Travel Musings from Paris and London

As you know I’m traveling in Europe right now with my home base in Paris.  I’m here both working and playing (because how can you not play while in Paris?).  I’ve been enjoying the city throughly and everything it has to offer (you’ll know if you’ve been following my Instagram and if you haven’t, you should!).  But, I recently took a weekend trip to London and while I was going to share more awesome Paris wedding venues with you today, I have some observations and musings I wanted to share instead (don’t worry the venues will be coming!).

View of the Eiffel tower in Paris from the Seine River by Jamie Chang

View of the Thames River in London by Jamie Chang

I like people watching and I’ve been intrigued by the differences between Americans and the French and after my brief stint in London, the English.  It’s not only the obvious things like words, language and mannerisms that differ, but style and fashion, drinks, architecture and of course interactions.  Here are some of my interesting observations in Paris and London:

Style and Clothes:

– French people love scarves.  Everyone has a scarf.

– The French (both men and women) also really like ankle length or high water pants.  I believe it’s to show some skin between their pants and their shoes.  Everyone does it which I find fascinating.  I guess when it rains you just have wet ankles.

– Despite the fact that it’s Paris Fashion Week, the French style is really all about simple shapes in neutral colors and little to no prints.  The English on the other hand have kind of a grunge thing going on.  I dig both.

– English women really dress up to be seen when they go out – short, tight dresses and high heels.  I sort of felt like I was in LA or something.  I kept thinking, god they must be cold.

– You can tell who is an American tourist by their athletic shoes, jeans, backpack/fanny pack and their all purpose rain jacket.  Sad, but true.

Out and About:

– English really like their fruity drinks.  The sporty guys get beer, but many others seem to like large, colorful, fruity drinks.  How unexpected.

– English toilets are the worst with their uncomfortable small seats.  Maybe it’s a teaching lesson for kids, shit or get off the pot.

– The quality of tissue, toilet paper and paper towels in Europe in general is very sad.  I guess people here like wet hands and a sore nose and butt.

– Love the towel rack warmers here.  Love, love, love.  Why don’t we have these in the States?

– Stairs are short in France.  Maybe French have smaller legs?

The City:

– The Tube in London is structured by lines with directions (east/west, clockwise/counterclockwise) while the Metro in Paris is structured by lines with end points.  In my opinion, the Tube is more logical and easier to navigate.

– Every time I look up in Paris, I see a beautiful building.  The architecture is just so grand, detailed and in many cases, ornate.  In London, the style is much less flashy, but I think it has a much more homey feel to it.  I like both!

View of Parisian streets by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner

View of London streets by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner

Interactions:

– I hate to say it, but the French really do have a bit of snootiness to them.  Not everyone of course and not all the time, but I think for some, if you can’t speak the language they kind of just write you off.

– Americans are so loud!  Ugh, it’s kind of embarrassing.  Why do you need to shout when you are sitting right next to someone?  I don’t understand this about us.

– English people smile, I like that.

– One of my favorite things about the culture here is that people actually sit, talk and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s nice to look around and not see everyone’s noses in their phones.

Now while many of these things are not necessarily anything new, I found it interesting to experience it as an observer instead of just going about my business as a tourist.  Maybe it’s because I’m older now and I notice these things in ways I didn’t before or maybe I’m more conscious of how I look, interact and think and how that affects others.  Either way, it’s been interesting and fun to experience.

Do you agree with my observations? I’d love to hear what you’ve observed in your travels.  Please share some of your travel musings in a comment below.

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