As an American in Paris, you are a walking faux pas. I learned this immediately, despite having arrived in the City of Light and thankless clichés armed with a French last name, a practiced pronunciation of sauvignon blanc, and a pair of loafers I had deemed quintessentially Parisian.
On my very first morning in the Sixth Arrondissement, a barista nailed me. “You’re from New York, aren’t you?” she asked.
“Oui,” I nodded, wondering whether or not one can, in fact, speak French with a Brooklyn accent (while dreading the possibility that I might actually have a Brooklyn accent).
“All Americans want their coffee to go,” she explained in perfect English. “New Yorkers always take it black.” I realized she was ignoring the fact that I’d ordered in French.