One Year in Paris

In I am... on September 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

It has come to my realization that exactly one year ago today, I left my hometown of London to make Paris my new home. To be honest, I don’t think I actually believed I was going to stay. It was one of those dramatic life statements that I was trying to make at the time (kids). But here I am, a year later, less dramatic and still eating croissants for breakfast.

So I’ve decided to celebrate this occasion by assembling quotes and pictures from my favorite Paris blogs– yeah kinda like a ‘Messy Nessy Greatest Hits’ album (because I’m that self involved).

And here comes my acceptance speech…

I’d like to thank my readers for following me throughout my first year discovering Paris. Writing these blogs for you has truly helped me grow and become the little Parisienne that I am today. I’d also like to thank the people that welcomed and befriended me here in Paris. I’m not sure if I would have been able to make this city my home without you … [sniffle].

Okay done. Now for that little trip down memory lane you’ve all been waiting for. 

So I’ve decided to move Paris. I’m giving the city of romance six whole months to convince me to stay, vs the twenty-five loyal years I’ve given London– possibly not a fair fight but those are the rules…. For some, moving back in with Mom and Pops at the age of twenty-five can be a terribly daunting prospect (suicidal in some cultures)… With barely three weeks left in London now, how will I bid farewell? If, after six months I choose Paris and return only to pack up my life here for good, what can I do to say goodbye to the city that raised me?… I thought I might be very self-indulgent in my preparations to move and make something similar to that of a bucket list for leaving London…”

The Paris Experiment: Chapter 1. Saying Goodbye to London, September 15th, 2010

Yes, making a mark here in Paris is going to take some effort. I’m almost set on my decision to deny my French nationality altogether and present myself strictly as a London girl until I can name at least five relevant Parisian celebrities and not inexplicably run off into the distance when tourists ask me for directions.”

I’m a bit of a Loner but that’s Okay with Me, October 4th, 2010

The Good the Bad and the Funny of Paris Fashion Week Street Style, 6th October, 2010

It would appear as if Paris has turned me into some kind of immoral man-eater. This is not how it was supposed to be. I’m responsible at being single. That’s what it says somewhere here on my blog anyway… My fellow London Girl in Paris and I have been trying to make sense of the dating scene here over several late morning coffees after French class. We’ve noted that Parisian men are astonishingly quick off the mark in asking girls out and even quicker at voicing their intentions….

Without a shadow of a doubt, Parisian men are everything you’ve been warned about. Be prepared. They’re better looking, they’re as charming as their style indicates and not afraid to chase you as if you were the last woman on earth. Victoriously living up to it’s infamous byline, the French capital is indeed the city of romance. Stereotypes really do have an awful habit of being right.”

Paris, Blogging and Dating, 3rd November

“I love girl chats fuelled by red wine. Ground-breaking theories about boys suddenly come flowing out of us as if we’re brainstorming for a self-help book and after two bottles, we’re agreeing quite seriously that psychiatry is clearly the profession we need to be in. The previous evening, curled up on armchairs on the sixth floor of a Saint Germain apartment block, fellow London Girl In Paris and I had an epic tête a tête, which I’m going to try to remember at least some parts of because I recall thinking at the time that it was all ideal blog material… (just roll with me on this one)…”

What Girls Talk About, November 26th, 2010

“Come snow, come sleet, Parisian cafés will always be for sitting al fresco, people-watching and elegant espresso sipping. Almost all cafés have cleverly invested in outdoor heaters for the winter season but when temperatures hit an all-time low you start to wonder how mad you have to be to take your coffee fix in near-arctic conditions.”

How to Survive Winter in Paris, December 2nd, 2010

Okay, so I don’t normally do this… If I have a crush on a boy, he’s always the last to know… Meet Guillaume. Pretty cute hey? If you aren’t French, the only time you may have ever seen his face would have been in that 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio flick, The Beach, where he played the rediculously good-looking French guy, after which, he pretty much disappeared from English-language cinema. So why should you care?…”

Boy Crush du Jour: Guillaume Canet, December 8th, 2010

In Paris, where wine is king and a botched martini is commonplace, what unites these inconspicuous venues is a desire to bring back the craftsmanship of the cocktail and serve premium drinks to customers who care more about an excellent bartender and what he/she has to offer than being seen in the right place.”

Clubbing is Like SO Over, January 31st, 2011

“Old friend HandbagAddict (previously ShoeAddict) came to visit me in Paris last weekend with her boyfriend, who without much thought, booked them a room at the Four Seasons hotel, George V. This got on my nuts (can girls use that expression?). I could understand if you might be traveling to a third world country where the only hotel that isn’t likely to be harboring cockroaches is the Four Seasons– fine. But in Paris?… This prompted me to embark on a hotel trail and wander the cobbled streets of the city in search of alluring homes away from home with a taste ofreal Paris. I suppose this little guide might also come in handy from now on when I’m asked, “Can you suggest a charming and inexpensive hotel in Paris?””

Seven Substitutes for Tourist Trap Hotels: The MessyNessy Paris Hotel Guide, February 2nd, 2011

Girl Crush du Jour: Lou Doillon, March 10th, 2011

“I did the unthinkable last weekend. I organised a double date. Oh the horror I experienced, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I could start by describing what an obnoxiously sunny day it was, how the restaurant’s terrace indecently over-looked a glistening canal, and terrifyingly, the conversation post-main course turned to weekend escapes in the French countryside– couples weekends. Despicable… Alright, since we’re on the topic, I thought I might give in and do a MessyNessy guide to romance in Paris. There are plenty of articles on google search that spew predictable and repetitive tour guide ideas such as tea at the Ritz, a walk along the Seine (duh), macaroons at Laduree– absolutely nothing original there.”

This + That = Romance in Paris, March 23rd, 2011

“Florence is an up and coming actress who takes you under her wing in Edith Piaf’s old Parisian neighbourhood, Belleville. It’s one of the most eclectic and diverse in Paris and your narrator will plunge you head first into her helter skelter ‘QG’, starting at the café Charbon, her morning haunt… You’ll set out along the cobblestones, passing corner shops and bars which she takes you inside and remembers moments she spent with her musician lover there, revealing little anecdotes of local Parisian knowledge all the while.”

A Loner’s Guide to a Big City, March 24th, 2011

“The Paris of the Belle Époque (1900s) saw the emergence of a certain type of street outcasts; a subculture that combined dandy style with the criminal underworld…. They lived in secret dens in the city outskirts, shunned the idea of honest labor and took their name from the allegedly savage native American tribes of Apaches… In the 1920’s many a high society lady was spotted mingling with charismatic Apache groups in local Java dance halls in Bastille and Montmartre, letting her hair down in a famous Dance Apache.”

The Parisian Street Gangs that Danced with Dandyism, April 8th, 2011

“I ended up at a small gathering in the Marais district late Saturday night, listening to some very French music. As the wine became scarce, the music got louder and the girls sang and danced harder behind the bar of the kitchenette. Sure, there was the odd Katy Perry pop song that came through the speakers, a bit of Black Eyes Peas and what not, but what everyone was really enjoying was the wailings of French crooners from as far back as the 1960s. “You don’t know this song?” I was asked, as if I had just admitted I’d never heard of The Beatles, “you’ve gotta learn some French music,” I was told. It was true. Amongst Parisians, being totally clueless about their singers other than Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg (only because he had relationships with Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin) just isn’t going to cut it. There’s just one problem. I think French music is bad. Really bad…”

Today in France, I Learnt About Someone other than Bridgitte Bardot & Jane Birkin, April 12, 2011

“Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve suffered from an incurable fear of feeling like a tourist. When I decided to move to Paris six months ago, on nothing more than a whim, I knew I had to make it my city– and fast (this is already sounding like a cheap movie trailer). Okay look, I just hate to see people coming to Paris and not being able to experience the city, even in the smallest way, as the locals do. Drop your guide books, walk straight past the hotel concierge and for God’s sake, don’t go up the Eiffel Tower… “

Paris in the Springtime: Six Ways to Do it Like a Local, April 14, 2011

“What are the consequences of a culture with such deep-rooted sensationalism of sexual desire? More importantly, what are the consequences for women? … One only has to walk a few blocks in Paris or take a few turns through the metro passageways to make an educated guess that advertisements featuring women outnumber those featuring men by about 10 to 1.”

Is France Paying the Price for Being Notoriously Good in Bed? , May 17, 2011

“You know when you move to a new country and things that once seemed very easy and normal back home suddenly feel like the big scary unknown? Well that’s how I felt about finding a new swimming pool in Paris. Do they swim a certain way? Will all the elegant Parisian ladies make me feel like a baby hippo thrashing through the water? These were the type of questions racing through my mind as I edged towards my first Parisian swimming pool, pulled led by boyfriend through the doors of La Piscine Pontoise.”

The Paris Syndrome, June 9th, 2011

“When I first moved to Paris, I quickly found out that the real nightlife was not in the bars or in the clubs but in the Parisian apartments.

House parties. House parties galore.

I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to get invited to one, but sure enough, if you break away from that whole ‘single foreigners alone together’ thing, meeting just one Parisian can gain you access into people’s apartments for an entire season.

You see, I’m a nosey bugger. And I like to see how people live, especially in Paris. You know, all Parisian-like.”

Shshshsh! Private Parties in Paris, June 15th, 2011

Summer has arrived here in Paris, which means, so have the American girls.For twenty-something Parisian boys, this is hunting season. American girls are numerous, they very much enjoy alcohol (as well as the no-age restriction) and they’re generally less intimidating than your average female Parisienne. French women –who are well aware of this themselves– are generally complicated and slightly nutty creatures. It is common knowledge amongst most Parisian men that American girls who come to Paris in the summer are searching for three simple things:

1) The Eiffel Tower– along with a miniature version of it, encased in a plastic snow globe.

2) The smelliest, least transportable traditional French food (that most French people indeed don’t even eat), which will not actually get past customs.


3) A summer love affair with a French boy who could read the small print off a can of peas and still make it sound sexy in his accent.”

American Girls in Paris, July 1st, 2011

I remember long before I moved here, in my late teens, I came to Paris with some friends for the weekend. Being half-French, they thought I would know all the Paris hotspots. And so I kind of let them think that.

Even though I didn’t know squat.Didley. 

A Paris study abroad summer session a few years earlier hadn’t exactly paid off in that department and was spent mostly in local cafés not more than 500 feet from campus. But of course, I wasn’t going to let my friends know that. Oh no. 

I had a grand master plan that would have them thinking I was a social butterfly of Paris, fluttering about from bistros du jour to discothèques très chic…”

French Girls Wear Vans, July 25th, 2011

Paris has shut down. I’ve never actually witnessed a major city close up shop in such a way. Seletaped to the windows of Parisian shop fronts, cards written in large, over-excited shorthand all say the same thing; ‘À la rentrée‘– a French way of saying “We’re buggering off now, too bad if you needed to pick-up your dry cleaning, see you when we re-enter the real world after our prolonged vacation”.

A la Rentrée! August 7th, 2011

My first winter in Paris had passed like Spring. I’d spent it floating in and out of warm, yellow-lit cafés, falling in love and falling out of bars converted from old wine cellars. No doorway with its peeling turquoise paint went unphotographed, no travelling flea market hawking abandoned belongings went undocumented. But this winter would be different. I would be returning to Paris. Not to London; the city I had abandoned at the end of last summer, or rather, the city that had abandoned me.”

Some very, very Serious Thoughts on Paris and Hemingway, August 25th, 2011

Paris vs New York, September 7th, 2011

VOGUE’s third annual Fashion’s Night Out came to Paris on Thursday night to kick off what felt less like a new fashion season and more like a contest of who spends more time in front of the mirror. “

Fashion’s Night Out? Shoulda Stayed Home, September 9th, 2011

Spectators watch quietly, listening to the dragging of tango feet on the stone quai. Beautiful Parisian women turn up alone each night with their dancing shoes, waiting to be asked to tango by total strangers. A little old man sits on the edge of the river with his radio playing Argentinian music and guarding the dancers’ belongings. It’s people watching with a very sexy twist. And just another night in Paris…”

Tango with Paris, September 20th, 2011

Insert that Hemingway quote here: 
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
-Ernest Hemingway

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