honey. That means it’s most likely hand bottled jars filled with unprocessed honey with a multitude of shades depending on the ambient temperature and specific flower. Processed, even looking honey have mostly lost its benefit. So I recommend you add a jar of that honey to your shopping list. Also people are aware of the bees threat of extinction, so they try to encourage what’s right.
All these things are costly, as much as life in Paris is. Awareness is not the only thing you need as it’s a luxury to be able to add 25% extra on your shopping budget at least. Some people also would sign up for the community supported weekly basket online , save some time and effort and make sure Parisian farmers will grow…
Recycling – An other face of the Eco Chic paris
Very clear guidance that provides both awareness and help on how and what to segregate can be found here among other online resources. There is also a place that illustrates the drive for renovation in that sense; “La Recyclerie“. The place is part of la”Petite Ceinture” in Paris, one of the most interesting walks where wild life, greenery and historical train lines are preserved.
It’s a renovation of a an old train station at the end of la petite ceinture near Paris’ Porte de Clignancourt (famous for its flea market). You’ll find it as you exit Metro L4. They truly stick to their principles of sustainability and being environment friendly in terms of waste management, gardening and cooking delicious dishes using fresh ingredients…
There is also a new trend in Paris called: “les jardins partages” or shared gardens. This means a green space managed and planted by the inhabitants of the area. Each person can participate, you can find here all needed information on where it exists and how to participate or create your own.
La greve – In other words striking
You may experience that while in Paris as well as any other part of France. The french people owned the right to strike 20 years ahead of being allowed to form labor unions. Consequently there is a calendar for that, check it out ahead of travel cause it might affect your itinerary in terms of transportation and sightseeing. Why is that a sign of curiosity? Because well interpreted information is power, the reason they earn their rights is that they put pressure and act as a decision making partner, nothing such as full trust is given to a leader. At least that’s the way I see it… It gets annoying though cause sometimes the demands are inexplicable.
Do it “A la Parisienne”
Say “Bonjour” everywhere you go; shops, restaurant, bars..etc. Don’t shove your backpack in the face of everyone nor consume spaces in public transportation by sitting on fold-able chairs during rush hour. Those are small examples of what people would appreciate in Paris, so the list goes on and on. The population density is high given the size of the capital city but they chose to face that with a bit of common sense and a little politeness.
Appreciate meal time
At exactly 12, you’ll find no one in the office. All restaurants, cafes, bistros will be full of people taking their time to eat. Whether its a sandwich, or a steak tartar they will sit somewhere nice, and take their time! I’ve experienced a few business meetings in France and wine is casually available on premises, specially if it’s an artistic or a cultural office environment.
Use your feet and walk
Paris is small and maybe you can walk from end to end in a couple of hours (not talking of suburbs). Not to mention that the traffic is cruel anytime of day and during the start and end of weekends, so it’s easier to just leave your car or not even own a car and walk, take the metro, bus or train. There are plenty of apps to guide you…
Enjoy sunny days
Go out in parks, bare footed or legged or whatever suits you. Relax, lay down on the grass and take a good dose of vitamin D along with your favorite drink!
Have it your own way, in a coordinated, artsy manner! This is why, if you wanna go shopping try and discover areas like le Marais and the secret passages of the city.
Paris diverse yet non-inclusive culture
There is no nice way to put it, France was a colonial country and maybe it still is. And a lot of french speaking Africans, specially north Africans have become residents but not necessarily included or integrated. Despite everything their descendants are still called immigrants, often accused of causing riots, violence and some crimes. However, this history has always been a source if inspiration; plenty of novels, music, theatricals, graffiti and much more.
Some neighborhoods convey a bit of tension but still are very interesting to roam around like Belle Ville, Goutte D’or, Saint Denis and the area around Gare du Nord: Chapelle, Barabes, Max Dormoy. Because it’s not a question of race, but also poverty and stigma. Just use your senses and normal safe practices…
Here are a couple of links that will guide you through latest trends, news and hangouts: Vivre Paris , Explore Paris and Sortir a Paris. To which you can subscribe cause the Paris is dynamically changing all the time…