Paris, France

It’s been a while since I really wrote anything substantial on here, mostly due to the fact that I’ve been pretty busy since coming back from my Eurotrip a month ago so I’m glad I can find some time in the early wee hours of the morning to start writing this. A lot of exciting things are starting to happen because of this blog that I would have never expected 7 months ago, so I can’t wait to share that with you all a little bit later!

But now back to business! Going to Europe has always been a life long dream of mine and it finally happened a month ago when I went backpacking across six cities and 3 countries in Europe for a span of two weeks. My first stop was Paris, France and as you could imagine I could not wait to experience the Parisian lifestyle that was waiting for me in terms of their food.

As I only had 2 weeks to cover 6 different cities, time was not on my side and unfortunately I was only able to fit 3 days in Paris. Everyday was extremely exhausting from all the walking and sight seeing so whenever me and my friend had a chance to sit down and eat some food it was always received with a hungry stomach.

I lived in an apartment that I rented out on airbnb (best decision ever!) that was about 25 minutes away from the city centre and right below my apartment was a small bakery that I would visit every morning to buy some fresh pastries. People always say that the Parisians do it right when it comes to their croissants, breads, and various other baked goods and I couldn’t agree more. From the crisp, flaky textures, to the fresh fruits and fillings, I did not eat one pastry I did not like. Most of the pastries cost around 1.25 to 2.00 Euros so it’s certainly one of the most affordable ways to eat in this city considering how expensive everything else is here.

I managed to also visit a few staples in Paris when it comes to patisseries (Eric Kayser) and macarons (Pierre Herme).

One thing that I was not used to when eating out in Paris (and Europe in general) is that they do not serve tap water like second nature as it is here in North America. Be prepared to spend around 2 to 3 Euros for a bottle of water to share with your table and for someone like me who can drink around 3 glasses of water alone during dinner, drinking water in Paris does not come cheap. Although in their defense most Parisians will order a glass of wine instead that costs only a little bit more.

I remember asking a waitress for water in Zurich, Switzerland and she replied with “still or natural?” I paused and replied back with “tap.” She looked shocked and almost dumbfounded when she heard that as if I said something atrocious. After that I realized that it was not the norm in Europe to order tap water and sucked it up later on and got bottled water instead. Don’t get me wrong though, if you ask for tap water you will probably still get it (for free) but you will most likely get a side of stink eye with it.

Also, from my experience in eating out in Paris (and again in Europe in general), tip is included in your bill. Unlike here in Canada where you pay around a 15% tip on top of your bill, the amount written on your receipt in Europe is the exact amount you need to shell out. Of course if you find the food or service to be exceptional you can always give an extra Euro or two. Me and my friend didn’t know this at first so we would tip like Canadians in Paris. We would always wonder why the body language of the waiter collecting the money would go from a grin to a gigantic smile, and now we know why. They are not used to getting an extra 10 to 15%! Luckily we realized this pretty early on in our trip and only tipped a couple of Euros max if we did.

The stand out dishes for me pictured above was the chicken with foie gras with mashed potatoes (pictured 2nd), savoury crepe with a sunny side up egg (pictured 4th), escargot (pictured 7th), honey & caramel glazed ribs (pictured 9th), and the duck skewer with a baked potato (pictured 10th).

The worst dish I had above was the “steak” (pictured 6th). I should have also known better as I was warned that the restaurants close to the Eiffel Tower was not the best, but because my friend and I were so exhausted that night we settled for a restaurant about 5 minutes away from it. Bad decision as it was one of the worst meals of the entire trip. The restaurant was called Le Champ de Mars. Please avoid.

I came into Paris with exceptionally high expectations and the lesson I learned is don’t. I had an idea that everything I would eat in Paris would be nothing short of amazing because no one ever says the food in Paris is bad, but realistically you will have some fantastic tasting dishes and you are also bound to have some mediocre and bad ones as well. You may even have a thought in your head thinking I’ve had better in Canada. To make the best out of your foodie experience in Paris, I would recommend to plan ahead and research the restaurants ahead of time. If you’re in a time constraint like I was, I know that is not always possible so just be realistic that no city is immune to a lackluster steak or an inedible pasta (even if it’s in the motherland of Italy which I will post about later). City of Lights - I will be back!