It’s everywhere – the notion that anything French, especially Parisian, is better than anything else. French Women Don’t Get Fat, French Parents Are Better, How to Dress Like a Parisian, and on and on.

I experienced it on this GoogleWalkParis outing. Walk with me …

Here’s an interesting street beckoning me:

Paris street

What obscure treat might I find down here?

I see a crowd of locals. The latest trendy restaurant? An exclusive boutique? What could it be? I MUST know!

Paris street scene

What do they know that I don’t know?

Oh. Podiatry School. Ummm. Never mind. Myth exploded.

Paris street podiatry school

Must be recess

And then I see another gem:

Paris street Kmart

Maybe not the same as our Kmart, but still.

What is it about those buildings, those streets, that make us think every inch is filled with exotic adventures? People live their everyday lives there. They need laundromats and post offices and places to buy toothpaste too.

But then I walk around the corner into an alley and see doors like this

Paris pretty white door

and details like this beam

Paris street architecture

and I get it. The myth seduces me again.

Because even if it’s a Kmart now, what did it used to be? Who spent their lives there? How old was this store when my nation was founded? Who used to push open those doors and sweep those sidewalks when they were new? Did its occupants daydream about what their city would be like in the future?

I think I will never run out of questions.