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Sensing Paris and London: Taste and Smell

Grateful Graduate Project 2013: Reasons to be grateful 346-365 of 365

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The experience of Paris and London is enhanced,  or otherwise, by the senses. The tongue and nose – the senses of smell and taste – are central to how we perceive places and our memories of them. In 2013, I was grateful for the small tastes and smells that gave a sense of place to both of these two cities and signified different times of the year specific and corners of these cities. These small things were especially important ways of smelling and eating my way around Paris and London…

 Tastes

  1. Red, red, Wine, nothing says Paris, family, friends more than the taste of a French red
  2. Croque Monsieur  – an essentially Parisian taste
  3. British Beef – a world away from the stuff you find in Paris
  4. Cheese, French Cheese –  it is interesting how the taste of  French cheese works on so many levels of emotion and in giving sense of place
  5. Fish – the taste of fresh fish (and chips) instantly communicates that you are not in Paris anymore
  6. English cake, with tea. This taste lingers in my dreams for the entire time that I am in Paris, missing England
  7. Madeleine – this taste lingers in my dreams for the entire time that I am in London, missing France
  8. Hot Cross Buns! A taste from my childhood that London provides and that Paris has not been able to satisfy
  9. Mince Pies under glum London skies. A very healing taste.
  10. Pierre Hermé Macarons – while you can technically pick them up in many parts of the world, the association for this blogger is firmly with  Paris (see pierreherme.com)

 Smells

  1. Fresh baguette at the local boulangerie asserts being back in Paris
  2. Ground Coffee for the masses is a smell that I  have come to associate with London,  that greatly caffeinated city
  3. The smell of Wine says dining table in Paris
  4. The scent of beer says Pub, London, British sociality
  5. Fried grease – or is that cooking oil? –   says London and its wide production of fried foods
  6. The smell of fish and seafood exports this blogger to parts of Borough market and daily walks through that area
  7. Perfume – the smell of Paris shopping galleries
  8. Seafood smell also signals Boulevard Raspail in Paris
  9. The smell of wood varnish evokes memories of visits to  Parisian museums and old libraries
  10. Then there is a unique smell that can only be described as ‘Line 14’. One can only appreciate it through personal encounter.

These are a few of the 365 things that, put together, make one grateful to be a grad student in Paris and London. Being here engages you on so many levels.  The actual process of reading for a given degree is intricately tied to emotion, the senses, environmental stimuli and it is a combination of these factors that make Paris and London great cities to live, study, and work. 

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