So I’m web surfing about something completely unrelated to Paris. Just doing some basic professional research. And I come across a recent post written by someone named Erika Schickel on a website called “” and it says this:

I have just returned from a week in Paris. After spending a week eating, drinking and consuming mass quantities of art and culture, I returned to the States slimmer, clear-skinned, and brimming with a sense of history, proportion and an inner calm I haven’t attained without meditation in years. What is this magic? What is it that makes French (and most of European) society so balanced, so reasonable, so healthy?

This amazes me because I have spent the better part of the last three days thinking the very same thing. How did I eat so well and so much, lose weight, feel better? People keep telling me it’s because I walked a lot. Well, duh, I walk a lot in my daily life here. I don’t own a car. I live a completely urban life between my home in Hoboken, N.J. and my work in Manhattan. I eat pretty well, am very much aware of labels on food, try not to eat too much processed food. Now I’m re-examining everything, from my coffee habit to why I don’t eat more dessert.

More from Erika:

A stroll down any street in Paris will demonstrate how closely the French are living to the food chain. Markets display gorgeous vegetables, glorious cuts of meat, rainbows of seafood, and arrays of glistening olives. Farmer’s markets sprout up all over the city and people can easily pick up ingredients for dinner. 75% of French meals are prepared and eaten at home. Nobody is counting calories or drinking skim milk … Pleasure is an essential part of French culture. They embrace it in the sensible manner that comes from being comfortable with it. There is no such thing as “guilty pleasure” in Paris; they don’t need to scarf down a container of Chunky Monkey in the middle of the night when no one is looking.

Yes, oh yes. There is wisdom here.