What do the French eat? Large lunches, for sure..and we believe they eat small dinners but at the restaurants we went to that was not the case. We heard rumors about coffee and a croissant for breakfast, but we were so busy noshing through the cereals, fruit, and eggs..and the world’s most lovely yogurt.. served by our 4 star hotels, that we didn’t really notice...
Here is a rather good cappuccino I had in a creperie in Vichy for only 3E. In hotel lobbies they charge 5E, which is interesting as never in Oz have I had a $10 coffee, not even at the Hilton ($4 if you want to compare.) Travel may broaden the mind but it slims the wallet too.
There was a coffee machine in the Vichy laundromat
and people would come in just to get coffee there..at 1E, it was cheaper than the pubs. Coffee/cappuccino from machines was between 80c and 2E, and was pretty good. In the student caff we got tiny cups of strong black stuff that had no milk and would have made good spark plug cleaner. (IMHO!)
Cappucino/cafe au lait (the smaller pubs don’t know about cappucinos yet…) was 2E in a small pub in Lyons, 4E in Paris restaurants. It’s cheaper to make your own in your room with a little boiler. Not all hotels have tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms.
Water (tap) was served with every meal and wine was everywhere. Kir was the fashionable aperitif..white wine with blackberry juice, I was told. I saw no Australian wine anywhere, even in a Paris bottle shop (OK, I only looked in one!) Even cheap wine was not cheap. (26E a bottle from Cotes de Rhone, the low end of the white scale)
STUDENT FOOD (a la caff)
Student food is an experience all its own, especially to those used to un petit sandwich at lunch for years. Being at CAVILAM ( the Vichy language center) and having realised that a 20E meal just blew $50, we learnt quickly to tuck into the prepaid college fare. And what fare. Some of the stuff was….er…interesting.
This is carrot day, where we got not one but two serves of them…cooked differently, of course..grated, or boiled.
Here is French pasta. Definitely the land of cheese.
Now, I know we usually translate ‘meat pie’ into ‘pate au croute’, but this pate au croute is NOT a meat pie. Back to the dictionary…
The college very kindly put on food tastings so we got to know our way around the typical fare of the Auvergne region;
the marvellously fattening rillettes..pork shreds in pork fat, oh yummy..
and, for some reason, Smiths Crisps, which go over well in France.
Here we see Edouard, a kindly ‘animateur’ which means ‘organiser’. We sang him a song later on..it’s in ‘songs’ (when I put it up)
The whiteboard shows the actual food served.
Wine barrels do get empty, eventually…
And here are just a few more pics…
Frogs’ legs..only 10E at Le Lutece. How many froggies died to serve that one up? Yes, they do taste like chicken. In fact chicken wings would make a pretty good substitute.
A cheap pizza at Pat a Pain. This is an el cheapo fast food chain where for 5E you get a hot choc or can of drink, and paper plates with your pizza piece. Ah, we aren’t blowing the budget tonight!
In Vichy there was a fabulous Moroccan place that served huge amounts of lamb and rice, all cooked in a special steamer, for 20E, and the experience was worth it just for the look of the place…(It’s up by the railway station if you want to look around)
FRANCE AND VEGETARIANS
If you are a vegan and you don’t eat cheese or fish, take along some lentils or similar or you may starve to death. Attitudes varied differently. At one lunch, our vegans were served green beans…one plateful. That was it. At a restaurant just up from the Moulin Rouge (‘Le Restaurant’ in fact) the proprietor tried to serve our ladies fish, watched as they recoiled in horror, and then promised them extra potato to make it up. Then she ran out before she could give them any more.
I am sure there are some vegan-compatible places in Paris, but we didn’t find them on that trip. At a resto near Bourges (?) they did get lucky, and had a wonderful melange of beans, asparagus, potato, etc, which gave them great happiness.
Now that is all I am going to put up for food. Of course there is more!! If you want a specific shot ask me (use ‘comments’) If other folk drop by this site and see that request, they may be able to supply a pic, so make sure your e is accurate. (but put in some bracketed guff or you will be spammed to death)
My food shots cover; resto fare, interiors of restos, all fairly standard stuff.