It’s another grey, damp Paris winter day.

“La grisaille” holds the entire city in her arms and won’t let go until spring. To make things worse “le crachin” the fine, mist-like rain typical of coastal areas in other parts of France, has decided to settle in for a while, messing with hair, glasses and smart phone screens.

La grisaille - a grey winter sky in Paris and a beautiful Haussmannian building

C’est midi, l’heure du déjeuner. Lunch time. A wee bit early for many Parisians who tend to show up around 1:00pm.

In front of me, I see her. La Parisienne. She is on a mission, her gait even and determined.

Her outfit is two-tone perfection in shades of black and grey, timeless, elegant, practical yet not sloppy, stylish yet not ostentatious.

With a small cross-body bag, a black leather tote and a matching nylon bag she’s ready to take on the city streets.

Why leave “bérets” to tourists and enamored fans of that silly Emily girl? La Parisienne shows them all how it’s done. She’s not playing a part. She *is* one of the stars of the show unfolding daily along the elegant boulevards in the French capital.

La Parisienne walking down the street with her bag and a beret on her head

As I cross the street behind her, I spot the famous Closerie des Lilas, a former guinguette, iconic literary café and restaurant.

I stop to take a look at the menu, silently cursing “le crachin” that’s accumulated on the glass display, making it challenging to identify “les plats du jour” (the specials.)

I decide to go on along le Boulevard du Montparnasse, a favorite lunch place in mind. As I walk past the restaurant window, I see her again.

La Parisienne sitting in the cafe looking at her menu for le déjeuner (lunch)

La Parisienne has reached her destination. “Une table pour une personne.” It will be a solo lunch today. Her back to the street, facing the beautiful room, she’s already perusing the menu, a waiter discreetly dressing the table next to hers.

She will keep “the béret” on during lunch. A bad hair day is entirely out of the question.

Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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