Starting a new chapter in Paris ! Never imagined that I’ll land up here. I grew up in South Africa and spoke no French. Ended up meeting my French spouse while working in Shanghai. My hubby speaks perfect English. Well, it has been deteriorating since we returned to France. So here I am, pondering upon my life while waiting for the internet man to show up. *He still has not shown up. It has been 3 weeks. #$@%!@$#!


Here are my 10 impressions / 1st month highlights.

1 Un: No notes for the bakery

My day 1 mistake: The baker cursed at the sight of my 10 euro note.


There is no time for nonsense. I now stress to have the exact change ready, nothing bigger than 2euro and of course, NO cards.


2 Deux: Bread is not fully wrapped

I am flabbergasted that the bakery does not have full coverage bag for their bread. No one else seems to mind though. Please tell me that I’m not crazy? Can’t anyone tell that there’s a potential hygiene issue here?



3 Trois: Spot the metro

Paris is all about being chic and discreet. Unfortunately that includes their metro (subway / tube line) entrance. I managed to walk right pass the metro entrance 4 times before I spotted it. Was it just me or what? I really missed that crazily loud Underground sign in London .



4 Quatre: Manual doors in Metro (subway)

I don’t get it. For the capital of France AND a leading country in train technology, they cannot have automatic doors for the train? Lesson learnt: grab that knob a.s.a.p. the train stops, else will miss the stop or miss the train.



5 Cinq: Double decker train

There are no double decker bus, but there are double decker trains.



6 Six: Smallest elevator ever

Seriously, most of the flats here have TINY elevators. We’re talking about maximum 2 person sort of space here?!?!?!? So, how do people move furniture? They move them via the windows *LOL*.

Apparently, the elevator that I have is big (2 person capacity). District 1-7 Paris mostly have 1 person size lifts, due to architectural reasons.


7 Sept: Make up in general are more expensive here than UK!

From high end to drug stores: Dior, YSL, Givenchy, L’oreal, Bourjois etc. They’re more expensive here. Unbelievable! On top of that, their drug store make up don’t have frequent 3 for 2 specials or buy 1 get 1 half price like UK. Boots & Superdrug, you have no idea how much I miss you. Sephora, you need to learn!


8 Huit: Alcohol was easier to find than water

It must have been serious bad luck or something. My friend and I walked into 4 different convenient stores and did not manage to find 300-500ml water or coke light. It was moments of desperateness. We did find a lot of beer, mini wine and other spirits.

I cannot help but take a photo of my ‘rare’ / hard work find.


9 Neuf: Surname (family name) must be shown next to the apartment number

Doesn’t that make it easier for stalkers? Why?


10 Dix: Walls are thin

I start to understand why people speak so softly here. I could hear almost all of my neighbours/ conversations. Especially when he has no signal *LOL* I hope this is only my flat and not all over Paris. I’ll have to hold my laugh in. I laugh way too loudly. Hahahaha Being an obnoxiously loud person, this will be quite a switch for me.


So here they are. My 10 highlights of my 1st month here in Paris.


**I have visited Paris before, but not to live. So technically, this is still a first impression, right?


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Salut, I am Joyce. 40 something living in Paris. Appreciate little things and share giggles. Prudent, no nonsense reviews. #ExploreLaughRepeat


  1. lol i love the baguette wrapping there and the elevator bit. I use to live there for 3 years and i had this elevator that only fits 2 persons in standing really close together. I think it must be just about 2/3 of what your photos shown there. LOL ridiculous right? But, that is because they can only fit the elevator inside the spiral stairs. French are obsessed with preserving old buildings so you can’t alter it in any ways. lol

    Did you know you can even choose how your baguette is done? you can ask for a bien cuit if you like it more crispy n brown on top! i love that 🙂

  2. Ah not very good impressions so far lol. I heard French community are not very friendly with English speaking people, and the fact that a cashier cursed you just because of a $10 bill is outrageous. The manual train door is hilarious. I guess they dont care about usability and health issue. Imagine how many people have to touch that knob. Tiny elevator sounds like Japan. The no wifi thing is expected if they are busy, but you have a definite apointment with them at least?

    • It was not a bad impression. People are friendly in general. It’s just very different to what I’m used to.

      The worst part by far was my ZERO internet at home and 5 weeks installation wait. Besides that, it was all dandy. *Finally have internet at home 😀

      The train door knob retains no moist at any given time. Germ incubation isn’t really the concern for me. It is more of a weird inconvenience? I do miss the fully automated doors though.

  3. I think double-decker trains are great. And let’s be honest, the walls are just as thin in the UK. 😉

    I’m sure you’ll be OK with everything. xx

    • Wahahah, I was quite lucky in London. Either my neighbours were ninjas or the walls were thick. My building was from the 1800’s. Thanks for the good wishes, Mrs Strawberry Blonde 😉 I’m now using ‘borrowed’ wifi, but my hopes are up. The internet man called and said that he’ll be here tomorrow. After 1 month of waiting, it is about time.

  4. I love how you see my country. it’s realy that! and more…
    come and dance in my village! you can not imagine: an other world…

    • It’s like that for you too? haha I visited your blog. The French is a bit too advanced for me. Where in France are you from?

  5. I am living in Nice for the next few months, I have been surprised how much more makeup is as well! As far as bread bags, I have noticed reusable bread bags at the grocery stores.

    • Wow!! Lucky you!!!! Nice is such a beauty!!!

      Really? Reusable bread bags? That’s new. I haven’t seen that around in Paris.

  6. Great story Joyce, so you are using no makeup, carrying a large plastic bag to the baker, strengthening the wrists and learning practical French in the evenings for free from home while lying around. Sounds like you are settling in.

    • Wahaha Yes, but I’ll only feel fully settled in after the internet man decide to show up. *fingers crossed* it is suppose to happen tomorrow

  7. Haha Joyce some of these made me laugh. I agree the London Train Signs are nice and obvious. Good job or I’d walk past them???? The bread is crazy. I guess we’re used to it being wrapped up in plastic to cover it. Carrying a bare loaf around is mad! I think I would miss Boots and Supwrdrug more than anything else if I left the UK. I live for those shops haha x

    • Exactly, it hasn’t been that long since I’ve left UK and I miss Boots & Superdrugs intensely.

      Who do not miss those GBP12 for 2 products deals? There seem to be no such thing here in France 🙁

  8. A half of items on your list looks same as what I learned. Everyone from other countries, sometimes even in France, seems to do similar things 😉

    • Wahaha Yes, probably. It just that my French is still quite bad, so it feels a lot more ‘exotic’ 😉

  9. Nothing like just dropping yourself in a new country to learn the language. Technically, I should be able to speak French as a Canadian but eh, I can read and listen to French moreso than I can pronounce anything.
    Yes, bread is just exposed like that! Bakeries here do the same thing. I think they believe the crust will protect the bread against the elements?
    It’s true – the pharmacy makeup is pricier compared to the UK, although I think UK is really cheap compared to Canada. So I wasn’t too shocked at the French prices.
    Hahaha are you worried about stalkers, Joyce?
    Fingers crossed and doing the internet dance for you!

  10. Oh gosh. So funny. But must be pretty frustrating for you! Expensive makeup? Yikes. It can be here as well-but I normally go to Boots (sorry to brag) but they have Lancome mascara there and that makes me happy. Double decker trains? I had no idea. Well, it all sounds very wonderful and maddening at the same time. Enjoy enjoy enjoy! Looking forward to more posts re life in Paris. ;). Seriously….no Boots? Yikes. Hang in there, girl. 😉

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