Saturday, April 16, 2011

Parisian Lifestyle

The more I learn about the culture in Paris (and in France really), the more I'm starting to fall in love with the Parisian lifestyle. In America we are always in such a rush to get to that next important thing. We pack our lunch and most of the time eat quickly at our desk so we can move on with the day. The Parisians think this is blasphemy, and it's really true that they shut down at meal times to enjoy their food, their family and friends, and the experience of eating. I love the line that the French use..."Americans view food as fuel to put in their machine to make it go. The French view meal time as an experience to be savored with good company." Our friend Mike was telling us that under no circumstances would he bring his lunch to work with him. He would be ridiculed and ostracized. Also, eating at your desk in Paris is out of the question! Instead, you take a break for lunch and eat with your coworkers. We do this in the states a bit too, right? Not like here. Here offices will often shut down for 2 hours for lunch (12-2pm) while the employees site outside at the cafes, enjoy the weather and their food, and watch people walk by. It is people watching at its best! Mike works in La Defense, which is the business sector of Paris with all the skyscrapers. He said 2 hour lunches are a bit rare there, but the average is about an hour or so for lunch with another 15-30 minutes for coffee afterwards (or hot chocolate if you're LDS). He also says that he mainly eats in the cafeteria and that the food is amazing.

Another important note about eating at restaurants here is that they don't gorge you with food. You get a healthy portion of food, and you savor and finish every bite. No take home bags here, and why in the world would you bring the food home anyway? You eat at the restaurant where the experience is! So interesting. I'm not sure if I've ever gone to a restaurant and not taken something home that I didn't finish. Tisk tisk on me.

In the business world here you are done between 5-6pm. You will be gently nudged home around 6pm if you haven't left yet, and you will be kicked out of the office by 8pm. Mike told us about a project one of his coworkers was working on. It was behind schedule and he wanted to stay late to work on it. He had to get special permission from his superiors to stay past 8pm, and they were insistent that they did not expect him to stay that late but that he could if he wanted to. So, you work AT work, and once you leave you're basically done. Sign me up!

I know different jobs require more or less for the individual, but I would love to adapt this culture into my life. I want to slow down and take time to enjoy life...and especially enjoy the food! Thank you Paris!!

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