La Vie Quotidienne

The French, being as clever as they are, have come up with a word that means “everyday”, an adjective that is perfectly suited to describe everyday life and all its pleasures: quotidien. This word is often used to describe things done daily, like buying and eating “le pain quotidien” (daily bread, and an incredible chain restaurant here), and was used to describe literature that arose in the 19th century that described “la vie quotidienne”, the lives of the average French people. The difference between our word, “average” or “everyday”, and the French word is simply one of connotation: quotidien(ne) is not looked down upon or condescended, but instead carries a connotation of pleasure and refinement.

 

Having almost fully adapted to life here in Paris, I have become accustomed to “la vie quotidienne” and its simplicity and enjoyment. I have been able to map out daily runs that help me explore the city, and those have become part of my daily life. Last night when I walked into a rather awkward situation at the apartment (my roommate invited a guy over, but her text message warning us said he was a “friend” – he was more than a friend), I called up my friend David and asked if I could head over to his place to do some reading in peace and quiet. I hopped on the metro and met him at his quaint apartment in Le Marais, and we talked and ate almond cigars and drank tea while listening to the muted sounds of the city through his open windows. This, I realized, is “la vie quotidienne”. The daily pleasures that come with being a resident of this beautiful city are anything but “average” or “everyday”.

Being a student here comes with a particularly special “vie quotidienne”. Our daily lives are filled with intellect and opportunity, and the joy of “casually” running into our friends near some of the most posh places in Paris. Our school, situated in Saint Germain-des-Pres, is nestled among some of the most high-end stores and restaurants in the city, and borders the Latin Quarter, where one can find the Sorbonne and Notre Dame. We joking brag about our daily lives being filled with all the cliches of Paris tourism, mostly by accident. Today I spent my morning going for a 3-mile run (sorry, I don’t do kilometers) down to Parc Monceau in Batignolles, then rushed to class, and will be meeting a friend to go to the Musee D’Orsay. Ah, life in Paris.

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