In a word association test pertaining to France, people will likely come up with answers such as Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Tour de France. However, I had the opportunity to visit France with my family three years ago and the words I associate when thinking of it would be bread, croissant, gelato, and crepes.
Our first night in Paris had me sniffing out a French bakery which still had warm baguettes at 6 o’clock in the evening. Voila….discovered. I slithered my way to the counter and ordered 3 golden brown baguettes. One for me and two for everyone else to share. Since we were staying in an apartment and figured that by the time my mom understood the the new appliances, prepared and cooked dinner, and had a glass of French wine, I would have time to relish in my newly acquired baguette and the wondrously soft and spreadable camembert that was left for us as a gift by our host. My first day in France and I didn’t know if it could get any better.
Sunrise gets an active family up for a jog around a new city. If there was one bakery open last night, there must be more in the morning, and stepping out onto the cobblestone sidewalk I could not have been more correct. I could smell it! Running was fine, but the thought of a fresh, buttery croissant made me run just a little bit faster (to the bakery). My sister, who is the one non-athletic one in the family requested that I bring her a flakey croissant so she could sleep in just a bit longer. This request seemed simple enough, however, the time span between purchasing our croissants and arriving back at the apartment was just enough time to consume an extra croissant – which belonged to my sister. Not exactly the best move on my part and I paid for it by having to endure my sister’s pessimistic attitude for the entire day. Bread and croissants, can it get any better?
Lunch! Those bakers are clever people. What they do not sell for breakfast, they make into sandwiches for lunch. And then the gelato! If you ever tasted a true European gelato, you know why I would be excited. I opted for the tiramisu which was an amazing, mouth satisfying experience. After several stops between Paris and Provence we arrived in the city of Aix en Provence. The Cours Mirabeau is an active area for both locals and tourists alike. Flanked by shops and cafes, one could wander down the straight away or get lost meandering through the back streets and alleys. Not unlike Paris, the cafes and restaurants were plentiful, as were the gelato carts!
One place that stood out for me in Aix was an underground creperie. Hidden beneath the lively street very close to the Apple Store was a literal “hole in the wall” walk-up, where, for a mere 3 or 4 euros, you can indulge in a sweet or savory, made right in front of you, crepe. Fancy it was not, but once discovered, I managed to eat lunch there for our 4 day stay in Aix.
It was disappointing returning to states to discover that breakfast culture had not changed and people continued to eat cereal for breakfast. Although my body was probably thanking me for not consuming any more carb and fat filled pastries for meals, I did not regret indulging in those unique, European pastries which can only be experienced outside of America.
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