Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So long France

My trip through France is coming to its end and after five days in Paris, two in Bordeaux, three in Toulouse, and four in Nice I can say that traveling through France can be a comfortable challenge. Many questions remain unanswered; why did we have to switch trains twice on what was supposed to be a direct trip? Why don't French boys notice cute American/Canadian girls? Why is it so cold and rainy in May? Why did that person just cut me in line?

Despite several questions and uncertainties, I also learned a few invaluable lessons in France, which I will be happy to share with you.

Lesson #1: The French are strong believers in DIY, especially in restaurants.

The two steak tartares that I got arrived at the table with a smattering of condiments, sauces and chopped seasonings. Apparently it was my job, not the chef's, to turn this mound of raw meat into something delectable. Picture it, a hefty patty of raw ground beef with an egg yolk on top counting on me to make it something other than, as my friend so eloquently put it "a raw hamburger." Imagine her dissapointment when she was also expected to season her own Bloody Mary, which raises another question, what do bartenders in France do if they expect us to make our own drinks?

Lesson #2: French supermarkets are superior to our American ones, a good meal is never more than a few packages and a bottle of wine away.

After several long dinners at brasseries, we decided that a dinner at home was in order and so we walked into the Carrefour, picked up a package of jambon, a selection of goat and sheep cheeses, fresh bread, olives and some mache. With a dessert of macarons from La Duree, this simple dinner in Paris was certainly one of my favorites.

Lesson #3: The best museums in France are the boulangeries, patisseries and marches.

Forget the Louvre, Centre Pompidou or Musee d'Orsay, look around you every step you take is filled with beautiful croissants, quiches, sandwiches, cheeses, charcuterie, tarts and other delightfully tempting treats.

They may not be as impressive as the Mona Lisa, but they definitely taste better.

Lesson #4: You don't have to know what you're eating to enjoy it. In fact you're probably better off not knowing.

My most decadent meal in France was in Toulouse at a lovely restaurant called Le Point D'Ogre. It was during this meal that I sabotaged my friend, duped her into eating something she would have otherwise ignored, boudin de viande. Boudin de viande is similar to blood pudding, a softer sausage made of slow-cooked pork, which is then mixed with pig's blood. Knowing what's in it makes it unappealing to say the least, so while translating the contents of the charcuterie basket to my friend I told her that the boudin was "some sort of meat thing" rather than going into detail. She actual enjoyed this local specialty, so there were no hard feelings when I finally told her what she had eaten.

My time in France has been sweet....

Equipped with these important lessons I move on to the next leg of my trip. In Israel, I am sure there will be more questions raised, more delicacies consumed, and more lessons learned. Most importantly, there is more fun, sun and exploration to indulge in.


Anonymous said...

Et bien ma chere petite Frenchie voila de quoi en mettre plus d un en appetit !!!!
il est certain que nous les francais aimons les tables riches de bons mets et vins !!!!
es tu encore sur Nice ??
Tu es tres en beaute ,quelle cheveulure !!!
je t embrasse tres affectueusement,nannycole.