The olfactory, whiff, bouquet, and tang of Paris

Oh the whoa is me…no, Oh the wow is me…wait, Oh the woe is me factor of living in Paris. Alright , I have so much to say but only so much time and don’t want to blog down, I mean bog down anyone with a gazillion posts all about me.  Of course it really is all about me, isn’t that what a blog is, stuff all about you? Or rather me? Let’s start with:


The smells of Paris

Each city has it’s own unique fragrance to it, that which whenever you happen upon it elsewhere sends your mind back to “that time in Paris you remember so well.”  For example, when I walked out my front  door this morning the first thing I smelled was a fresh wind drifting across the canal from the other side of the street, sweet and clean. Then, because I was not looking down at my feet but holding my head up to catch the clean air, I stepped into a pile of dog doo. Smelly, stinky dog doo.  People don’t curb their damn dogs…dogs are king in France and there are a lot of them that live on our street. Now don’t get me wrong, I love dogs but they should not be allowed to leave their dog doo on the sidewalk, especially right in front of my outside door!

Thank goodness it had been raining and I could swish my foot in a little puddle off to the side. Back to the smell thing, I proceeded to walk down rue Joseph Kosmas turning left onto rue des Ardennes to the Ourcq Metro station. For those who do not know French it is pronounced like the Orc’s of Middle Earth.

The next thing I smell is the wonderful corner Boulangerie and fresh baked bread, we stop here every day to buy something yummy.  Then down the stairs to the Metro (now this is where it starts to get dicey) where the stench of urine passes my nose, the whiff of the dirty beggar sitting on the stairs who has not bathed in God knows how long and finally the aroma of sweat on the Metro car because we are all jammed very tightly into each car with hands reaching to the bar above their head to keep from falling…and my nose is pressed close to someones armpit who is clearly not wearing any deodorant. Of course not everyone smells that way, it just happens I am lucky to have the tang of this guys armpit in my face.

As I leave the Metro and emerge into the crisp winter air of the 5th arrondissement, I am met with the smell of fresh coffee.  Coffee in France is nowhere near coffee in the USA, thank God! It is aromatic, dark, bitter yet flavorful, rich and delicious to the point of being orgasmic on my tongue. That is how wonderful the coffee is to me. So I sit and have a cafe creme and breath in all the smells of the small sidewalk cafe.

Rotisserie chicken…butter…garlic, ah, the man a table away is consuming escargot…The woman sitting next to me is emanating a smell closely resembling body odor, then realize it’s not her it’s what is in her bag. It’s cheese. Smelly, stinky cheese. A distant memory of smell is coming back to me…where did I just smell that? On the Metro! Wait, maybe it wasn’t his armpit after all, maybe he had cheese in his coat…C’est la vie!

3 thoughts on “The olfactory, whiff, bouquet, and tang of Paris

  1. Your blog of your adventures is such an awesome gift, thanks so much. It would be great if you could post a video of your pub singing Monday night Jan.13. To see the vibe and hear a bit of the music would be awesome 😀

  2. How fortuitous that you should now live on a street named after Joseph Kosma. Plenty of beautiful singing should happen there. Ah, the sounds of Paris… Salut!

    • Yes indeed, how wonderful we found this place, not the most beautiful in Paris but very near lots of music and fabulous parks. We start our intensive French class tomorrow, this will help so much!


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