I Ate That In France

What can I say? My travels revolve around food. I like to eat well and any chance for a ‘quick break’ is an opportunity to sample a new dish. My first trip to Paris was no different. When I wasn’t busy trying to cover a gazillion attractions a day (the way only an eager first timer to Paris can), I was looking over the menus and plotting my next feast!

Crepes at Chez Eugene, France - Flickr CC by chrissy575 Photo by Christine Zenino

Steak frites

I know this sounds like such a North American dish to get. What? You went to France and all you had were steak and fries? Well, yes, but the French sure know how to make a mean steak, plus my fries were garnished with herbs and garlic! I couldn’t stop gobbling them! Steak frites was listed on the menu at almost every cafe and restaurant I encountered, so it must be French, right? Either way, it was a nice meal after a day spent wandering the Louvre.

Pommes de terre au four avec ratatouille

So there was this one restaurant called Patati Patata near Place de la Bastille that I managed to visit on more than one occasion during my first visit to Paris. (Thank you dear locals who know where the good food is hiding.) Picture baked potatoes with every possible topping under the sun – ham, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, sour cream, ratatouille. I went for the ratatouille: a vegetable stew consisting of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, and a myriad of spices. And then I went back for seconds. It’s the kind of place that could never go out of business. No embarrassing lost in translation moments with the cafe owners here.

Baguette avec brie et saucisson

This is what every tourist on a budget envisions as a truly French meal, and yes, it makes a perfect picnic lunch. Buy yourself a freshly baked baguette from the little boulangerie around the corner, stop at the grocery to pick up some saucisson and brie cheese, and maybe also a bottle of red wine while you’re at it because at 2 Euros it’s the best bargain you’ve seen all day. Then find yourself a relaxing little patch of grass in the city, perhaps at the Jardin des Tuileries, or head straight for the Champ de Mars if you’re looking for that iconic view with the Eiffel Tower in the background, et voila! Enjoy your meal.

Crêpes avec nutella

I may have developed a slight addiction to crêpes. It seems like I couldn’t walk more than a few streets before bumping into yet another stand whose intoxicating aromas I was too weak to fight. Even when I did stop for a little break at a cafe (with waiters dressed in a nautical theme…) I chose to order the same dish. Just keep feeding me crêpes, boys. Sure, there were plenty of things that looked just as appetizing on the menu, but crêpes AND nutella – that’s the winning combo!

Pâtisseries

And when I wasn’t stuffing myself with the afore mentioned goodness, I was stuffing my face with pastries, what else? Have you seen the window displays they have in France? I don’t just mean croissant and pain au chocolat, they had profiterole (which are just like cream puffs), mille-feuille (literally ‘thousand sheets’ which is amazing when there’s whipped cream and fruits between the layers), and croissant amande (which lucky for me I can even find here in Korea!) Now that I think about it, it’s not wonder that I didn’t try more ‘real dishes’ when I was so busy stopping at multiple bakeries throughout the day… Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

I know this isn’t the most ‘French’ sampling of food out there. I mean, I didn’t even go near the escargot or the pâté de foie gras – then again, would I really want to eat the liver of a force fed goose? I like to think these dishes were a nice little introduction to the country, even if they don’t seem that adventurous. Sometimes you just have to stick with a good thing.

20 Comments

  • I say that if you aren’t turning your trips into foodcations, then you are doing something wrong! And clearly France is one of the best places to shove things in your face, though the last time I was there, I actually self-catered the whole time as I couldn’t get enough of their bread and cheese! I picnicked for a week and it wasn’t enough… next time I’ll have to actually have a few “real” meals! 😉
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Hong Kong: First ImpressionsMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Exactly! Foodcations are the way to go. 😉 I ate baguette sandwiches for almost a whole week and I never got tired. France knows how to do it right in the food department.

  • Steak frites is actually a quintessential Parisian dish… so good job on that one! And um… what can I say about Nutella? I have it every morning and am kind of obsessed.
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..My European To-Travel ListMy Profile

  • Edna says:

    I have a list of places to visit and things to eat for every person that comes to visit me in Paris, and steak & frites and crepes are certainly on the top of that list! The others are also a croque madame, and macarons (from Pierre Herme, of course). A €3 bottle of my favorite Beaujolais and chevre from a local fromagerie usually finishes off the list!
    Edna recently posted..English vacations and a Paris staycationMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Ugh, I missed out on the croque madame! I just googled some food images, and man am I hungry! I’m plotting to recreate that in my miniature kitchen…

  • Zhu says:

    Nutella is a staple food in France! Strangely though, I’m not addicted to it. I like savoury snacks best, such as quiches and savoury pies, panini, etc. Pastries… oh, I love them, also I like viennoiseries (croissants, pains au chocolat, chaussons, etc.) better than elaborate cakes.

    Hungry now!
    Zhu recently posted..Baby Shopping: From “Aww So Cute” To “What On Earth Is That?”My Profile

  • Ahhh France, the food is rich and glorious! When we go we sometimes love to keep it simple, just get a fresh white baguette, some strong soft cheese, red and sweet cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced flavoursome jamon and a bottle of rose. Picnic?
    Tom @ Active Backpacker recently posted..The Time I Met A Neo-Nazi Camping In SpainMy Profile

  • Amanda @ Farsickness says:

    I really, really like the liver of a force fed goose. Does this make me a bad person?!? 😉

    The food in France was amazing. They managed to make something as simple as a ham sandwich taste better than it does anywhere else.
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted..Flashback Friday: Spending Holidays AbroadMy Profile

  • Rika @ Cubicle Throwdown says:

    Ooooooh…I haven’t been to France but the food makes me swoon! I would kill for a nutella crepe right now!
    Rika @ Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..Tweet tweet!My Profile

  • Maria says:

    ugh! Should have eaten BEFORE I read this. *laugh*

    When I was in Paris I found a lot of small cafe/deli type venues that sold a panini type of sandwich – I was there in March, it was often cold and the hot ‘sandwich’ that I could easily afford a few and tuck in my pack for later meals, became my mainstay for the trip.
    Maria recently posted..21 Linear FeetMy Profile

  • Margyle says:

    I could definitely go for some more French food. I was at a resort in Jamaica and while I can hardly call it authentic, just eating at a particular French-themed restaurant had me longing for the real thing. You’re living the dream!
    Margyle recently posted..The Top Four Lamest Souvenirs You Can Buy For Someone ElseMy Profile

  • Hannah Margaret says:

    I’ve eaten at Chez Eugene! My favorite French food is simply bread and cheese, topped off with wine. It’s the best and cheapest. My absolute fave. Oh, and croissants of course.
    Hannah Margaret recently posted..I can tell you a thing or two about Paris [Part I]My Profile

  • Colleen Brynn says:

    I’m loving all these France posts popping up lately… any particular reason? Feeling travel nostalgia? I’ve been feeling it lately for Madrid… and that list could go on but I will stop there.
    Hope you are doing great! x
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Wham, BamMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I still have so many stories and photos from Europe (and a whole bunch of other places) that I still haven’t gotten around to yet. My posts aren’t always chronological in that sense, haha. 🙂

  • Ceri says:

    This is exactly why I gain weight every time I visit France. God help me if I were to ever move to Italy: All that pasta, pizza, gelato, wine… mmmmmmmm.

  • Kristina says:

    I recently moved to France so I know exactly what you mean. I get tempted all the time! 🙂 It’s just amazing how many simple things on the plate can taste so delicious. Going to the restaurant in this country is like having new experiences all over again even with a similar dish. I’ve started to cook some of French traditional dishes at home, but still lots to learn.

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