When I arrive in Paris, it never hits me all at once. Rather, the realization that I’ve returned to my city-of-choice creeps up on me via small encounters, random observations and chance interactions. And when I finally realize where I am—Paris!—I begin to wonder, “Why did I ever leave?”
We’ll leave that question for another time, but for now, here’s how I know I’ve arrived.
1. I forget how to tell time, and relinquish the notion of scheduling. On my most recent visit, it took me a full 36 hours to realize that daylight savings had occurred. It didn’t help that when I had arrived a few days earlier and asked my boyfriend, “Where’s your clock?,” his response was: “There is no clock. I’m your clock.” Well, it turns out he’s a very unreliable clock—albeit a handsome one.
2. Everyone is buzzing about the same new spot.
Candelaria storefront on the rue Saintonge (Lost in Cheeseland)
Of course, this happens in every city, but in New York, the buzz is more liberally distributed. Paris’ slower rate of restaurant turnover means you can literally watch the swarm of foodies descend on the newest (and hopefully well-prepared) hot spots. This time around, it was all about Candelaria, which is to restaurants what the mullet is to haircuts: simple up front, hidden party in the back.
Delicious tacos at Candelaria (Lost in Cheeseland)
3. I can eat my weight in food and not get (too) fat. It’s one of the most beautiful unsolved mysteries of life in Paris. I can spend a week eating nothing but St. Marcellin, steak, tarte tatin and guzzling Cote du Rhone, and somehow end up thinner. There must be something in the Parisian water. Or perhaps I have gained weight and everyone’s just kindly letting me ride out this illusion. Hmmm…
4. I start buying myself roses. Roses aren’t normally my thing, but in Paris, I always come across these special ivory-colored ones that have a slight pink tint and a green tinge around the edges of the petals. They remind me of ballerinas, and at just 7 Euros per botte (“bunch”) at my local market, they suddenly morph from “occasional indulgence” into “daily necessity.”
There’s nothing wrong with buying yourself roses (Ddofr)
5. I spot my first dead pigeon. I admit this is a weird one, but nothing says “Paris” to me like a dead pigeon in the street. I have yet to get to the bottom of this mystery (a ravenous pigeon-eating monster roams the streets at night?), but every time I’m here, I come across a carcass or two. I want to say, “Be more careful, guys!” But who am I to tell a Parisian pigeon how to live its life?
- Girl’s Guide to Paris’ review of Candelaria
- The things Amy Thomas only sees in Paris
- Fantastic tips on what to do in Paris from (who else?) Do it in Paris