Dispatch from Paris from summer Believer intern Ida Yalzadeh:
As most people do, I definitely had preconceptions about what Parisian culture would be like before I came here to study. Baguettes and cigarettes were, in my mind, the staples of the everyday French person. I don’t want to say that these stereotypes are completely false, because I have seen more than my fair share of men on vespas driving along the Seine with seven baguettes under their arm. There’s a reason why we have these qualities of the French culture ingrained in us, but they are more often than not misguided in origin.
Take French fashion, for example. Americans think of Parisians as walking models decked out daily in designer goods. And sometimes this is the case. But more often than not, most people here have a limited wardrobe consisting of quality pieces worn frequently, in contrast with Americans (of which I am included) who love the steals at H&M—two shirts for $10!
Moreover, Parisian babies put American adults to shame. Sightings of children in fitted fall trench coats and winter pea coats are daily occurrences that I welcome gladly.