2014 Fall CIEE Danielle Hagerty External Programs France

Bon Appétit!

Everyone who travels knows that one of the best things about visiting new places is getting to try new food. Big cities especially have a large selection of restaurants that not only represents the national cuisine but also food from around the world. I have found many different restaurants in Philly that take me to a different place the moment I step inside. Paris, of course, is a whole other world.

My experience with food has been an interesting one so far. I am a vegetarian and also lactose intolerant, two pretty terrible things to be when living in Paris. I decided before my trip that I would be more lax when it came to trying meals containing meat or dairy so I wouldn’t be holding myself back from trying new things, but it’s been a bit difficult since I really don’t like meat and dairy makes me feel sick. When it comes to home cooking, I’m super lucky because I have the best host mom in the world who takes my dietary needs into consideration. In general, I’ve been able to avoid the two without missing out.

AMAZING gelato on Montmatre (that I couldn’t eat- my friends got some!)

First, let’s talk about…. Bread. I know that I’ve exhausted this subject already, but humor me. I’ve always been a bread lover, but coming to Paris has turned my crush into a full-blown love affair. There are boulangeries on every street with breads of different sizes and colors, ranging from long, pale yellow baguettes, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, to grainy-brown rectangular loaves with nuts sprinkled on the top. Every meal here is served with some form of bread, and it’s always my favorite part. I buy it almost daily; there have been two life-altering experiences when I bought a baguette that happened to be fresh out of the oven and took a bite right in the store. Oh. Mon. Dieu. The bread here is so good that I never put anything on top of it.  I honestly don’t know what I will do without French bread when I return to America.

We all know what my favorite part about this meal was! (Hint: it’s to the right of the picture)

Of course, I have been eating other things since I’ve been here. Another incredible food experience that I’ve had in Paris involved the Marais and a falafel. There are many places that you can buy a falafel sandwich in the Marais, but only one place where you can buy the best: L’as Du Fallafel. Oh la la la la. Every time I’ve passed this place, there has always been a huge line. A couple weeks ago, my friend Lexi and I decided to to go and get one. It was about a 20 minute wait. I wasn’t super hungry so I didn’t expect to eat the whole thing, but that premonition vanished into thin air after my first bite. Lexi and I just kind of looked at each other and kept eating, literally stunned into silence over how good it was. If you’re ever in Paris, I highly recommend that you 1. go to the Eiffel Tower at night and 2. spend eight euros in the Marais to have the best falafel of your life.

photo 1
This sandwich lasted about 8 minutes, tops.
photo 2
L’as Du Fallafel: best place to get a falafel in Paris.

There have been other incredible eating experiences that I’ve had here in Paris, such as the amazing meals cooked for me by my host mom, the Bordeaux that is mere miles away from its original source and drunk at many meals, the many hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants discovered by my friends and me, the fresh produce bought at little side markets on the streets, and, of course, the countless cafés everywhere you look. There are many things I miss about the states, but food, at least thus far, isn’t one of them.

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