Paris – Been there

Paris, the city of love. Of food.

A couple embrace in Le Progrès on Rue des Trois Frères in Montmartre, a neighborhood bar that retains its old fashioned charm despite being in an area so popular with tourists. The French have genes inherited from the Celts, the Basques, the Romans, the Franks and the Normands (originally from Denmark), as well as a wave of more recent immigration from former colonies in Africa and Indochina, producing a wide diversity in appearance.

Photo by Scott Hortop / Alamy

Paris – Been there

Paris, the city of love. Of food.

Paris. Why do I love it as much as I do, why do all these cliched images seem so fresh every time? There are the museums, the history, the apartment buildings and the air of romance encouraged by countless books and films. But central to every Paris experience, both for visitors and the Parisians themselves, is food.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

Everywhere I look, in every arrondissement, there are cafés and restaurants,  butchers and bakers, fruit sellers and chocolate shops. The city has its grand buildings and monuments, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, but the real contribution of Paris to the world may be an exquisitely perfect display of handmade chocolates in the window of an anonymous shop. This is a city that loves food and any city that loves food, loves life.

Early mornings in Paris are wonderful. I feel I have the city to myself. It’s not true, of course. While the boulevards keep most of the traffic away from its back streets, there is plenty of life around. A police siren hee-haws in the distance. The tires of a Citroen delivery van rumble down a cobbled street where the rounded stones gleam like tortoise shells in the wet. It pulls up to offload blood-rich carcasses for a butcher. And a pile of fruit and vegetables makes its way to a grocer as its roller blinds go up, boxes stacked on the two-wheeled carts called “un diable” – a devil. Where does all this produce come from to feed the stirring city?

Shopping in a neighborhood delicatessen, a word that comes originally from the French...

Shopping in a neighborhood delicatessen, a word that comes originally from the French “délicatesse”, or “delicious things (to eat)”. Worth more than $16.1 billion in 2011, exports from France’s agricultural sector are second only to aeronautics in the country’s trade balance, with wine, beer and water being the largest percentage. Photo by Frans Lemmens

Frans Lemmens

Frans Lemmens

Canon 1Ds

Aperture
ƒ/4
Exposure
1/30
ISO
800
Focal
24 mm

Shopping in a neighborhood delicatessen, a word that comes originally from the French “délicatesse”, or “delicious things (to eat)”. Worth more than $16.1 billion in 2011, exports from France’s agricultural sector are second only to aeronautics in the country’s trade balance, with wine, beer and water being the largest percentage.