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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

Picture this: I am in the men’s building of a large department store (BHV), heading towards the front entrance, when three unrelated customers, all male, walk by me, waving perfume sticks in the air and sniffing the cologne scent sprayed on them.

I love that. I don’t think I have ever witnessed that with straight males in Canada. Men in Europe (well France and Italy at least) are also confident enough to wear pants coloured red, orange or purple here. I have only seen men in North America don the usual greys, black, brown, kaki and blue trousers. (And yellow or white pants when golfing.) Have I lived a sheltered life or what?! And sooo many males here wear pink shirts. How liberating! It makes such a difference to the psyche.

So I have found myself stepping into certain perfume shops (SO NOT ME) and trying out all the different scents. I feel like a kid in a candy store. There are plenty of these ‘candy stores’ around (Occitane, Marrionade, Yves Rocher, Sephora, etc.). I know, I’m in Paris and the wildest thing I’m doing is sniffing a bunch of perfumes sprayed on paper sticks…

But seriously, the sweet smells that Paris manufactures is a must. Because the City of Lights reeks of dog poo and pee (not from dogs alone, my male friends) ubiquitous in the streets, Le Métro (subway), the parks… If all the beautiful pictures of Paris had a “scratch’n’sniff” option, or focused on all the dog poo left on the sidewalks, people would double-think coming here without a scarf to cover their noses and wearing smart brown-coloured shoes… This is Paris.

Porte St. Martin: This gate from the 1670s is up the street from our apartment. Awesome to look at but the smell factor will make you run (think giant urinal). This is Paris.

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