The first time Pierre heard about Sarajevo was from reports about the war in BiH in the French media while he was a teenager. He made his first visit to the city on the Miljacka in 2001 as part of a four-month exchange program for art students. Three years later, he used the chance to come back to Sarajevo, and it was then that he and his girlfriend decided to stay.
He says that he thought a lot before his first visit to Sarajevo and decided not to look into the history or customs, but just to come and get to know the city based entirely on his own impressions, without any preconceived notions.
His first encounter with Sarajevo was a shock:
- Just a few hours after drinking some coffee at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, I was eating ćevapi in Baščaršija. That was a huge difference, indeed. It was as though I had come to a totally different world, explains Pierre.
What struck him most was the city’s special spirit, and he likes the fact that people have time for friends which, he says, is no longer the case back in France.
- Being able to sit for hours over coffee or plum brandy and talk about life is something that one cannot do just anywhere, says Pierre. He adds that he now has many good and close friends among Sarajevans.
Describing Sarajevo as a little Europe and a dream city, he feels that the city has everything one needs to make it a real utopia.
The biggest difference between Sarajevo and Paris, where he used to live, is the variety of cultural events, which are less abundant here in our city. However, he feels that Sarajevo has many advantages, with one being its size, which, as he says, is ideal and allows you to get everywhere on foot. He stresses that it would be great if traffic were banned within the zone stretching from Skenderija to Baščaršija. One minus is the polluted air during winter.
He describes Sarajevans as very congenial, open, approachable and kind. One thing that has surprised him, though, is how easily a discussion can turn into an argument, but then the next day you’re sitting together having coffee, like nothing ever happened!
Most of the things that Pierre needs for a normal life are all at hand in Sarajevo, but what he misses most are family and cheese!
He thinks Bosnian cuisine is excellent and the traditional specialties he would recommend are zeljanica (spinach pie) and yogurt.
During his time in our city, Pierre has adopted his own little ritual: he goes to a bar-café in Baščaršija every day to enjoy a morning coffee, plan his day and chat with the regulars, whose names he doesn’t even know. Then he’s ready for his daily obligations.
If he had to choose a symbol of Sarajevo, it would be a džezva (coffee pot), because coffee is an essential part of the cultural life here.
He recommends that those who come for the first time find accommodation in the center of town and go everywhere on foot. He also recommends a visit to the mountains, for Sarajevo is surrounded by beautiful nature which should be enjoyed.
In closing, he suggests that if you wish to know the people and truly feel Sarajevo, then visit the clubs and bars.