Monday, March 24, 2008

Eating french fries but dreaming of pizza

My husband and I left Florence for a weekend getaway to Paris for Easter.

I was really excited as I had never been to this famous city before and I was already envisaging my blog that I would write with all my wonderful experiences. But because I've decided this is going to be a very honest blog, I have to say I wasn't that impressed compared to the other wonderful cities Europe has to offer. I'm sorry to offend Paris lovers or Parisians with that statement but it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to...

Sing it people!

Of course I was impressed with the stunning Tour Eiffel, the Louvre museum and Notredame, I don't think you could find anyone that wouldn't be. And I was definetely impressed with the cuisine. I didn't realise the French love their chocolate so much! The pattiseries were the best I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot!) and there were stalls selling fresh hot crepes on every corner - bliss!

We went to one restaurant that a good friend had recommended called Aux marches du Palais. This is a traditional restaurant out of the tourist area (but still very easily accesible by the excellent metro train) which starts serving at 8pm because an hour beforehand is when the staff eat. We were told that this is a traditional Parisian custom whereby staff of restaurants and hotels used to always be served food before their work shift started. This would ensure the staff were well fed and happy and also arrived to work on time. If the staff member did not appear for dinner, then the restaurant would have to pay him extra in his/her salary as this was actually part of their work package. We thought it was a great idea as there is nothing worse than getting an unknowledgable waiter that can't recommend or explain the dishes on their menu. For our meal we ordred entrees of pork terrine which was also served with salami's (I thought I had left Italy!) and ravioli de crab maison. Then my husband ordered a house specialty Gigot de Sept Hueres - lamb that had been cooked for 12 hours in a french traditional way and I ordered duck which was encased in a crepe. Both were fabulous but the best was still yet to come. All who know me know that I live for dessert and this restaurant served a petit pot au chocolat that is easily the best dessert I've ever eaten in my life. It was a pot of pure chocolate heaven and one that will frequently appear in all my best dreams.

But with all our wonderful Paris experiences, we just could not get over how rude the French were. I had read numerous stories and reports referring to their abruptness, but I am not usually one to beleive stereotypes (I have also read the Italians are rude and I completely disagree with this!). But I have to say that for the small handful of people that were polite to us, the majority were very rude from the waiters to even our hotel staff. Sorry to sound snooty, but when I am paying 11 euro's for a glass of lemonade I expect at least a nod from the waiter to acknowledge my presence! To me it seemed that everything was just too hard for them.

One thing that shocked me was seeing a pickpocketer in action, although I know this is a daily occurrence in much of Europe not just Paris. As all us Aussie's know, this would be a rarity to see in our country especially at 2pm in the afternoon, but in Paris no one even took noticed (apart from us standing with our mouths wide open) as a fight broke out between the pick-pocketer and the man whose wallet he stole. Eventually the security men came to the scene and handcuffed the offender. Surprisingly to us, the offender was about 28, quite handsome and very well dressed. It made me hold on to my handbag a little bit tighter after that incident and we decided that we would only ever take one of our wallets out on a day trip and leave the other one behind in the safe.

So, all in all, I'm so grateful for the chance to see this famous city. I'm glad for the chance to see the Mona Lisa, sample real French profiteroles and visit the place where my favourite manicure, the French manicure, is invented. But when the plane landed in Pisa and the Italian custom of passengers clapping started, I turned to my husband and said 'I'm so glad we are home in our wonderful Florence.' It was the first time I had called Florence my home. And when the staff at our apartment greeted us as if we were family members, we fell in love with Florence and the Italians just a little bit more.

1 comment:

katerinafiore said...

Ciao Monika,
I just found your blog thru Sara's. I am coming to Florence once again in April, I will get to meet you at the 19th then!! I loved Paris too, except out hostel that was in the red light district. Eek!
here is my current blog:
a presto