I’d intended on doing a weekly post on my favorite discoveries in France alongside some of my most embarrassing flubs. I think it’s important to keep an honest and balanced account of expat life because it’s not all croissants all the time! But I’m also not on vacation in France- I live here- so of course documenting these lists hasn’t happened on the schedule I’d envisioned. Nevertheless, here are just a few of my French faves and French Fails from the first couple months here.
- Bertin Bakery– a two minute walk from my house and the best baguette in Mulhouse. And it only costs one euro. People line up outside of this shop day or night. Une baguette, un euro, in and out. People really do buy and eat baguettes everyday.
- Markets– French markets are beautiful. It kind of makes up for the small, slightly smelly grocery stores which is the other shopping option. But the outdoor markets are amazing, colorful, beautiful and it makes it easy to eat seasonally and locally. I have discovered many new fruits and vegetables this way. I try to buy all my produce from one of the markets and save the Monoprix just for certain staples like pasta or rice. More on markets later!
- Window Boxes. Obsessed.
- Stereotypes! No really, I actually love them. It tickles me to no end when I see someone riding a bicycle with a basket full of baguettes. Or when two old people wearing berets are taking a walk arm in arm. Accordion music is not just a stereotype it really does exist and seems to be carried on the wind here. Tiny dogs are a real thing. I really dislike that people smoke so much but when I see people sitting at a café terrace, smoking and drinking tiny espressos, it does make me feel like I am in France!
- I was in a wine shop browsing and the shopkeeper asked me if I needed any assistance. Instead of saying Je regarde juste- “I’m just looking”- I said “Je me regarde juste” which means I’m just looking at myself. So that was cool.
- I was wearing flip-flops walking down the street and some guy pointed at them and yelled at me. Could be that he was telling me that it was raining outside and that my feet were getting wet (as if I didn’t know). Not really sure, but I am sure that I will continue to wear flip-flops because after 8 hours in pointe shoes sometimes that’s all my feet will fit into. Random men on the street can just deal.
- Meeting an administrator in person that I had been e-mailing for months as “Monsieur” and discovering that Emmanuelle is in fact a woman’s name (update: I met a man named Emmanuelle so THERE. It can be both.)
- Baguettes are dangerous. I bit into one and a crumb flew up into my eye. I’m pretty sure I scratched my cornea. It was worth it though.
Stay tuned for more French Faves and French Fails! Do you have any French faves?