What if Jay Gatsby had lived in Paris?

What if Jay Gatsby had lived in Paris?


This week, I am so happy to join the deligthful Anita of Castle, Crowns and Cottages, 
et ses amies for a special party – by invitation only!

Merci beaucoup, Anita. 

The party theme: What makes la Belle France so special to me and other people? 

Une bonne question. A good question indeed. 

Allez, mesdames et messieurs:

Follow me to Paris, and if the following video clip does not make you smile, 
then nothing will. Bon weekend et merci de votre visite!

Véronique (a.k.a. French Girl in Seattle)

Bouquinistes, Quais de Seine, Paris

Bonjour les amis,

I hope all my favorite moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day celebration today.

I was lucky to attend a couple of events this weekend. One of them involved re-uniting with a favorite fictional character of mine, Jay Gatsby. I really enjoyed the new movie by flamboyant director Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge fame.) It was not perfect, but how delicious to watch Leo-the-Great, (a.k.a. Leonardo DiCaprio) capture Gatsby’s soul. I have decided Leo is like a fine wine. He keeps improving with  age [insert sizzling sound.]  

“Forget Daisy Buchanan. You are the one for me, French Girl!” 
This week, I found a funny little video online. It was too good not to share. One petit problem: The video is in French. So, for those of you who read French, enjoy. For those of you who are happy being lazy monolingual bums, I have translated the script below. 

Il n’y a pas de quoi. You’re welcome. 

We all love Paris. Some of us return, year after year. Some of us were lucky enough to live in Paris for a while. Some of us wish they did. Jay Gatsby never lived in Paris. But if he had, he may have agreed with the following list…

Les amis, I give you, directly from les Parisiens, “Telltale signs you live in Paris.”


1. Your Monday mornings look like this [ed: on the subway.]
2. For 25m2 [ed: 270 square feet,] your rent is 800 Euros [ed: $1,050.]
3. You have never used the Seine river tour boats, but you wave “Hello” to tourists…
4. You never talk to your neighbors.
5. You are happy when it only takes 48:21 to get to work.
6. You never cross the beltway to go to the suburbs. Well, ok, sometimes you do.
7. You say to yourself you really have to visit the Louvre… one day.
8. You know what subway car to get on, to face the nearest exit when you step off the train.
9. To a lot of people you are just a “Parigot” [ed: derogatory nickname given to Parisians, rhyming with…] “tête de veau” (calf’s head.) 
10. Top three animals you hate the most: Pigeons. Rats. Tourists.
11. You like it when Paris is empty in August… and the Parisians have left the city.
12. You know what “rush hour” means [ed: notice photo of a Parisian park on a sunny afternoon.]
13. You know the best places to kiss.
14. You know each subway line by its color [ed: there are 14 total.]
15. You know how to avoid danger on sidewalks [ed: danger = dog poop.] 
16. You can locate each arrondissement (district,) well… almost. [ed: There are 20 arrondissements in downtown Paris.]
17. You constantly visit “awesome exhibits…
18. You never turn down a chance to have a cup of espresso on a terrace… not even for 10 Euros [ed: $13.]
19. The hardest part about your vacation, is returning [ed: Sunday evening traffic!] 
20. You know that sometimes, Paris can be magical [ed: photo of le P.S.G., the Paris soccer team.] 
21. There are 894 shows playing every evening… but you never go.
22. You can test the world’s cuisines… simply by changing neighborhoods.
23. You can buy a bottle of wine; too expensive; mediocre; at any hour.
24. You meet poverty every day… but you don’t notice it anymore.
25. Once, you found a cab quickly (with a nice driver to boot!)
26. You like it when Paris wakes up at 5:00am… as you are going to bed.
27. You know why la Défense neighborhood will never be Manhattan [ed: Parisians *love* New York City!]
28. You are certain that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world.

 Well, what did you think? Did you enjoy the list? Can you relate? 

I will volunteer a small contribution to the original list, and it goes something like this…

29. You complain about Paris while you live there, and talk often about “getting out.” Yet, you will never feel more Parisian than once you have moved abroad, and constantly think about returning. 

And that, les amis, is a fact.


A bientôt.

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71 Responses to What if Jay Gatsby had lived in Paris?

  1. I can relate to a few of these things, with my own town. Lol. I especially agree with the last one and I’ve never even been to Paris! But I like what I see in movies/books/your blog. And good lord if there was a universal award for best cuisine in the history of the earth, it would go to France. I’ve been to every French restaurant in town and have always walked away with stars in my eyes. 😉

    I think Gatsby would have loved living in Paris, although I don’t think he could have held a candle to the city itself. It’s almost like the city would overshadow HIM!! And that’s saying a lot.

    I can’t wait to see the movie, by the way. I took my mom to Iron Man 3 today (her request, lol). But I’m hoping to see the film later this week with Rian.

    Oh, and your comparison of Leo to wine cracked me up. Loved it!

    • Thank you for your visit, Jenny.

      Are you certain Paris would have overshadowed our friend Gatsby? I am not so sure. His parties quite something (and the new movie does a great show at showcasing them!) Maybe Gatsby would have become the toast of Paris (like Josephine Baker back in the day…) Ah, to have seen him fall for the charms of pretty French girls — and finally forget that shallow Daisy Buchanan! [Sigh…]

  2. On a aussi un “tu sais que tu es niçois quand..” je te ferai passer le test cet été, ça sera ton adoubement-si tu le réussis- ! :o)
    Je crois comme toi que Leo s’améliore en vieillissant. Mais je n’irai pas voir son Gatsby car d’une part, le fond de cette histoire ne m’a jamais trop plu, et d’autre part, je veux rester sur celui de Robert Redford, que je trouvais parfait.
    Gatsby, Paris , ça m’évoque le “Midnight in Paris” de Woody Allen, dans lequel on croise Fitzgerald.. AU moins une chose est sure, Paris est une ville qui fait fantasmer!
    Bises et bonne semaine!

    • Alors là, je relève le pari, Marie, mais seulement à la fin du séjour: Je dois réviser avant de passer le test “Tu sais que tu es niçois quand…” PS: Si on échoue la première fois, on a une seconde chance ? (après stage d’immersion, cela va sans dire…)

      Comment?! Tu ne vas même pas donner une toute petite chance au beau Leo dans le rôle de Gatsby? Redford a toujours été un de mes chouchous, mais crois-moi quand je te dis que Leo apporte une toute autre dimension au personnage… plus d’émotion aussi. On se sent vraiment très proche du beau Gatsby à la fin du film – superbe, au passage!

      Allez, vas-y rien que pour me faire plaisir. Tu pourrais être agréablement surprise 🙂

  3. Bonjour Veronique. Although I have not lived in Paris but have spent a lot of time there with family that do, the list seems right on. I hope you had a great Mother’s Day. I presented you with the Liebster blog award in my most recent post @ Our House in Provence. Have a great week.

    • Bonjour Michel. How nice of you. I am honored to receive another Liebster Award from you. I will swing by your blog to thank you in person.

      I am glad you can relate to the list. I thought it was pretty accurate myself…

  4. can’t wait for my next visit. whenever it will be. thank you for the translation! i read it first then watched, it definitely helped! merci!

  5. Heheh thanks for commenting on my blog! I haven’t seen the movie yet, admittedly (but when your full name starts with G and ends with Y, funny graphics must be made).

    Reading through your post I had the following thoughts:
    1. AGREE Leo is like a fine wine. I was 12 when Titanic came out and did not understand the big deal. Now, I think he’s an underrated actor.
    2. La Defense is WEIRD. It’s frightening. I think it should be the setting for a horror movie (if it hasn’t been already).
    3. I thought any of those on the list could apply to DC (I’ve never lived there and once turned down a job there).
    4. I love reading your French comments because it brings back all my knowledge of the language (I studied it until first year of Uni and like to at least TRY to dispel the British stereotype of being useless at languages).

    • Welcome! So happy you stopped by…

      Thank you for the kind comment. I agree with you about #2. La Défense was always one of my least favorite places in Paris. it is drafty and cold. The mall is average. The rest is business offices. The only reason to go there, *maybe*, would be to visit the Great Arch…

      Great job working hard at not being a lazy monolingual anglo-saxon! 🙂

  6. I LOVED the video and could GET most of it but many thanks for your excellent translation!
    Yes, yes and yes to so many items listed.
    I wonder if New Yorkers could come up with a similar video…
    Maybe it’s too heterogeneous a town to have so many similarities as Paris…maybe not.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Carol.
      I bet there is a similar list for most major cities out there, and I am guessing some of the items on the list might be eerily similar to the Parisian ones (transportation, traffic, prices…) 🙂

  7. Wonderful post Vernoique. You reminded me of a book I added to my Kindle last year to read on the Eurostar from London to Paris..it had me in stitches the whole way through. Have you read ‘Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi’. It is tongue in cheek..and very witty. Your video clip reminded me of it.

    You can read about it here… http://www.amazon.com/Stuff-Parisians-Like-Discovering-Quoi/dp/0425241181

    I look forward to seeing ‘Gatsby’. I think you first have to appreciate Baz Luhrmann and his style of movie making. If someone doesn’t they could be confused. He and his wife, Catherine Martin, are extremely talented..an Aussie gift. As for Leo..you are so right, like a fine wine..he just keeps getting better and better.

    Best wishes Veronique..

    jeanne xx

    • Bonjour Jeanne. How wonderful to have you here. How is life in Asia?

      I read the book you mentioned and have even offered it to a couple of students as a Christmas gift. I agree, it was a good one.

      I also agree with you about the new Gatsby movie. Some people may not appreciate Luhmann’s universe of “sound and fury” as much as I have 🙂 Then again, I’d probably go and see Leo in a shampoo commercial, because I know he’d be great at that too! 🙂

  8. Hello, I am a new official follower of your blog. I so enjoy your intelligent descriptions, thoughts & observations on French language & culture as well as American. I am an enthusiastic student of the French language, which has taken me on trips to France & Quebec. The video brought back the longing to go again to Paris, though that will have to wait. Thank you, Rita

    • Eh bien merci beaucoup Rita, et bienvenue chez moi!

      I hope you make it back to Paris soon, but in the meantime, swing by here anytime. You can read the stories I have written about the City of Light. And I hope you enjoy them! A bientôt.

  9. Agreed about Leo Veronique. I wasn’t a fan when he was younger but he’s definitely better now! I’m a Baz fan so I think i will like the film.

  10. I have to agree that Leo is definitely improving with age. His face now has some patina to it. It’ no longer just pretty; finally, “Il a du chien.”

    Loved the “this is how you know you live in Paris” short you included.

    “trop drôle; trop vrai.”

    Bisous, M-T

    • “Il a du chien,” indeed, chère M-T. 🙂 He also has talent, and that does not hurt. I also love he keeps his private life private and knows to go away for a while to avoid overexposure (like after Titanic.) A smart, smart, boy, our Leo…

      Hugs to you and Dan.

  11. Veronique… I just loved this post… may I share it with your translations on My Daily Click?

    I am going to see The Great Gatsby on Friday night… as it’s one of my very favourite books I don’t expect a lot from the film… but an evening with LdiC is something I am looking forward to… 🙂
    I agree… he just gets better and better… xv

  12. Dearest Véronique,
    Lovely post and yes, Leonardo is looking very attractive and shows so much more character. Both of us rarely find time for watching movies… life is tough enough trying to keep up with several continents in different languages. But we sure did enjoy a LOVELY vacation in Curaçao; one that will keep all four of us going for quite a while. Loved the European/Dutch flair and the culture… Coming back to zero of it at home; well with only buildings that rank 100 years.
    Keep your great writings coming; always a treat for reading here!

  13. Dear Veronique, I really enjoyed this very interesting and yes even humorous post!
    Oh and agree that Leonardo is getting more manly and an even better actor with age!

    I hope you visit my French Adventure soon!

    Art by Karena

  14. Hello Veronique, my close neighbour and favorite name girl 🙂 I’ve also lived in Paris for a while and can completely understand the rats, pigeons and tourists. All practically the same…lol. I just saw The Great Gatsby with my 78 million yr. old mother and my youngest and we loved it. Just imagine if they had more time and Daisy said she loved him and they actually went to Paris to get away from it all. What a wonderful romance that would be. 🙂 So lovely to meet you and see you soon.

    • Bonjour Veronica. You have a great name also 🙂

      So glad you stopped by, thanks to our friend Anita. What a fun event! The party theme is very familiar to me. I was going to write a new story, then I realized my current Paris post was perfect… so I left it on for a few more days.

      I love your suggestion for an alternate ending to “Gatsby le Magnifique.” It would be a wonderful romance, you are right, but not as good as the Gatsby-French Girl in Seattle one! 🙂

  15. Il y a des années je suis rentrée dans Notre-Dame désertée par les touristes !
    Tout à coup l’organiste s’est mis à jouer du Bach …
    Instant magique, inoubliable !
    Ça aussi c’est Paris.

    • Absolument, Marie-Ange. Ce que je préfère, à Paris, ce sont ces petits moments “inédits,” ces surprises, qui arrivent plus souvent qu’on pourrait le penser en fait. On se sent alors très chanceux, et à juste titre… loin des guides touristiques et des foules du weekend… Merci de ce témoignage!

  16. Ma belle! Merci d’être venue me contacter! Je voulais verifier que tu fais partie de notre “fête”, et voilà, c’est sûr! Ce film, il faut le voir bien sûr! Et c’est un plaîsir tout le temps de lire tes aventures, en français ou en anglais!


  17. I thoroughly enjoyed your alternative take on Paris, a peek at real life in the city of light. I confess, I did little to improve my French language skills–I just read the translations. 😉 Merci! x Katie

  18. Bonjour Veronique! Now I want to travel to Paris and walk along the Seine River then go to the Left Bank to visit some shops along Rue du Bac then hangout in a local Cafe perhaps near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Bon weekend!

  19. Bonjour Veronique!!!
    It is fun coming here because of Anita’s party, and meeting you!
    I read a few of your posts as I sat here drinking my coffee this morning,
    and enjoyed seeing some of the towns in this area through your eyes,
    as I am a local girl…..

    So wonderful to meet you!
    ~ Violet

  20. Welcome in France…nice to see you here…….love to do this together…Anita is such a good friend to all of us…enjoy the weekend love Ria…xxx…

  21. Bonjour! et merci pour votre visite a ma ‘blog.’ I enjoyed reading your insider info about Paris… and glad you enjoyed the reminder of La Rochelle! It does sound as if fate wants you to visit the town!

    A bientot…

  22. Bonjour Chere Veronique!
    So happy to “meet” you through our dear friend Anita’s Fete!…
    You know, I have seen your comments here and there throughout blog land, but it can be intimidating to introduce oneself sometimes.. 🙂
    I am thrilled that I understood all but a couple of things in the video…youpi! Hooray for high school French classes… 😉
    I do believe I was a Parisienne in another life…heee…the city has always felt like home to me, but I know I am not alone in that feeling…it is spectacular indeed!
    Enjoy the party and have a wonderful weekend…
    I am now following…
    – Irina

    • Irina. What a nice message. Merci beaucoup. I have promptly signed up to “follow” your blog as well.

      You are right about Paris. It is quite a unique city in that many people feel right at home there, even on their first visit. Like Sabrina used to say: “Paris is always a good idea…”

      A bientôt, on your blog or mine…

  23. Bonjour! I just found your lovely blog, by visiting and joining Anita’s party.
    I am your newest follower. I love the virtual tour you have provided me. paris is wonderful. We hope to go back one day. Linda

  24. Merci Merci, chere Veronique! Your kind words mean so much coming from you, they really do…
    Thank you for your visit!!
    Paris indeed is ALWAYS a good idea… 🙂
    A bientot!
    – Irina

    • Bienvenue Paul. I do not have that many male readers, as far as I know, so it is a pleasure to welcome you here. I, too, have had a “coffee spitting” accident this week. They can be messy, but they mean you have just seen something really funny– and that’s a good thing. A bientôt.

  25. Oh, my son just saw this movie, and thought it was very good. I have been wanting to see it ever since. My family just visited Seattle, and they said it was the most beautiful place, very green.

    It’s so nice to meet you, and I love your name, “French girl in Seattle.”

    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

    • Merci Sheri, for the visit and the kind words. Oui, your family is right: Seattle is very green. That’s because of the darn RAIN in case you have not heard about it! 🙂 Believe every stereotype you hear about Seattle. They are all true!

      I will visit you at Red Rose Alley later on this morning. A bientôt.

  26. Oh no Veronique, am I the only one who can’t see the video? I so want to see some images to go with the words. Maybe its just Australia? Perhaps you could give me a link, merci beaucoup.

    • Bonjour Grace. I am afraid nobody else has mentioned problems with the video. Australia may not have the rights for it. I will send the link over to you. No problem! And thank you for stopping by. A bientôt.

  27. Ok, love that list! I only lived there a short while but my sister has lived there for over 20 years and I KNOW she can relate! Looking forward to coming back and keeping up with your blog!
    Thanks for this!

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