Today marks another historical moment in not only French but European history. As 2017 has proven to be a “world wind” of the unexpected, it will continue to do so today as my motivated yet extremely stressed, French neighbors head to the voting polls. With the French presidential candidates battling off in what could potentially be a repeat of the terrifying American election, today is one of the first times, I truly feel more French than American as I this election could have a direct effect on me as an immigrant.
France is about to face a very similar dilemma to the US election, as many feel they will have to settle on a vote which decides “Who is the not the worst of all the candidates.” Since, Marine Le Pen is seen as the “Trump” of France, her policies are especially terrifying to not only immigrants like myself, but clear thinking French citizens who are able to see through her manipulative fear tactics.
It has been absolutely fascinating discussing with my French clients and friends, their insights on the election and their candidate choices. There are all different angles and arguments I have heard from every side of the spectrum. However, no matter who local Parisians decide to write on their ballot, (yes they still use paper ballots) there is one common bond between them, none of them will vote for Le Pen. So, who are her supporters then? Well, obviously the very mirror of those who voted for Trump, and we all saw how that turned out.
Unfortunately, this election could be a complete replica of the 2016 US election as fearful “outsiders” you might say, have been overwhelmed with an irrational reality due to immigration, terrorist attacks and anger as a result of “neglect” from the EU. Feeling hopeless and unheard, Le Pen believers are looking to her as a savior as she has promised to be their voice. I have even witnessed personally, Le Pen supporters in the countryside, expressing their happiness that someone is finally listening to the French people again and not so concerned about “us immigrants.”
It is not an unknown fact that France has suffered a lot over the past couple years. Since the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan and surrounding establishments in November 2015, I am not going to lie that the presence of fear has increased a little here. However, this fear hasn’t stopped us strong Parisians from living our daily lives, enjoying local restaurants or shopping on the Champs-Élysées but it has unfortunately stopped tourists from packing their bags for a Parisian vacation. Which in return, does make me boil inside since in reality is, France is safer than ever as there is still a greater chance of experiencing gun violence in the US than here.
Thursday’s shooting on the Champs-Élysées, was scary and raised further anxiety throughout the city. However, this anxiety didn’t arise from the fear of endangering our safety but the fear that this event only adds more fuel to Le Pen’s election fire. Yes, you might say we are sadly experiencing a new “norm” in our society but the extremity of this “norm” proves how well protected the country is.
During the latest string of terrorist attacks, there continues to be a decrease in the lives lost as the assailant has been killed almost immediately by military or police personnel. Since 2015, there has been a significant increase in military presence leaving the country more protected than ever and I can say, at least for myself, that I feel even safer than before.
It is easy to blame the increase in immigration on these new fighters, but 98% of us immigrants are not coming to cause trouble or take French jobs. For those of us who are truly trying to build a better life for ourselves, this election really matters to all of us.
I have become very evolved in this election because I consider myself a “dream-seeking immigrant.” Someone, who has come to a foreign country in hopes of fulfilling a long lasting dream and building a new life. Although, my story is obviously different then those coming from a war-torn country or by other means, in the end, I still came here without a job or any real plan just of my love for my new country and the land of opportunity I saw within it. I was luckily given the chance to build a new life for myself here, all on my own because they were willing to believe in me.
So, why do I love this country so much and why am I determined to stay here? Well, so far France has done nothing but reward me for my hard work and in return, here are some of the big reasons why I am so grateful to this country:
1. I was able to obtain a 4 year entrepreneur Titre de séjour (green card) without actually having to marry a French man, (which alone is a huge accomplishment if you have ever obtained a French visa before) I truly thought after my first year here, I was going to have to close the door on my life in France but I was not going to give up. After finding an opportunity, lots of hard work and a 60 page business plan, I was provided with a chance to stay and build a life for myself. Proving the fact that hard work pays off and you can do it on your own, no matter where you come from.
With this opportunity, I have built a small business here in France, which is prospering all because the French support system I have created believes in me and all I want to do is help the people of France further their education.
2. I have obtained healthcare and social security which I happily pay higher taxes for every month, with a smile on myself. Anytime I say this to a French person, their mouths drop,
“What is wrong with you, we pay too much tax here for this system!”
After, a quick explanation from the American side, they understand that from my point of view, the French healthcare system is the “American Dream.” It it is also one of the main reasons why I will stay here as long as the system remains. To have the freedom to go into a hospital without the fear of an outrageous bill is something that for me, is worth fighting for because in the end, it will save my life.
Last month, I had taken my first trip to the hospital, for a whopping total of 93€ (with the ambulance) and it finalized my decision to stay in France for as long as they will let me. That I will continue to work hard so I can keep the privileges that they have provided me with, which is truly, I am sure not just my opinion but the insight from many hard working immigrants.
3. That the majority of prejudice here in Paris, is an underlying issue. Like many other major cities in the world, there are people from so many different cultures living and coinciding with one another as best they can. It doesn’t mean that prejudice doesn’t exist here, but there is a greater tolerance so that we may go about our daily lives without extreme violence. Although, Le Pen has her own opinion on this, I love the fact that throughout my last few years, this city has exposed me to more personalities and beauty in the world.
So, in return should I still be scared of the possible outcomes of the election should Le Pen win? Yes. However, does it change my decision on whether or not I will leave France because of it? Probably not. Why? Because I love this country and at this moment, I will fight to stand by it.
I have traveled all over the world and I have to say, there is nothing like France, especially Paris. I still have to pinch myself when I pass by the Eiffel Tower and remind myself of the fact, that I am living the dream which I fought so hard to obtain. For those who will agree with me, this is the truth for all immigrants who have fought so diligently to live in a foreign country which they now consider “home.” I couldn’t agree more with the expression, “Home is where the heart is” because we all find our home in different places, even if it is for the simplest reasons. As for myself, it is the little things that I feel make France my home:
- My love for French food, 5€ amazing bottles of wine, the relaxed beauty of the “live life to the fullest” culture even if that includes the belief that, “10 weeks vacation per year.” is actually a necessity.
- That on my daily commute I still pass the Eiffel Tower and it makes me smile.
- That on a Sunday afternoon in the sun, I can sit in a park and enjoy the presence of people from around the world sitting right next to me.
- The international group of friends I have created mixed with beautiful women and men of all different religions, backgrounds and culture.
- The kindness of the French people, the uniqueness of the culture and the pride to keep it as unique as it is.
So, today I ask the citizens of France, to please be cautious of who’s name you decide to put on that ballot this afternoon. As certain candidates policies may not directly effect my immigration, it will effect all of us who are fighting to stay in the country they now call home. Many of us are grateful to this country which has taken us in, especially those from war-torn countries. Although we may not be able to put our name on a ballot today, we are with you. Not just because we are concerned about the future but because we truly are proud to say that today and from here on out, we are all French.
After waking up this morning to the sounds of roosters whaling and the sun slowing rising over the distant hill, I was happy to arise to the colors of the sunrise after my first night in Uganda. The sudden reality that hits you when you arrive again in a third world country sometimes doesn’t truly sink in until you see it with your own eyes and the overwhelming realization how little your complaints matter in the Western world.
Uganda was named the “Pearl of Africa”after Winston Churchill’s famed book, “My African Journey,” due to it’s glorious natural scenery. Although the landscape is magnificent, it is also a pearl because of the humbleness of its people. Shy, giving and accommodating, they are raised to be extremely polite, greet guests with open arms, especially tourists and show overwhelming gratuity when necessary. As a strong Christian society, they believe their faith will help them through the hard times and to be grateful for all that you have. That as long as they pray and our grateful, that is all that truly matters.
As I have been to many third world countries in Latin America, Uganda may have made an even greater cultural impact on me. As it fits the third world mold with run down dirt roads, little running water, scarce resources, shopping centers that look like lines of outhouses and stacks of tiny open doored slums that topple over one another, there is still something more eye opening.
What seems unbearable living conditions to most Westerners, is just normal life for the local community who is working hard to make the best with what they have.
Though it is human nature to want more, the community still has a basic version of everything needed in our current world. Although, what is considered “basic” is very different from our “basic.” but a part of everyday life. A local doorless salon with its concrete room and three dirty chairs, is just a salon. The mobile phone store, is a phone store and the doctors office with the plastic table clothes, plastic chairs and no door, is just the doctors office. Nevertheless, the accurate reality is that many Ugandans don’t have access to these very basics, especially children.
There is a large population in Uganda, where a toothbrush is the best gift they have received in their life and getting your hair done is a massive “luxury.” The harsh reality in the pictures we see from a far of the African slums, does exist. The children have never learned to bathe themselves, they have worn the same ripped clothes for months and have never owned a pair of shoes. Hence, the reason why I wanted to come and help. Not just to help bring the gift of health, hygiene and basic care, but the care of education and learning. However, the beauty of coming to volunteer with the children of Uganda, is that they were going to teach me more than I was going to teach them, even just on the first day. That simplicity and happiness is a gift, which was the biggest lesson I was about to learn.
I came to Uganda because there was nothing more in the world I wanted more than to teach the underprivileged children of Africa while accomplishing my childhood dream of walking in Diane Fossey’s footsteps. I was able to connect with a fantastic organization which helps deliver education, hygiene, food and just play time to the children of the Kampala slums. It is an amazingly well organized society which is driven to give these kids as fighting chance for a better life.
As today was my primary initiation into the program, it was also going to be a true introduction into the local slums. I had seen a preview of Ugandan life through the society’s car windows the night before but as a Parisian girl coming from a world of overindulgence, I wanted to be part of something humbling. Something that would help truly change the lives of others who really needed it and that meant going directly to the neighborhoods were the help was needed.
As a typical “Mazunga” arriving from the luxuries of my Parisian world, I was hosted by the organization in a beautiful guesthouse full with drivers, housekeepers and security guards because it is best to be protected at all times. Although, it made my feel more secure, it sometimes made me feel more alone.
After, being introduced to the incredibly humble,caring and welcoming staff at the main offices, I was taken for a tour of the local area outside the compound. Majority of the upper class homes here have barbed wire a top the outside wall, security guards and big gates but outside is the defining separation of classes. Garbage in many neighborhoods is thrown and stacked for months and children in poorer areas can’t afford to go to school so they work with their parents or older siblings.
It was a sunny day out today and even though I was the only “Mazunga” (whitey) for 40 miles, I was ok. I had the club’s staff with me and all they could say was, “The kids are going to be so excited to see you, they will want to be all around you.” Seeing a white person or anyone else of another color, is like seeing the shiny white horse from a story book come through their universe and all they want to do is touch you. The run and gather around you because you are a rare new being. They call, white people, “Mazunga” and as I was noticed in every car, the funny part was it wasn’t “Hi Mazunga” it was “Bye, bye Manzunga” with a big wave and a smile. I had never felt so privileged to be a part of someone’s world.
When heading to the my first slum in the area of Kutunga to discover the classroom, I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming hospitality that I was to receive from the community. As I entered the small, doorless concrete classroom, full of children ages, about 3-12, I felt a warmth I had never felt before. The smiles on their faces reflected off mine and we couldn’t stop looking into one another’s eyes. Then, the most incredible thing happened as the teacher made them stand up and say simultaneously, “You are most welcome!” (Ugandans, say, “You’re Welcome” to greet you not just after “Thank you.”) I was blown away!
I couldn’t say anything as I was about to burst into tears. As water filled my eyes and I tried to hold back the drops from steaming down my face, the staff member said, “They are welcoming you!” I know, I just need a minute. I have never felt so loved and so amazed by the hospitality of someone welcoming into their home. A moment that was unforgettable.
Majority, of the children had extremely ripped and dirty clothes, many without shoes and little hygiene. One child I noticed, a small young boy with a half torn shirt, held a dirty toothbrush as if it was a blankie and by far the most valuable thing in his world. What is the most incredible thing out of all this is that these children come to this classroom on their own. They are excited to be given an opportunity to learn and once you provide a child an opportunity, they will take it. That forcing them to learn is not always the answer, which is something that we sometimes take for granted in Western society.
I was initially supposed to observe today and prepare for tomorrow but before I knew it, I heard ok, “I will leave you with them.” Wait, what? Completely unprepared I just started reviewing all the basic ESL lessons I teach my children back in France. The older children especially, had a substantial English language base which was great to discover. We sang the classic children’s song “Old MacDonald” and before I knew it was time to go. It was a bit difficult at certain moments to keep the children organized due the environment of the class structure, but it was exciting to see the overwhelming amount of anxious hands that sky rocketed up when it was time to show their knowledge.
The children were very smart with outstanding potential. At one point I asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Many children burst out, “a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer.” Others had alternate dreams, “a gatekeeper, a flight attendant.” Although, my favorite might have been the child who shouted, “I want to be a cat.” Whatever you want to be, we all have dreams! Nonetheless, the one who made the lasting impression on me was a young girl who shyly raised her hand and said, “I want to be like you when I grow up.” A statement that will stay in my heart forever.
Today, was an emotional but eye opening day. The vision we see of African children suffering in the slums, is a very harsh reality. They are trying to survive in a tough world but the bottom line of this reality is, that no matter what resources a kid has, a kid is just a kid. That all children love to give high fives, play football, imagine their future, laugh at jokes, color and just play like all kids are entitled to. They are eager to learn and want to be given the chance to have a better life for themselves, just like the rest of us. As for this “Mazunga”, I can’t wait to be a kid with them again tomorrow and dream for a better future.
As a visitor of this journey with me through Paris, you may be expecting to only find information regarding the “City of Lights” Where to eat, what to do and see how I have experienced Paris through my footsteps. However, the best part about living in Paris is the accessibility to travel all over Europe not only within a close range but also, for cheap. I have been privileged to visit many cities such as Brussels, Zurich, Barcelona and now Munich. This time, the visit was not just for a tour of the city but to experience the biggest and best beer drinking festival in the world, Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest has been one of my bucketlist items since the day I discovered beer was even a beverage. In the United States, every major city along with every little town in the woods, tries to replicate this over 200 year old tradition. Though, the Oktoberfest parties in the US have now become one of my favorite parties of the year, there is nothing like obtaining this enormous badge of honor where you can say, “Oh, yea, I have been to Oktoberfest in Munich”
Since the US has slowly transformed European festivals such as Oktoberfest over the years into the crazy American version that we now see as “normal”, it is difficult to decipher what is tradition and what is not. When moving to Paris this year, Oktoberfest was one bucketlist item that I needed to cross off in 2014. Through my travels over the past two years, I made a wonderful friend from Munich who made it clear, “You have to come to Oktoberfest” Though I had heard from many Germans, that Oktoberfest was really just for tourists, she assured me that was not the case. Yes, the place is swarmed with Australians, Americans and Brits but if you get the opportunity to have the local tour like I did, then you will truly experience Oktoberfest the way it is supposed to be.
Dancing on the tables, singing traditional German (and American) songs, eating loads of Bavarian pretzels, random make out sessions and drinking a kegs worth of beer in 3 hours is all what I imagined Oktoberfest would be. Thankfully, it was all that and more! The best time to go to Oktoberfest is the opening weekend. The first Saturday, has the most festivities and the most excitement. The kickoff parade starts at 10:30am which escorts the route of German celebrities, horse-drawn carriages, bands and lots and lots of beer. Once, the parade makes it’s way through the fairgrounds, it all leads up to the opening of the first barrel of beer. No beer is served until the mayor opens this first barrel at noon,which commences the two week celebration of Bavarian culture.
The reason I was so lucky I was weaved into a group of locals was they had a strict list of “Do’s and Don’ts” that I would have NEVER known about should I have gone to Oktoberfest 10 years ago with a bunch of American’s like it was spring break. Not to exaggerate but there were plenty of tents where it was “Bavaria Break” Some fully included with naked guys dancing on the tables.
19 year old Australian’s, American’s and Brits who could not have possibly had enough training time to prepare you for that much beer at 1PM with no food. I understand why all the Bavarian food is heavy and carb loaded because otherwise you are passed out by 3PM with lederhosen straps hanging off your shoulders like a drunk girl at senior prom.
Luckily, there were tents which provided a party for all demographics. There are the tourist tents, the spring break tents, the family tents, the locals tents, the wealthy tents, the senior tents, the gay tents and the in-between tents for those who just want to enjoy Oktoberfest but try to avoid getting smacked in the head by beer stein.
Oktoberfest itself is a massive festival not only for beer drinking but for games, rides and shopping! From Ferris Wheels to massive roller coasters, Oktoberfest has everything. Though I have to admit, going on a spinning roller coaster after 3 liters of beer seems like a death trap, many people do it and actually don’t puke.
Therefore, continuing from the Tuesday’s Paris Street fashion a couple weeks ago where I introduced the “Do and Don’t” of the Oktoberfest fashion, here are the official “Do’s and Don’ts” from my first Oktoberfest experience with the Munich locals. I was forever gracious to my German host who gave me the full Oktoberfest experience while ensuring, I not only got home alive but I did not stand out like a tourist. I am already training for next year’s Oktoberfest and this time with a bit more insight. This is a party that everyone has to experience at least once in their life, no matter what age you are.
1. Where a proper dirndl. German women are very specific about the length and the presentation of a traditional dirndl. As American’s we assume the St.Pauli’s girl costumes we see for Halloween is more than appropriate for Oktoberfest. However, if you were any dirndl that is above the knees or without the appropriate apron….just know you will be posted on Instagram faster than you can finish your first beer as a “What not to wear”
2. Attend the first weekend. The kickoff parade is at 10:30am through the festival fairgrounds followed by the Oktoberfest beer commencement at 12pm and on Sunday there is a second parade beginning at 10am through the streets of Munich finishing at the festivals fairgrounds around 1pm. The first weekend gives the true experience because everyone is extremely excited, there are masses of people and the first Saturday is where all the real “encounters” happen.
3. Buy an engraved clothespin. What may look like a name tag from afar, gathering a clothespin with a saying and a cute Oktoberfest symbol is a must to make your dirndl officially German. My friend says she gets one every year to add to her collection and as for myself at my first Oktoberfest, it made the perfect souvenir. So what saying did I chose? Of course, “Bucketlist 2014”
4. Snort the White Stuff. What I assumed was cocaine being passed around completely in public, at first did not come as a surprise to me at this big of a party . However, the “white stuff” was not illegal at all, but a minty replacement for gum. This minty powdered sugar is snorted up your nose for a quick refresher so instead of chewing piece of gum or having a mint mid-way, you have alternative without ruining your beer taste!
5. Buy a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie. Stand after stand, you will see vendors selling heart-shaped cookies with ribbons around them to be used as a necklace. All have different German sayings such as, “You are my sweetheart” “I love you” or just “Oktoberfest 2014” Some are more aggressive which come in handy for the boys later on in the evening when looking for their “catch” of the night but you choose where you want your Oktoberfest headed. This colorful and tasty addition to your Oktoberfest uniform, also makes another great souvenir.
6. Head to the Lost and Found area. I was told that the lost and found area of Oktoberfest becomes sort of museum by the end of the two weeks. You will not only find full dirndls and leaderhosen but costumes of all sorts plus bras, panties, crutches and many more surprises.
7. Eat your heart out! There is a lot of traditional Bavarian fare to enjoy at Oktoberfest but do not leave without having at least one Bavarian Bretzel, a true German sausage or one of the “What to Eat” listed on the bottom.
1. Don’t not wear a dirndl or liderhosen. Many coming from outside Germany still assume, “Ok, not everyone is dressing up” , WRONG! From 2 month old babies to 90 year old grandma’s, everyone is dressed in their best Oktoberfest uniform. A proper dirndl is a special part of a Bavarian woman’s closet and some spend up to 2,000 euro per dress. The men may not spend as much on their lederhosen but it is essential to own at least one.
2. Don’t marry your beer! What seems like the normal custom in the US when the server wants to clear your beer and you can’t live without that last sip, is seen as one of the biggest cliché’s at Oktoberfest. When the server attempted to clear a mass before it was finished, I thought the German’s around me where about to pass out as there was an attempted marrying of the last few sips. If you don’t want to be stoned or hit in the head with a stein, just chug the rest of your beer.
3. Don’t Disrespect the Servers. I knew I was going to be impressed by the servers who could carry several liters of beer at one time but I did not expect to be blown away. Most of the servers are older, some of the women had to be in their late 70’s, caring about 10 to 12 liters per run and deserved only the upmost respect. They take no sh*# and rightfully so. The authority they have will make or break your Oktoberfest, so obey! However, I do have to say being a server at Oktoberfest maybe the key to the fountain of youth, because they look good!
4. Don’t wear your apron bow on the wrong side. The dirndl apron bow is the essential “unspoken invitation” to tell someone whether you’re available or not. Here are the guidelines for where to wear your bow:
In the back-widow
The good part is, if your beer goggles aren’t working yet you have the option to change quickly should the conversation take a boring down turn. “Oh, was my bow on the left, oh sorry I am dyslexic, it is supposed to be on the right”
What to Eat
1. Traditional Bavarian Bretzel. Plain, with melted cheese, large or small, having a traditional Bretzel at Oktoberfest is a must. Not only are these delicious carb loaded delights great for absorbing the masses of beer but they are an excellent snack to grab throughout the day.
2. Roasted Chicken. According to my German friends (I am vegetarian) this is a staple Oktoberfest item you need to eat at least once throughout the weekend. They say it is one of the most delicious chickens you will ever have and is a saviour with your masses of beer throughout the day.
3. Obatzen. This extremely creamy cheese dip filled with shallots, chives and assortment of other delicious flavors, is another Bavarian staple. Served with the dark Bavarian bread and pretzels, it was a perfect Sunday afternoon snack.
5. German Sausage. As a vegetarian, I loaded up on the delicious Bavarian carbs but I think whether you know Oktoberfest well or not, one thing you do know is German Sausage is a necessity at Oktoberfest.
6. Semmelknoedel. The ultimate vegetarian dish that provides a Bavarian alternative to the chicken and sausage. This traditional Bavarian meal which offers bread dumplings smothered in a mushroom gravy, was one of the most delicious vegetarian meals I have had in a long time. It was a game ready meal that I was thankful to have and even if you are not a vegetarian, it is worth a try.
So, no matter if you choose to follow the rules or not, Oktoberfest is an experience you will never forget while you enjoy one of the best times of your life. Prost!
Though Tuesday Paris Street Fashion may have taken a break last week, all was too be blamed on the beautiful, warm Parisian nights. You may call it a stroke of good luck or just a freak instance but whatever brought the beautiful, warm weather in Paris the last few weeks, thank you. As this past Saturday was officially the last day that we could consider a blend of summer and fall and it luckily, didn’t feel like anything but sunshine. It may be October but Parisian’s enjoyed one last taste of summer before the fall fashion made its debut.
This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion shows off the last official night ensemble for summer. This one piece pantsuit from Mango, I found in Barcelona and had to have it. Though it was almost September and I wouldn’t too many opportunities to wear it, Paris fortunately gave me a second chance.
Pantsuit’s are commonly seen during summer and spring but sometimes you can push into the cooler months. Whether you find a long sleeve or no sleeves, a nicely fitted pantsuit will have you blending in like a true Parisian. On a glamorous night out or a fun day shopping on the town, no matter, when or where you wear it, enjoy every moment like I did.
Pantsuit: Mango, 49,99
Necklace: Forever 21, 7, 99
Shoes: Mango, 22,00
Looking to get your artistic flair this weekend? Then don’t miss out on Nuit Blanche tomorrow night beginning at 7pm. This art walk traveling through the 5th, 7th, 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements, will feature the regions best artists under the moonlight.
Though this may be my first year experiencing this event, I know it will be nothing less than amazing. If there is one thing this city knows, its art. Accompanied by music, dance and what is supposed to be stunningly warm weather, the streets will be filled with color and lots of artistic views. This annual event is a must see in Paris if you are here to enjoy not only the beauty that fall brings to the City of Lights but the culture that it prides itself on.
Metro: Lines 4, 14 and Tramway T3A will be running past 2AM for this event so there is no rush! Check with the stations for more information.
We all have bucketlists. A list of items we are convinced we have to do before we die so in the afterlife we won’t be haunting the world, especially our family friends screaming, “Why did not let me go skydiving!!”
Though not all these items may be so extreme, some are as simple as attending the world’s biggest beer, Oktoberfest. For me, that was a bucketlist item I was able to finally cross off my bucketlist this past weekend.
I have always wanted to attend the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany ever since I knew it existed. Lines of people wearing crazy costumes, dancing on tables, singing as aloud as they could traditional songs together and chugging more beer than the human body truly can handle. I know found out, not only was this better than I could imagine but it is an event that everyone needs to attend at least once in their life, minimum! It is an event that is a must see and I am thrilled I got to check it off my list this year.
Tuesday Paris Street Fashion is based on the most up to date street trends that only the women of Paris can represent. However, this week’s fashion isn’t exactly Parisian street fashion but travel and what the women of Paris need to wear if they attend the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany as told by the women of Munich.
The Dirndl (pronounced dindl) is the traditional dress worn by the true Oktoberfest players and there is extremely specific “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to wearing a proper Dirndl. The women of Munich take this very seriously and will let you know if you have misrepresented this very important uniform. So, here is the “Do and Don’t’” I learned at Oktoberfest from these women who can show any man how to truly drink a beer.
A traditional Dirndl is below the knee and almost to the ankles. There is an apron and blouse that are normally sold separately. My friend is wearing the very traditional Dirndl as mine is just making the cut 🙂 I found mine on Amazon Germany for 60 euro for all three pieces. You can also buy one once in Munich for about 70 euro for one that is seen as traditional. The key is to buy a second or third blouse if you are going to wear the Dirndl more than once. The blouse, as it is white, get’s the most dirty.
Whatever you do……don’t wear this! This is seen as the most cliché outfit at Oktoberfest. Anything that is extremely short and cheap fabric is seen as one of the biggest “Oh, no” at Oktoberfest. If you want to blend in with the real Oktoberfest veteran’s, spend the money on the nicer Dirndl.
Bright warm sunny days, crystal clear blue skies, flowers still in bloom and routine Parisians back on the streets makes September officially my favorite month of the year in Paris. As today was another hot and sunny day in September, it was also a true representation of why you can continue to shine in your summer gear well in to the commencement of fall.
It was the picture perfect day this afternoon making it difficult to be in a routine instead of soaking up the rays on the grass of Champs de Mars. September seems to have a trend here I am finding out. Though many give up hope when the weather takes a turn for the worst in August, it is really just saving up the sunshine for this month. The weather is not the only great thing about this month. There are very little tourists making lines shorter and things cheaper, including clothes. I was thrilled to know that I could still enjoy all my summer dresses for days to come and there seemed no better day than today to enjoy the beautiful flowers that were still bright and in bloom than with a garden themed dress.
Today’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion is a light, bright and springy dress that represents the glamorous side of Parisian street fashion. Though most women where more casual dresses, they love to wears patterns and designs. Though wearing a bright colors and especially white after Labor Day is considered chliche, the good part is, there is no Labor Day is September here! I have noticed many women still wearing plenty of white pants, shoes and dresses, enjoying their summer wear for as long as the sun will hold out. As for myself, I am wearing a dress from Zara I fell in love with the moment I saw it. It was perfect glamorous Paris that carried on spring and summer throughout the year.
The photos were taken at Saint Georges in the 9th, which is now one of my favorite areas and was a great spot for photo opportunities. Filled with restaurants, gourmet shops and a unique theater, it is an ideal place for a cool night out.
Garden Party, 72.99 euro
Dress: Zara, 29.99 euro
Shoes: Carlos Santana, 43 euro
As the breeze in the air is getting cooler and the leaves are getting more colorful, we start saying our good byes to summer. Though it is not officially over, it is important to remember to the good times we had in the sunshine. Whether you live in the city, near the beach or even near the Northern lights, we appreciate every moment we’ve had and now have outside.
It is also the time we have the chance to show off everything we have worked so hard for over the winter months and the fashion we have stored and hidden in the closet. This is the time for us to shine, in the brightest colors, patterns and accessories we have been anxiously ready to wear and now, we are able to enjoy them all for months under the bright rays of the sun.
In Paris, the summer was a mix of cool styles that I tried to recreate which represented the true women of Paris and what it means to be Parisian. It has been a blast, interviewing women, watching as they look glamorous in their daily lives in the summer sun and I look forward to seeing what they cover up with as the fall arises.
Currently, the weather has continued to stay warm and we are all enjoying showing off our summer fashion for as long as we can. This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion is a “summer in review”. Full of color, travel and culture. The highlights of the transitions of the skies all summer long and what was my first summer of fashion in Paris, 2014.
Essential Paris- 56.07 euro
June 17th-Forever 21, H & M
Sailor Me Be- 70. 35 euro
June 24th-H & M, Cache-Cache, Mango
Summer Storm-76.95 euro
July 8th-Mango, Zara, Forever 21
City of Lights-79.00 euro
July 15th-Guess, Forever 21
Ray of Sunshine-79.80 euro
July 29th-Zara, H & M, Forever 21
Becoming Parisian-76.98 euro
August 12th-H&m, Nine West, Hema
Swiss Miss-34.99 euro
August 19th, Switzerland-H & M
Sangria and Sun in Barcelona-68.88 euro
September 3rd-H &M, Bershka
Hola from Espana! For those who have traveled around Europe, you now know how easy and accessible travel here. There is a train,plane or bus to get you to another country faster than finishing your grocery shopping. The best part about this accessible travel is how inexpensive it can be. This week, as i was desperate to feel the sand on my toes from a real beach, I took advantage of a 33 euro plane ticket on Ryanair to Barcelona, Spain.
Only an hour and 20 minute flight from Paris, Barcelona is one of the ideal beach getaways in Europe. It’s stunning colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, parks, lively nightlife and fantastic shopping makes it one of the top summer destinations for all age, especially for the bachelor and bachelorettes.
As the weather was not letting up in Paris I wanted to enjoy some of my beach gear and show off the last of my summer fashion before the year was over. The cold rain in the city has lasted for an unusually long time this summer and I wasn’t able to give my summer wear the proper time they deserved.
This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion brings more Paris street fashion from the road. Highlighting two looks that represent the essential Parisian summer skirts and dresses but giving it the beachy feel we only dreamed about in the city this summer. Bright colors, floral patterns and light fabrics all fit well not only with the women of Paris but in Barcelona as well.
I was extremely impressed with the women of Barcelona. As any beach city, locals have their sandals and dresses ready all year round but I loved the particular style here. Women were always ready for a shopping trip, lunch date or evening out. A lot of tropical floral print dresses, pant suits and skirts were overflowing these gorgeous streets especially in Passage de Gracia.
Passage de Gracia is the host to many high fashion names such as Chanel and Dior but also to some our more affordable brands such as Mango and Zara. If you are a fan like me of these two Barcelona based stores then make the time to spend an afternoon enjoying this fashion for a lesser price. I found all of the outfits I have been eyeing in Paris to be 20 to 30 euro less expensive here in Barcelona. There is so many beautiful things to see here which includes good prices.
If you have not visited Barcelona before, ensure to put it on your European tour. Clean and uniquely designed streets, fantastic sangria, beautiful beaches and so much history, you will make you want to come back again and again. This is one of my favorite European cities and I love it even more knowing it is just a 33 euro plane ticket away.
Sangria and Sun in Barcelona
Dress: H& M, 19.95 euro
Shirt: H & M, 24.99 euro
Skirt: Bershka, 15.99 euro
Fedora: H & M, 7.95 euro
We can smell it in the air, fall is near. We enjoy the last days of summer either heading to the nearest beach, putting on our favorite sundresses or hosting one last BBQ. Here in Paris, as the weather has already shown many signs of fall, we’ve begun our search for the best fall fashions. As we prepare to retire our summer wear, the most important fashion piece we ensure is in perfect condition is of course, the scarf.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the scarf is one of the essential items to becoming Parisian no matter what time of year. Winter to Summer, man or woman, Parisians have a scarf prepared for every outfit. Though you can always bring a scarf from home on your first or next visit to Paris but if you desire to truly have an “official” Parisian scarf than there is no place better to buy one than here. So, the big question is, where do I get the “real” Parisian scarf? The answer is, EVERYWHERE!
There are many upscale boutiques here in Paris that offer cashmere, silk and designer scarves that can range anywhere from 50 to 500 euro. The reality is of course, real Parisians do not buy designer scarves. They have anywhere from 10 to 20 scarfs prepared for all occasions and all types of weather. As the weather changes faster than the stock market in Paris, having a scarf on hand can be the make or break for surviving a tour through the streets of Paris on a late night out.
Local Parisians do buy scarves from some small boutiques but it is not uncommon to see them grabbing one at the checkout counter at the local Monoprix. Scarfs can start at 5 euro from a street vendor outside Saint Lazare and range from about 25 or 30 euro at Diwali. Fortunately, just as convenient as it is to buy a baguette or a bottle or wine, so is it to buy a fabulous looking scarf.
When arriving in Paris and want to put a Parisian scarf on your fashion or souvenir list, here is a list of local stores that many Parisians buy simple but fabulous scarves for a reasonable price.
1. Diwali- This trendy accessory chain has one of the best scarf selections in town. They offer a full range of colors, patterns and shapes for both men and women that will ensure to enhance any outfit. There are six locations in central Paris and visit their on-line shop ahead of time for sales and locations. www. diwali-paris.com
2. Tie Rack- With over 10 locations in Paris, this chain offers a wide selection of colorful scarfs for every season. If you’re in the mood to pick up a cute hat or gloves to match, this shop will have you prepared for the colder Parisian days. www.tie-rack.fr
3. New Look- Is a full men and women’s fashion clothing retailer with three locations in Paris. After you have selected your new Parisian outfit, grab a scarf to match from their simple but wide selection. http://www.newlook.com
4. Hermes- This is one of the most well know scarf retailers in Paris. Though more on the expensive side, they are the Parisian scarf. If you want to really get one of the originals based in Paris, this is the place to go. http://www.hermes.com
5. Monoprix- For those who know Paris, I understand if you would question this grocery retailer for scarfs but it is extremely common for Parisian women to grab a quick needed scarf here. What I consider the Target of France, the full Monoprix’s offer a wide selection of clothes and accessories. If you haven’t had the time to search for your ideal scarf yet and the weather made a turn for the worse, then a Monoprix is a one stop shop for all you need. http://www.monoprix.fr
6. Kookai- Offerinf a wide selection of women’s fashion along with unique and funky patterned scarves to liven up any winter or fall coat. There designs are constantly changing and can turn any solid shirt into a new look with just one purchase. They have several locations but the most accessible one is in Les Halles Forum. http://www.kookai.fr
7. I am- This accessory chain is part of the Beeline company and offers a wide variety of scarves with matching accessories. If you are looking for bright colors along with earrings, bracelets and necklaces to match, then this place has you covered. http://www.i-am.com/fr
8. Galeries Lafayette Street Vendors- Lastly, as in any major city across the world, there is nothing more fun than bargaining with a street vendor. Though it is more desirable to buy your Parisian fashion items from a cool boutique, when it comes to scarves, some street vendors offer just as beautiful scarves for 5 euro. I feel the vendors in front of Galeries Lafayette have the nicest selection and bargaining is part of their art. If you want to add to your collection, grab one from here as well because you just can’t have too many Parisian scarves.