- Category: Paris/Lyon - 2008
- Published: August 23, 2008
- Written by Grant
Our first day in Paris comprised of us trying to stay dry. Piper and I ventured out to find stereotypical Parisien breakfast of Croissants, nutella and confiture with fruit juice to drink. My internet search of a grocery store showed a G20 a few blocks away so we ventured that way but never found it. There are Franprix on about every 3rd block around here so we picked up the juice, milk and Jade's cereal there. The Batignolle area is blessed with many Boulangeries to choose from but we stopped at the one right on the main city square and were pleasently surprised with the quality. Immediately next door to the Boulangerie was a Franprix so we didn't need to wander all over the neighborhood afterall. Doesn't matter, now we know a bit more about our suroundings.
The rest of the day we basically spent holed up in our apartment until dinner when the rain stopped. Indian food is a pretty safe bet so we went looking for the place that we ate at last year only to find it closed down. We continued down the street to another on the corner of Rue Batignolles and Blvd Batignolles. The owner was very nice and the decore was fixed up. One of the main differences between Indian restaurants in Seattle and those in Paris is in Seattle they're usually dirty little places in strip malls that server mediocre food. In Paris the interiors are decked out with rugs, fancy Indian furniture and the walls completely adorned. There will be Hindi music playing and all the people working there will be Indian (so far all men). In the states Mexicans cook the food, white people serve it and the only Indians in an Indian restaurant are the owners. They play top 40 and there's very little "Indian culture to get in the way of a good meal". Maybe the Indian culture is too much for Americans to take so it all has to be watered down. I don't know.
Anyway the owner was very friendly and we talked at some length about the French way and how they're not hard workers and how English speaking cultures are. I tried to give him the other side of the coin view about how Americans although wealthy don't actually get to enjoy their lives because they're at work but he wasn't having it. It seems the Indians idealize the American way of life. After living it I'm not sure we're actually better off than the French. I don't mind the idea of a 35 hr work week and a two hour lunch to enjoy food. With the French idea that there's a fine line between sex and food it's understandable that they spend so much time eating. Maybe if we propose to American companies that we'll have a two hour lunch and sex will be provided the workers will agree to relax their schedules a bit and spend more time at lunch.
There is one thing we've learned about the French though is that they don't like spicy food. If you go to an Indian restaurant here you will get food that although it might resemble something you're familiar with there is something missing - spice. What is Indian food without spice? I told one guy at an Indian restaurant that we wanted it the way it is in India, Indian food without spice doesn't make sense, why eat? He started laughing to that because they think the same way. But it doesn't matter because if you want an Indian restaurant in France you need to drop any heat from it. The French are so afraid that they may come in contact with a pepper that the proprieters will actually put "mild" on the outdoor menu out of fear that the French won't even slow down and look at the menu. I love the richness of French food but this aversion to spice puzzles me. It amazes me that Indian restaurants can even stay in business in Paris but there are plenty. The first thing we do tell them we're not French, we like spice in our food. Even my spice challenged children thing the food is possitively boring.
So after digging through our Korma, Vindaloo and Tikka Masala looking for something that resembles a pepper or at least cardamom we meandered down the street to see what was around. We found the monster Cinaplex at Place de Clichy and decided against a movie based on the exchange rate ($50 for the four of us) and how tired we felt. In our walk we did go past Mulan Rouge (Jade didn't notice) and turned south looking for the above ground Metro Line 2. We never found it and decided to walk back home.
There is a store in Paris called Tati that has cut rate clothing and we saw one outside the window of the Number 2 metro, hence our search for it. Later we find out that we have a Tati two blocks from our apartment.