From l’apéritif en terrasse to the early-morning croissant on the way home, what’s not to love about the Parisian social life?
Moderation: Boire avec modération (drink with moderation) is your mantra for socializing in Paris. France may be one of the biggest wine producers and consumers in the world, but the French pride themselves on enjoying alcohol in a civilized manner. Savoring a glass of red with one’s lunch or dinner exhibits art de vivre—where’s the fun in deprivation? Getting out of one’s tree every Friday night exhibits a lack of self-restraint and, needless to say, is frowned upon.
Moderation applies to eating as well. It requires iron willpower in a city full of tempting bakeries and delis. But indulging in small amounts of rich food and drink seems to work pretty well for most parisiennes’ waistlines.
Eating Out: Parisians are reluctant to queue, let pedestrians cross the road or wait for you to move out of the way in the metro, but one thing they do take time over is dinner. I was lucky enough to interview the chef Gordon Ramsay when he opened his restaurant in Versailles, Le Trianon. He told me he was amazed by the staying power of French diners, who far outlast their counterparts in London and New York: “When clients at the Trianon come for dinner it’s 8:30, and three or four hours later they’re still there.” Socializing, he said, is not something done on the fly.