This is the moment you know you've become Parisian

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Oliver Gee - [email protected]
This is the moment you know you've become Parisian
Photo: jan lewandowski/Flickr

Have you "gone native" in Paris - and do you remember the turning point? Twelve adopted "Parisians" share the moment when they realized they were a local.


When I mastered the the Arc de Triomphe (Etoile) roundabout, says TV presenter Darren Tulett.
I guess I really felt like I belonged once I had mastered going round l'Etoile - surely one of the craziest roundabouts in the world - on my bike.
It was back in the days when I lived in Montmartre, which already had me feeling quite French. With my mate Nick we'd go all over town on our bikes and once we'd conquered the Etoile - with a head-down, go-for-it mentality that forced the respect of my fellow Parisians.
Photo: Arpingstone/WikiCommons
When I gave the middle finger to a French driver, says comedian Paul Taylor.
I was driving and needed to take a left turn, but had to wait for the oncoming traffic to stop. I was blocking a taxi driver who wouldn't stop beeping his horn, so I did the most Parisian thing: I raised my hand between the two front seats and I gave him the finger. 
I could see in the rear-view mirror that he was pretty angry. He caught up to me again eventually, got out of his car, came to my car and started banging on the window. "Hey, ouvre ta fenêtre petit connard". I opened the window about one centimetre. He shouted “C’était a moi que tu faisait un doigt d’honneur?” ("Was that middle finger for me?"). I responded calmly “Non”. He said “Ah, OK” and just walked back to his car and we carried on with our days. Classic Paris.
When I couldn't eat a salad without vinaigrette, says writer Stephen Clarke.
It was when I first went back to the UK and complained because my salad had no vinaigrette. Before then I'd been used to a few "salady bits",  dry, or at most with a splash of malt vinegar. Suddenly I realized I was ripping up lettuce leaves and drenching them in olive oil, wine vinegar, mustard and salt. 
Photo: Plat/Flickr
When I actually enjoyed an argument with another Parisian, says blogger and writer Lindsey Tramuta.
I couldn't escape the realization that I was Parisian when I saw the pleasure in verbal jousting and debating with other Parisians.
Sometimes they are people I know, other times it's with strangers on the bus, in line at the supermarket or even in my apartment building. But it is always in an effort to correct some sort of injustice or slight and rarely without provocation. The more heated it get, the more the signature, exasperated Parisian sigh comes out. 
When I realized eating dinner at 6pm was far too early, say the team at Savoir Faire Paris, a concierge service in Paris. 
I knew I was turning Parisian when I found a 6pm dinner outrageously early. On a recent trip to the US I was so thrown off at the thought of us collectively sitting down so early that I realized I was starting to turn Parisian. 
Photo: AFP
When I embraced "Paris bed hair", says writer Lisa Anselmo.
I knew I was turning Parisian when I stopped fussing over my hair to make it perfectly coiffed. Bed head is sexy over here, and you can't fight the hard water, so I just brush and go, et voilà.
When I realised how to seduce a la française, says author Elaine Sciolino 
The moment came when I was writing my book and Inès de la Fressange, la Parisienne parfaite, told me I would only know what it meant to be seductive à la française if I learned how to become less serious in my everyday conversations.
"So when I told my first joke to a Frenchman and he laughed, I knew I had become a little bit Parisian."
When I knew Chatelet Metro stop just had to be avoided at all costs, says tour guide Corey Frye.
...when I finally learned to avoid that scourge of all public transportation: the Chatelet metro station.
It's crowded, dark, and perpetually under construction (just tile the damn walls already!). Transfers can take ages as you do the "sardine shuffle" underground. Smart locals give this behemoth hub a wide berth when possible, voluntarily adding time to their commute to avoid it. I've gladly joined their ranks. 
Photo: poudou99/WikiCommons
When you embrace lift etiquette, says Nhan Nguyen, who runs My Love for Paris.
You know you're turning Parisian when you become irritated the complete stranger in the lift didn't wish you "bonne journée" before leaving the lift.
When I started to use the word putain rather than f**k, says blogger Kate Goodbody.
I knew I was turning Parisian when I started saying putain instead of more anglo-saxon outbursts.
I remember I was in the UK waiting for a flight back to Paris and as the announcer explained our flight was to be delayed I muttered to myself "Putain, c'est la galère"!
When I understood the Paris transport map, say the team at Expats Paris.
I knew I had "turned Parisian" on a day when the metro line 4 had a 30-minute interruption at the Simplon station. I jumped out, took the bus 56 to Gare Du Nord then from there, I took the RER B to my final stop of Châtelet. All this happened in 30 minutes
You know you’re turning Parisian when you understand the Paris transport map.
When I started ringing my bell furiously on a Velib bike, write The Local's Ben McPartland
When I first got to Paris, all those bicycle bell ringers in Paris infuriated me. Getting someone to move out of the way by ringing a bell felt cold and impolite to an impeccably well-mannered and courteous Brit.
I would sneak up behind pedestrians or other cyclists and whisper "Excusez Moi" followed by a sincere "Merci beaucoup".
That was five years ago.
Now I'm ringing the bell from 100 metres away. And if they don't move in time, then they will be subject to fierce gesticulations or determined under-the-breath muttering. Occasionally, if the obstacle is young children or elderly people, I'll consider slowing down.



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