You never know what you’ll see when you hit the streets of Paris. From performers to beggars to local strange, there’s an endless supply of color. Everyone has a Paris story, I’m sure, involving the bizarre. So, definitely add yours to the comments below. I’ll kick the process off with five of my favorite crazy Parisians.
1. The “Bosnians”
If you’ve been to any major attractions in Paris, you’ve seen them. Clad in a flowing skirt and headscarf, the woman approaches you, asking, “Do you speak English?” Then, she unfolds an index card with a sob story about escaping from Bosnia. Reply to them in rapid French (even if your accent and vocabulary suck, as mine do), and they’ll give up easily. Early in the morning, you can see dozens of them gathered in front of Gare du Nord, as if there’s about to be a shift change. That’s the beauty of France: even the beggars seem to be unionized.
2. The Nursing Student and Bride
This is one person, actually. A young lady needed money for her upcoming honeymoon, so her fellow nursing students dressed her up and paraded her through the Latin Quarter. I just had to give her a few Euros, even if only for the performance. This was much more entertaining than the brides-to-be wearing sashes and giggling as they enter the porn shops on Eighth Ave in New York.
3. The Frightened American
When you’re lost, running late or have any other question, you rehearse in your head what you play to say – I do, at least – and unleash it on the most sympathetic-looking local while trying to sound like a pro. I found my target and cut loose. He looked scared and slowly pushed the cuff of his sleeve back to reveal his watch. The poor guy had hoped I was asking the time.
4. The Openly Intimate
Another young lady, to honor her favorite fairy tale writer, brought her bed onto Place des Abbesses in Montmartre. Like the writer, she wanted to “share her intimacy” (not in that way, sicko). You could kick off your shoes and hang out in bed with her for a while. Definitely strange, but it was an interesting concept.
5. The People Drawn to the Openly Intimate
Yeah, these drunks were real weirdoes. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Shared Intimacy packed up her bed and left by midnight.