Ah Paris; the City of Light, the city for lovers, the city of gastronomic delight. Just watch Julie and Julia or almost any late night Food Network show and you’ll be inspired to tour the epicurean capital of the world.
Trouble is, the food sucks.
Even though we were completely immersed in the city, seeing all the big-ticket sites and the smaller, backstreet delights we ate some of the lamest grub in all my years of traveling. Yes, we tried the snails and yes, we ate at places other than those tourist restaurants that serve Coke and croissants. To say it’s over-rated, is to say Marcel Marceau is kind of quiet.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have a lovely, memorable meal but I got it from a street vendor selling crepes. I noticed he was frying up something over in the corner, known in some circles as sausage.
“Pardonez-moi, je voudrais le saucisson avec de frommage a mon crepe?”
Loosely translated that means “Dude, throw that sausage and cheese on my pancake.”
Yes, I risk being labeled an Ugly American, but heck, even their french fries sounding tres chic as pomme frittes weren’t anything to write maison about. The funniest line of the trip came from my daughter Taylor who after ordering eggs and being denied a side dish asked, “So really, is there legit no toast in this country?”
Anyone in this town ever hear of french toast?
No, we honestly weren’t looking for french fries, french toast, french dip, french onion soup or even a french kiss. We only wanted to experience the culinary delights we’d been hearing about for years. I ate my way through Italy so I was expecting at least a five pound weight gain.
Unfortunately, I returned home with a net loss.
In no particular order, some of the lackluster meals we partook in included:
- The celebrated coq au vin which was mushy and bland.
- The rosemary chicken with roasted potatoes tasted like Costco chicken they forgot to season along with potatoes they boiled for an hour too long.
- French onion soup over and over again tasted lifeless.
- And raclette cheese and potatoes sent a grown man in our party back to the hotel with stomach pains and took him out of commission the next day.
I was never one to jump on the French-bashing bandwagon. We’ve all heard the stories about snotty waiters and smokey cafes and dogs wearing berets. Honestly, we didn’t find a prevalence of those things. The sites of the city were amazing and we got a tremendous glance into their history. It was fascinating to see their perspective of the three wars they fought with Germany from 1870 through 1944. In one museum they took great pains to say their people didn’t just roll over and give in to the Nazis. They tell about the huge number of Germans who died during the invasion and how much of the Aryan war machine was destroyed.
Regardless of their history, all eight people in our party unanimously agreed we preferred London 1,500% over Paris.
I use 1,500 for a reason. It’s approximately the amount, in Pounds and Euros, that was removed from our locked and coded hotel safe while we were out enjoying the fine food of France.
Am I bitter? Okay, maybe. Was I expecting a hunchback, talking candlesticks, and Amelie? Okay, maybe.
Am I glad we went? Okay …