Frantic Fred's Travel Tips: France
by Miles O'Neal, Jetlag, Ltd.
Returning home will be boring - when you order food
here, you will know what you are getting! If you are not
the adventurous type, and you aren't sure, ask! Otherwise
you may get some truly nasty surprises.
The food in Paris is generally more expensive than what you
are used to. It is probably also better than what you are
used to, barring good home-cooking. Restaurants seem to
all post their menus outside, so you have some idea what you
are getting into before you enter.
Paris has restaurants everywhere. There is probably one in
the Arc D'Triomphe; I never went up the elevator, so I
can't be sure. (Some restaurant bathrooms have restaurants,
which in terms have bathrooms, and if you aren't careful,
you'll go deeper and deeper and never get out!)
Try the Champs D'Elysees for a wide assortment
of types of food. Try to find the
(near the Concord and Palais-Royal Metro stations, around the
corner from the US embassy - be very polite to the
French cop there with the assault rifle).
Avoid McDonalds and Burger King. If you must have a
fast food fix, try a Quick. They are a French (or
perhaps Belgian, I've been told both) chain, and
have excellent food. The french fries, naturally, will be
good no matter where you order them in France.
Where's the (cooked) beef?
The Parisiennes have a hatred of cooked beef. To them, well
done is roughly equivalent to the US concept of medium rare.
If you try hard, you may get them to burn it to a crisp, but
that seems to be the only alternative. Either enjoy it red,
prepare for charcoal, or order something else.
They also like their eggs, and not for breakfast. Many
dishes will come ``with egg'' (``avec ouef'') on top by
default. If you don't want the egg, order ``pas ouef''
(``feed the stupid egg to a dog!'') When I got tired,
I started ordering everything ``pas ouef'', just to be safe,
which earned me some laughter (and the odd strange look)
when something wouldn't have come with an egg. This worked
fine until I got so tired I confused ``avec'' with ``pas''.
Of course, this occured at the one restaurant that wouldn't
have put an egg on my burger! Many pizzas even include an
egg by default.
Having by now realized how different the French palette is
from the ISO USA palette, you will not be surprised that
their preferences for vegetables (``legumes'') differs as
well. For instance, artichokes are extremely common - even
on pizzas. They also do something wonderful with beets (which
I generally loathe at home).
``Eau'' (``water'') is almost always mineral water. If you don't
want it carbonated (often the default), order it "pas gas"
("no bubbles", not "pass gas"). Only the Italians drink more
wine with their meals than the French. The IBM cafeteria even
serves wine (and beer). Coca-Cola is the same
thing you love or loathe here, except that the European
truth-in-advertising laws seem to work better than ours -
the can will say "soda of vegetable extract" (which gave me
visions of artichokes and beets). It's nearly
always Classic Coke, but occasionally only New (Deproved)
Coke will be available.
The French know how to make coffee. It's strong, and it's
good. For instance, the coffee in the machines at IBM in the
Tour Descartes (La Defense, Paris) is better
than the coffee in most restaurants in the USA. Expect to
get a smaller serving, but there will be plenty of caffeine.
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[ It's in the Cards ]
[ Work ]
[ Sights ]
[ Leaving France ]
Last Update: 01 Oct 2002
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