Today’s daydream: moving to the 13th and taking cooking classes.
“Even though I was on a budget, I could afford to go to the fresh food market and get baguette and cheese.
That kind of food is not really accessible to you in London. I really love that in Paris,
there is no division [in food] by social class.”
– Rachael Khoo, in an interview with the Guardian
A week-ish ago three glorious days in Paris. And certainly the theme of this trip was food, food, food. From watching Thom and his Dad tackle a plateau de fruits de mer, to another trip to Le Refuges des Fondus, and market trawling – we ate well and often. Every neighbourhood has its own little market, and there’s no stigma in buying just one or two pieces of fruit, or a bouchon de sancerre to snack on (it’s a tiny cheese named for a wine cork). Makes me hungry just thinking of it.
1. Good morning, beautiful buildings 2. Fresh fraise 3. A wonderful optometrist’s sign 4. I always love the bold graphic deign of Metro posters 5. A bit of grit down by the Seine 6. Lock-hunting, seeing if ours still might be there (ha!) 7. Café crème to start the day. Don’t look foolish by asking for café au lait – that’s so 90′s 8.Shakespeare & Co., style-stalking the girl in the mustard tights 9. Marvellous meringues 10. Have you seen this cat? 11. Nice typography 12. Un éclair pistache – soooo good. 13. A couple of silly-faces.
More Parisian adventures:
Check me out! The lovely team at CLEO Malaysia recently got in touch, and asked if I could share a memorable trip for their travel special. Conveniently I had just eaten my weight’s worth in fromages en Français. Other travel junkies featured included the familiar faces of Young – Half Girl, Sarah –Yes and Yes, and Olivia – Make Believe. And I got an introduction to the blogs of Cheesie – Cheeserland, Andrea – Green Tea, and Benita – Purrsie. All these women have FASCINATING and diverse lives – their blogs are great reads!
Thank you CLEO for letting us share; Paris, I miss you…
Food, food and more glorious food at a market in Bastille, Paris. It was very early in the morning (thanks jet-lag) and we got there just as all the vendors were setting up. There was nothing to do but buy a nutella crêpe and perch on a bench waiting for them to open. It was the first time I tried nutella. Or ‘noooo-tella’ as the girl making it said. (As she I couldn’t help but think of Amélie, imagining records being made with a crêpe rake.)
Eventually the market jolted to life, and we bought as much cheese, bread and fruit as we could carry. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the intoxicating scent of fresh yellow pears, stacked high to the stall roof.
Le Refuge des Fondues offers little choice, but a lot of fun. I have wanted to visit this quirky Parisian fondue joint ever since I heard about its choice of wine glass; the humble baby bottle.
We walked in and asked for a table – no problem – we were shown a seat immediately. Then the fun started… I was told to clamber over the table and wedge myself in between the other patrons. Ladies! If you’re in Paris good manners prevail, which means you’ll be seated on the banquette, so wear pants.
Post-acrobatics, the waiter asked for our order. There’s only two choices to make here – red or white wine, cheese or meat fondue? Vin blanc! Fromage! And away we went:
The other diners are merry, the graffiti is coarse, the service is efficiently French, and the food is filling. For 18 euro you’ll receive a baby’s bottle of wine, a fondue to share, a sweet apéritif, and a platter of bar snacks to nibble from.
Do go if you’re in Paris, it is a hilarious dining experience. Be warned though: it’s hotter than the sun in there. Don’t underestimate the power of 30 fondue pots filled with burbling cheese and oil – you may have to seek refuge in more than one baby bottle of wine!
Le Refuge des Fondues
A. 17 rue des Trois-Freres, 75018, Paris, France
Pont de l’Archevêché, on the river Seine. Thousands of lovers have locked their hearts to the bridge – symbolizing unbreakable bonds.
Bonjour! After a car ride, 3 flights, one RER and a metro trip later, I arrived in Paris. All in all it was 28 hours of travel – and that’s doing it fast (just a brief touchdown in Kuala Lumpur).
Photos from: one of the Seine bridges, Port des Champs Elysées, Ladurée and life around the 10e. I think I’m almost fluent in breakfast French! Full reports on this aventure intéressante soon…
Paris Syndrome or Syndrome de Paris is a temporary psychological condition suffered by some visitors to Paris. When great expectations meet the gritty reality of Paris life (e.g. dog poo) severe culture shock can set in.
Most victims are Japanese women their 30s, who after being fed a lifetime of highly romanticized images (Amelie, À bout de souffle, Love in the Afternoon – and other top films to see Paris on the silver screen) cannot not handle the gritty reality of Paris life. As Paris Syndrome affects about 12 Japanese tourists a year, the Japanese embassy has a 24-hour hotline in place and can offer help in case of hospitalization. Discovered by Professor Hiroaki Ota, a Japanese psychiatrist working in France, it is similar to Stendahl syndrome.
As the the BBC said in its discussion of Paris Syndrome, “[m]any of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris [but the] reality can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese – used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger – the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much.”
If you’ve been to Nippon, the Japanese’s romantic vision of Paris will come as no surprise – Tokyo is awash with French brands and pâtisseries – you’ll even spot an Eiffel-inspired lattice tower on the skyline. Viz, my buddy Richard & I near the Tokyo Tower in 2007:
Can you say baby-faced? Anyway, I’m sure I will be in full control of my psyche and expectations when I land at Orly, Paris in just 26 days… but it’s best to be prepared!