Where Do You Meet Parisians?

Although it may be true that some tourists visiting Paris may feel their trip is complete without ever having exchanged a word with a born-and-bred Parisian, I am always on the lookout for that rare species!

There are two kinds of Parisians: Those that are born and bred in Paris. They can tell you the street and the arrondissement where they grew up. And, what I call, Parisians of the World. Anyone who has ever come to Paris and felt that they’ve found their home. But meeting a born and bred Parisian is not so easy. To begin with, most Parisians try their best to get out of town as often as possible, so if you are ever curious about meeting a Parisian, I would suggest going anyplace but Paris.
The best time to meet a Parisian is when he or she is on vacation. For example, at one of the beach resorts in Normandy. Recently, we were at party in Normandy where I met Jean Louis who grew up in the shadow of the Hotel de Ville in Paris. He and his wife Michelle spend weekends in their Norman country home. They like to take long walks and bike rides. These are the times when Parisians get a chance to reconnect with their ancestral roots. If you look back a few generations, many city dwellers trace their roots back to the land and farming.
A Parisian who may be brusque and seemingly unfriendly in Paris is hardly the same person when he or she is sitting at a cafe ‘au bord de la mer’ or in a garden shaded by apple trees.