PARIS ISN'T JUST CHAMPAGNE, CHANEL AND CROISSANTS

It's not all champagne, Chanel and croissants, this Parisian life. Cobblestones ruin your stilettos and the icy winter goes on way too long, forcing you to start drinking vin rouge earlier in the day and longer into the night.

Then there's the stinky métro, hellishly hot summers, le caca de chien (doggy doo) on every sidewalk and I'm not even going to start telling you about the beauraucratic merry-go-round that just the thought of makes me want a cup of tea, a Bex and good lie down.

But it is Le Good Life.  I wake up saying bonjour to each new day because I choose to see it through rose-coloured glasses ... and glasses of rosé wine. 

5 things I love about Paris (besides champagne, Chanel and croissants)

1.  GUYS ON LE MÉTRO

I'm not talking about eye candy.  I'm talking about the true gentlemen in the métro who, when they see me enter the carriage and have nowhere to sit, offer me their seat.  By the time I politely decline, Merci monsieur mais c'est pas necessaire, they've already stood up, gesticulating with a smile to where they have considerately kept the seat warm for me.  Nice.

2.  LE FREE ORGANIC WINE

Free, unlimited, organic French wine?  The Australian in me says, Yes, ploise!  

I paid just 3 euros (AUD$4.50) to an expo of French winemakers and their produce.  I made sure the complimentary wine glass I was given was as full as possible with every tasting of exquisite champagne, red wine and white wine that I could consume over the next three hours.  

No bouncers, no curfew and no snarky bartenders refusing to serve you because you're a bit wobbly on your feet or asked for card-onnay instead of char-donnay.

3.  LE FREE DENTAL CARE

In Australia my fun trips to the dentist and periodontist used to set me back around AUD$500 per year, before insurance rebates.  In Paris, I pay just 100 euros (AUD$150) for exactly the same treatments and an x-ray.  And when his hands aren't occupying my mouth, I get to practise my French with the rather cute dentiste. 

4.  LE FREE MINERAL WATER

Because Perrier isn't a luxury, it's a right!  

Paris already has around 1,000 public water fountains and recently added eau petillante (sparkling water) to the mix.  I sampled my first sips at Parc Andre Citroen and liked it so much I wished I'd brought along a lot more bottles to fill.  

Rome apparently has a 24-hour free wine fountain so I'm hoping one day Paris will upgrade from sparkling water and provide a 24-hour champagne fountain.

5.  LE CUSTOMER SERVICE

Walk into most Parisian stores and you'll be treated like royalty.  

I have a gorgeous pair of sunglasses by French label Jimmy Fairly which needed re-adjusting recently. In the St-Germain-des-Prés store, not only did they give my sunglasses a professional clean, customise them to fit my face and give two complementary storage cases, they also politely pretended to understand my crappy French while I sipped an espresso shot they brewed freshly for me. 

See you soon | À bientôt

Barbara

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