Miscellany · Past life: Living in France 2008

Musings from a cafe

While four weeks here doesn’t give me tremendous insight, I’ve made some observations from various seats at multiple cafes in Paris, Lille, Dijon, Nuit-Saint-Georges, and Tours.

–No BlueTooth: I’ve not seen one person using it, and I’m out and about very often. Cities of any size, small towns: Everyone has their phone up to his ear.

–I’ve noticed this in past visits to France and continue to see it: Moms and their teenage children walking arm in arm (yes, adolescents).

–Males (adolescents, men up to age 40) of all races are wearing slim-fitting jeans…none of this baggy pants business. And each is wearing a very fashionable, hip pair of shoes. Older men (50+) do not wear jeans–ever.

–Females of ALL ages pay great attention to footwear. Right now, two out of every three woman are wearing knee-high, black (typically), flat boots. Lots of opaque hose, often with a pattern. Young women are wearing shorts (long or short) with opaque hose. Their clothing has lots of detail (elaborate topstitching, etc.). And often, their footwear is a) not cheap, and b) more hip than you’d guess Granny would be wearing.

–Males and females of all ages wear outrageous eyeglasses–even people who are otherwise conservatively dressed. Colors, patterns, shapes–they are wild.

–Males and females below 40 are wearing Chuck Taylors (hi or low).

–Contrary to everything I’ve read, French people in Tours eat their lunch while walking around. About 65% of people are walking around munching a sandwich on a baguette. I don’t know if this is unique to Tours, and unfortunately, I’ll have few opportunities to test this in other cities during the week.