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.
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?