Nine days in France

Here’s some actual news — I’m leaving for Paris on Monday morning. I will be spending four days there, then two days in Rennes, then another two days in a town called St, Malo, which is a walled city that used to be a hangout for pirates. Then I’ll return to Paris for the flight home.

Yes, France — the land of romance, art, fabulous scenery, and, of course, food. It’s been a ‘Bucket List’ item of mine since long before there was such a thing as a Bucket List. I’m finally going because my oldest daughter is moving to Rennes for the next three months, in hopes of becoming a permanent resident of France. The reasons for her move, and the process, is another blog post altogether.

The reason for this blog post is two-fold.

First — I love my daughter. She is brilliant and fearless. Her beliefs are not necessarily mine, but they are deeply felt and fiercely defended, leading to some pretty intense conversations—always a good thing. She has a wicked sense of humor and loves wandering around looking at things almost as much as I do. On paper, she’s the perfect travelling companion.

However.

She and I do NOT share the same feelings about…food.

She enjoys good food, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great cook and is a street food aficionado. She’s also a good drinker, which is a plus in my book.

But…and here it comes…she does not necessarily think that eating a good meal can be a religious experience.

And I do.

When it comes to personal entertainment and fulfillment, I happen to think that Dining is one the top five great things you can do with your time. It’s not just the eating; it’s the whole experience. Choosing the restaurant, perusing Yelp reviews, reading and re-reading the menu before making the decision? That could take me hours. Going into a restaurant for the first time and looking around, seeing the other people there, hearing and smelling things for the very first time? It’s like going into a foreign country. And the actual eating? Well, sure, that’s an event, but then—the after-meal-discussion? Why, that can be the rest of the evening.

So, what I’m going to miss, in one of the greatest food cities in the world, is sharing how I feel about the food. So, I thought—hey, isn’t that what social media is all about? Sharing with like-minded people just how amazing that single fork-full really was?

Hence, this blog post, to announce to the entire world (or, whoever is reading this) that I am creating an Instagram account to chronicle my trip. And since you all know what the Eifel Tower looks like, for the sole purpose of this account will be to show you pictures of all of the food I will be eating during this trip.

Food, you say? Yes, food. I realize this is not an original idea. In fact, social media is littered with plates, bowls, cups, etc. filled with food. So why should you even bother looking at my pictures of food?

Because I’m a writer, so I will not only show you what something looks like, I will tell you how it tastes. How it sounds when the teeth make that first contact. How it’s smooth silkiness caresses the tongue, or how the sharp saltiness makes your scalp tingle. There are so many amazing food experiences in a city like Paris, and I am going to seriously try to make you, dear reader, feel like you are right there with me.

Pret-ty clever, right?

Of course, there are already a few glitches. For instance, I recently realized I was gluten intolerant. Totally sucks. Any of you out there who have ever eaten a meal with me will know exactly how much that totally sucks. But my daughter has explained that there is an enzyme used in the pesticide that is sprayed on ALL wheat grown in this country that is the actual cause of all those horrific symptoms, and that in Europe I should not have the same issues. Which, if true, may get me to start thinking about moving there permanently.

There are also budgetary constrictions. Mainly, my daughter has X amount of money to last her the three months, which means she can’t splurge too much. Or at all. Sure, I could pay for both of us, but then I’d have to explain to my husband why we couldn’t pay our American Express bill, and that could get dicey. Consequently, my Paris Pinterest board is 50% ‘where to eat for cheap.’ I think we’ll be fine.

I managed to get an Instagram account set up all by myself. In the process of this setting up, I decided that I take a really crappy Instagram picture. I’m not naturally photogenic, and that iPhone7 camera does not help at all. So, there won’t be any pics of me doing any eating. But I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you all. If you really don’t feel like adding another app to your device, don’t worry. I feel your pain. You don’t need Instagram to see all this goodness; it will show up on my Facebook feed. I think. I hope.

I may experiment before I actually leave, so if you happen to see anything on Instagram from me in the next day or two, it will probably be pictures of my luggage, or maybe piles of the clothes that Pinterest swears I can fit into one carry-on bag and guarantee I will look like a true Parisian, rather than a gauche tourist.

Oh, and that second reason for this blog post? Being a writer, anything I write about is, technically, me doing my job. I can now deduct the whole trip as a business expense

Now, that’s clever!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JenM
    Mar 17, 2017 @ 01:10:18

    Okay, I won’t wax on anymore about St. Malo, but like you, we are total foodies and our meals are usually the highlight of our travel day, so I want to recommend a restaurant in St. Malo to you. We stayed in the Intramuros (the old walled town) and on our first night there, we were tired, it was raining and we didn’t want to go far. I happened to notice a tiny bistro called Bistrot du Rocher just around the corner on 19 Rue de Toulouse, so we decided to pop in there. It was one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time. The place was tiny, with 6 or 7 tables. The manager/waiter spoke just a little English, but it was enough. The meals were written on a chalkboard (there were a couple of appetizers, 5 or so entrees and two desserts). They were in French, but between his small bit of English and Google Translate (an absolute lifesaver in France), we managed to get the gist of the menu. One of the dishes was a John Dory fillet with a mango potato “sauce” that was absolutely sublime. Mango and potato in a sauce doesn’t sound like it would be that good, but I really can’t do it justice with words. The appetizer and dessert were also delicious. Best of all, the price was quite reasonable for the quality of the food. The place is tiny, so I do recommend reservations if possible, but the first night we went there, we dropped in and got lucky.

    Lucky for you, with the exchange rate so low you should be able to have some really great meals for a much more reasonable price than a few years ago! Overall, we loved Brittany and would go back in a heartbeat. I hope your daughter ends up getting residency, as you will then have plenty of excuses to go back. Good for her for chasing her dreams. Now that we’ve visited Europe quite a bit, I wish I’d moved over there when I was younger.

    Reply

  2. JenM
    Mar 17, 2017 @ 00:38:52

    We went to St. Malo last September after seeing a photo of it and falling in love. We absolutely adored it. We stayed there for 5 days, then were scheduled to go on to the Loire Valley, but almost didn’t because we wanted to stay so badly. The tides are just amazing to watch – there’s something like a 30 ft difference between low and high tide so watching them come in and go out is mesmerizing. There are a couple of old forts built off shore for defense that look impenetrable at high tide, whereas at low tide, a causeway is exposed and you can actually stroll right out to the two nearest forts. Plus, the old town is completely walled and you can stroll all the way around it. With just two days there, you probably won’t want to leave but there is an adorable old town called Dinan about 10 miles upriver that has an incredible concentration of original half-timbered tudor houses.

    We heard that Rennes was really nice and had lots of half-timbered houses also, and we had originally planned to go there, but, well, see above LOL, we just couldn’t bear to leave St. Malo.

    Actually, in addition to seeing the photo of St. Malo, the other reason we decided to go to Brittany was because we’ve recently discovered kouign amanns. This is the most incredible pastry in the world and it was invented in Brittany. It’s basically croissant dough, folded over onto itself numerous times, then the top is brushed with butter and sugar and baked until the sugar caramelizes. I cannot describe to you how good these things are. Luckily, we have a local bakery that makes them. If you are finding that the gluten is not bothering you there (I hope not for your sake!) you’ll have to try one out.

    Reply

  3. Jeanine Potter
    Mar 16, 2017 @ 22:19:29

    commenting about your food trip to Paris. I just got back- was visiting family… Am gluten intolerant as well but- I think the way they cook the bread and the ingredients there may be different. If you ask for “une baguette tradition” I did and had no reaction! also, if you find a “BIO” store- you can find gluten free bread: rice, chestnut and quinoa for example. Also, I brought gluten tablets from the US- they do not sell this sort of thing in France- the pharmacy there suggested that I just use more acidopholous tablets. The gluen aid US brand I like is CVS GLUTEN AID – it really works for me- better than GLUTEN CUTTER.

    I liked the fresh markets in my Paris neighborhood Wednesdays and Saturdays- fresh fruit, meats and fish.
    Looking forward to your blog. Enjoy those patisseries, bread and butter and cheese!

    Bon Voyage!

    Reply

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