Unlike London, I had several expectations for my first trip to Paris. Many of them are no longer possible, but I did have a few snapshots in mind, including spreading pate onto a baguette at one of the millions of cafe tables along a busy Paris street. That didn’t happen either. As a college student visiting Paris in a group of six or seven, you are very limited in what you can eat, do, and see. While we definitely saw pretty much every monumental sight in Paris, I definitely did not eat the way I wanted to eat, and I am still getting used to that. Example: Our first dinner was at “The Carousel” (not even in French), that seemed more like a coffee shop than a restaurant and whose menu came in several languages…even Japanese.
I really did try to keep my nose out of the air and out of my food, but my friends could feel my disappointment. Living and traveling with so many acquaintances has reiterated a few things I already know, like that I am terribly unfit and that I have a very unique relationship with food that can be exhausting and ridiculous at times. I know this.
But a positive about this relationship is the satisfaction that comes from those moments I do find a great bite, something that can actually make a trip for me. Thankfully, I had two of these in Paris.
After stopping by the Eiffel and Les Invalides, my friends’ itinerary took us to Rue Cler, one of the best food market streets in Paris. Suddenly my eyes lit up at cheese shops, patisseries, and boulangeries. I know zero French, so all I could do was jut my finger at the baguette that I wanted. While I don’t think smoked salmon is particularly French in any way, it was the most gorgeous baguette in the case. As I sat at a tiny table in the sun on Rue Cler, I bit into my salmon baguette topped with aoili, roasted tomatoes, and lettuce and remembered once again why I am exactly the way I am.
I can’t conclude this post without admitting something. I found Laduree in Paris, took a bunch of pics of its mint green exterior, and embarrassingly ordered only two macaroons (one lemon and one orange blossom at 1.50 Euro a pop). As I tried taking photos of my little macaroons and balancing them on my knee on a bench outside, I dropped one. And I picked it right back up of the Parisian street and ate it! At that price, I have no regrets, and I guess I will always have the grime and grace of Paris with me.