Saturday, September 26, 2009

So gross but I like it

The metro in Paris has a very particular smell. The best way I can describe it is like hot saw dust. I know that makes sense and doesn’t sound very appealing, but I love it. Sometimes I walk over the metro grates just to get a whiff.

It reminds me of when I studied here in ’93: running from a bar at the end of the night to try to catch the last train before 1 a.m. Taking the train to my literature or feminism class. One night, a guy I knew and I sat on the platform, swigging rum from a flask, until we were drunk enough to make out for hours. (Classy, I know.) Amazing that certain smells can conjure such memories.


  1. OMG ! I thought I was the only one. I've described it as smelling like burnt talcum powder. Whatever--I, too, love it because it is the smell that confirms I'm in Paris. I enjoy your posts !

  2. I totally thought I was the only one too! How funny! It takes me back to my university days in Paris as well. Sometimes when I am having a bad day here, walking over a subway grate completely conjures up welcome memories and cheers me right up.

    Okay, so how about the French plane smell? I don't have the words to describe it but know it exists.

    Just came across your blog BTW. It's brilliant!

  3. Tee hee! That really is funny. I thought I was the only one, too. Now I'll be carefully watching others' expressions as they cross over the metro grates!

    Now, the plane smell, Little Miss Cupcake, I must say, that one's a mystery to me...