|Christmas carousel on the Place du Trocadéro next to the Eiffel Tower|
We're back from 10-plus days in Paris and are already planning a trip for 2015. Friends ask "Why do you continue to go back to a place you have visited so many times?"
Many reasons, really. In a foreign country, no matter what it is, you will always find something new to love and appreciate no matter how many times you visit. We enjoy revisiting favorite experiences like people watching at the George V hotel or visiting the Christmas markets. But we also enjoy discovering new places, like we did on our visit to Château de Fountainebleu.
Regardless, there are some things I distinctly noticed on this trip. Here are my most recent observations. Please tell me what you think in the comments section.
Better Kids Meals
We took our daughter, Jordan, with us for the third straight year. This was the first time she was able to eat pretty much what we did. At many restaurants, there are kid's menus but they're nothing like we have in the States. There isn't a chicken finger or mini pizza to be found. Most kid's menus consist of a steak or hamburger patty and potatoes, guinea fowl (offered everywhere), fish and vegetables or sausage and potatoes.
|Jordan eating her steak and potatoes at Restaurant Astier|
Jordan, who is going through the fussy eater phase, usually ate the steak and potatoes after filling up on a ton of bread. Interestingly, by the end of the trip she was much more interested in trying what we were eating. I had an epic seafood tower at Bar a Huitres on our last night. She wanted to try my clams as well as my husband's fish soup. I guess there is something to be said about French kids eating everything (I love the book, btw).
It's Not All Three-Course Gourmet Lunches And WineDon't be fooled that every French meal is a three course feast with wine. Parisians will eat a grab and go meal faster than you can break a baguette. Because of that, I think there's a real need for more fast-casual spots in Paris.
Pret-A-Manger, there were at least 50 people in line to buy a quick sandwich or soup. At the Monop', something akin to an upscale grocery store, the lunch line was at least 25 people deep.
|This was at our local grocery store.|
Other things I saw: diet food and the French version of DIY Mexican food, Old El Paso. I swear I could make a fortune opening up a Tex-Mex joint in Paris.
French Formality is NOT RudenessI have blogged about this before but the French get a bad rap for being rude. They are polite and expect more of the same. In the half a dozen times I have been there, on trips of 10 days or more, I have only encountered one rude waiter. One. That's it. For the most part, everyone has been cordial, warm and downright fun. Flirtatious, even.
A simple 'bonjour', 'au revoir', 'merci' and 's'il vous plait' go a long way. Take it a step further and practice your high school French. You will be rewarded with an impromptu French lesson and perhaps a new friend. Every time I spoke (really bad) French, it was appreciated and complimented.
They want politeness, manners and....
Dressing Up Still CountsDespite how much more casual we seem to be getting as a society, people still dress well in Paris. Tennis shoes are a dead tourist giveaway. I wore Cole Haan and Alexander Wang booties with black denim jeans all over the city and felt fine.
I had an in-depth conversation about this with an Air France flight attendant. Her point was clear: their city is beautiful. They are a formal country and expect our appearance to reflect that. That is just one woman's opinion but her point is well-taken.
Interestingly, I didn't see a lot of makeup. I noticed more women sporting a natural face, not the done-up face I usually wear and see in Texas.
Et Finalement, Everyone Smokes.
Yep, they still do. I saw a few e-cigarettes. They might be slowly catching on but the classic Marlborough Light still rules.
What Do You Think?
Despite what any cynic says, Paris is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Being there is an inspiration. While the country is overwrought with exorbitant taxes and bureaucratic red tape, it's a magical place.
What do you think? Am I totally off or spot-on? What have you noticed in your travels abroad? Please share in the comments section!
|Le Village Royal, Paris|
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