Bon Appetit et Bon Voyage

Paris, France
Mandi Nyambi

PARIS, France—I can count, on one hand, how many days I have left here in Paris, and it’s quite depressing. From the enchanting architecture, to the warm nights on the Seine, to the historical sights on every block, Paris has exceeded my wildest expectations in every department.

The food, however, was just as I had predicted it would be: magnifique! On every block of this city restaurants range from fast food eateries to gourmet delicatessens. In the 10 weeks that I’ve spent here, I’ve nearly gone through every type of food establishment—except for the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. I made sure to start each day with some sort of pastry or bread from one of the three boulangeries on my block. For lunch, if I didn’t bring food that I prepared, I’d join some of my lab colleagues for some “Parisian-ized” Vietnamese food or pre-prepared frozen meals from Picard (which are surprisingly delectable). On my way home, I’d pick up a baguette to accompany whatever I’d be having for dinner. Now I can’t even fathom eating a meal without bread and cheese to wash it down.

They really weren’t lying when they said that there is practically no bad food in Paris. Even my own cooking has exponentially increased in flavor and taste. Going to the weekend market in St. Denis has allowed me to tap into the freshness of the homegrown produce and the eclectic palette of spices that the French and French immigrants are so fond of. Immigrants have played a huge part in the growth of the food scene in this city. One night I had Lebanese food, and I encountered the most tender and flavorful chicken of my life. Then I went on to dine at the weekend Conseil de Quartier Temple market, where you can find both fresh-out-of-the-ground produce and hot-off-the-skillet beef. In short, I’ve eaten well here. It will be difficult to adjust to dining hall food again, to say the least.

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