Write a letter to a friend about your life in Paris and what she should know to live there.
This was the instruction of the French test in front of me. I wrote some boring stuff that I knew were the right answers to give. The prices of places, learning the language, museums to visit - blah blah blah. But if I could really answer it, this is what I would say:
1. Avoid metro line 8 anytime after 7:30am and before 8:30pm because everybody and their mother will try to squeeze in, even if you tell them there is no room. Especially, if you tell them there is no room. At which point, you will share countless stops with them glaring at you while they invade your personal space.
2. You will need to try to figure in advance out how you will travel on the weekends as many metro and bike stations will be closed down for the next month or 100 months, give or take.
3. You will find yourself nervously scrolling the New York Times many times a day to get updates on a world gone mad - Brexit, government shutdowns, Doug Ford's crap. Then you will wonder why you keep needing to know this stuff, as it adds not one ounce of joy to your day or life.
4. The big sales are for women size XXS or XXL. In between, it's slim pickings.
5. Nothing is better than hot, just out of the oven baguette. Nothing.
6. Red wine can't fix everything but it makes it a little better.
7. C'est pas possible is how the French say Hell no!! (but worse)
8. It takes the A team to crack into a friendship with a French person. They meet anytime between the womb and kindergarten and form friendships. After that, it's too late.
9. If all this gets to you, pour a glass of Bordeaux and nibble a piece of baguette (preferably with goat cheese) and you will feel a LOT better about everything. Except that guy on line 8. That was just wrong.