Paris Survival Kit

kit de survieBecause I am what my family calls the Queen of Guidebooks, I couldn’t resist this Paris Survival Kit I bought in a Paris museum recently. Isn’t it it cute? I bought it because of the genuine information I found in it, such as a few places to eat, work, or send visitors; also because it’s fun to see how real Parisians look at themselves– this book is aimed at them. The only foreigners to get their own chapter in the book are Americans. But don’t be flattered! Despite the scholarly-looking preface from the (bogus) Harvard professor John P. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D (the real author got it right in having him dateline it Cape Cod, July 2015), the book’s Americans are there strictly to be avoided.

How do you learn to identify (and avoid) Americans in Paris?

1) The American in Paris smiles.

This physiognomic particularity should warn you, since in Paris no one ever smiles. (see Gueule [attitude], p. 64)

2) The American in Paris is loud

You won’t even have to bother looking around the restaurant to identify the Americans who have infiltrated the clientele. The background noise will tell you quite enough. Moreover, the American in Paris is the only person to call the waiter “Garçon,” even when it’s a waitress.

3) The American in Paris lives in an amusement park.

For the expat American, “Paris is a moveable feast,” as Hemingway wrote, which shows you how completely he got things wrong. When you explain that your Paris life is nothing but an exhausting series of underground journeys, interminable office hours, and dreary evenings, the American in Paris laughs! Because as for him, he is having a great time going out, eating and drinking!


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