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My dear friend Kelly – who lived in Paris for nearly five years – recently told me that every year about a dozen Japanese citizens have to be repatriated from France for a psychological condition called "Paris Syndrome". It's thought to be caused by the extreme disappointment some tourists feel when Paris fails to live up to their expectations.

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I practically have the opposite reaction. I was anxious about making my eighth trip to Paris. In fact, I would have skipped it, if it hadn't been for Kelly.

The source of my trepidation: seven years of taking French in school had left me with the ability to understand the nasty things the waiters were saying, but without the ability to come back with a snappy insult.

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Fortunately I was insulate by Kelly's multinational bike-gang. We had an amazing day riding all over on borrowed Vélib bikes (Vélib is Paris' bike share program), visiting cute little bike shops, vintage fairs, and boulangeries.

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Paris was characteristically overcast and threatening to rain. So Kelly and I wore our most colorful raincoats. (Although neither of ours held a candle to this one.)

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Raincoat by Etro; bike is from Vélib; shoes are Ferragamo; over-the-knee-socks from American Apparel; bag is my own design.

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