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Canadians have a special relationship with France since French is our second language and Canadians make up a great proportion of people traveling to France to work, to visit or to live. For me, it is one of the deep attachments I feel for Europe. I have been there countless of times and I’ve lived in a French world until only a year ago. But I’ll be back and my understanding of the language allows me to blend in more easily once I’m there.
I’m attracted by their history, their music, their art and their way of life, including their food. I have visited some of the most reputable eateries in many French cities, from Paris, to Lyons, Sarlat, Bordeaux, Tours, Albi and Auxerre. I’ve purchased various mustards in Dijon, Croissants and tarte tatin in Culoz, Cahors and even Bergerac. Cassoulet in Carcassonne, that baked bean and meat dish to make your mouth water. The wines of Bordeaux or the Rhone often grace my table and, recently, I discovered a recent French-Canadian invention in the center of Paris.
I am referring to a mixture of fries, meat sauce and cheese, heated and served as a meal or a side dish. The invention is called poutine. It is fat, greasy and probably not for everyone. But it is catching on. It tastes better than it looks. It took French Canada by storm and now it’s sneaking into France.
There are North African restaurants on the left bank, Chinese, Japanese, Argentinian, Vietnamese, regional French and traditional. There is something for every taste at every price, in fancy surroundings or on street kiosques. One never goes hungry in Paris. You can find Moroccan dishes, British and Spanish too.
Ethnic Bakery Pastry Shop Paris
Kosher Butcher Kosher Butcher Bordeaux
Jewish Quarter French Staff of Life
The above are local restaurants and low priced eateries. But there are many places where food is king but prices are high. I want to point out two that I recommend. LA Tour D’Argent is very expensive but perfect for a celebration, or special event. It is located next to the Seine at 15 Quai de la Tournelle. It is 5 stars and worth every Euro.
The other top eatery is an institution in the 6th Arrondissement at 13 Rue Ancienne Comedie and dates back to 1686… Yes, 1686. It’s called Café Procope and you can splurge on tete de veau or crepes flambées au Grand Marnier. Even the décor is worth the effort. It’s open daily but reservations are necessary. If it was good enough for Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau, you can’t go wrong.
For a drink and burger, try Harry’s Bar and American Grill just a stone’s throw from the Garnier Opera.
THIS AFTERTHOUGHT HAS NO CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE ARTICLE BUT IT IS ADDED HERE TO COMMEMORATE A HUNDRED YEARS OF MEMORY.
This is a momentous week. Exactly 100 years ago the White Star Line Titanic set sail Via Cherbourg on France’s North West Coast, filled with over 2000 passengers from many countries, including France. It reached about 350 miles from the coast of Newfoundland where it hit an ice berg. 1,514 people died and only 705 survived. This 45,000 ton liner was 882.5 feet long and 92.5 feet wide. There were almost 900 crew. It can never be forgotten and many of the passengers were French people whose ancestors and family had to alter their entire lives as they could never forget this incredible tragedy. The 15th of April must have haunted them for ever.
I feel that we should all pay homage to that great tragedy on this anniversary day. Think of the chance that this could happen and think too of the 12 lifeboats that were not added to the ship’s maiden voyage as the company thought it detracted from the appearance of the sleek liner. Twelve more lifeboats might have saved almost 500 more people.
Let us remember…
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