The Arc D’Or

Before continuing with today’s instalment of nine years ago sisterly travels, I’d like to dispel a few myths about Parisian food. (Or even Italian food, for that matter.) I feel there’s this [misguided] belief that by merely setting foot on Parisian (or, Italian) soil, you will ingest delicious food.


I’ve been to Paris four times and I believe I’ve had exactly two decent meals there. Everything else was either of the smelly-brasserie ‘worse creme brulee than you can make at home‘ variety, or sandwiches and crepes. Which are almost always good, but how many sandwiches can a person eat?

If you’re walking along the main Parisian boulevards and duck into one of the thousands of dining establishments with the chairs on the sidewalk, odds are you’re going to get mediocre food. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll bite into whatever it is and think ‘I’m eating this, in Paris?’

Yes, unless you’ve done a bit of research and maybe even made a reservation (or two), you will likely eat an un-delicious meal.

I offer this rambling preamble in defense of the food treason I committed in the City of Light, back in 2003.

29 March 2003

It’s around 6 or 7pm and my feet are killing me. I suggest going to the movies – we saw The Hours advertised on Blvd de St Germain. We take yet another metro and stand in line at the theatre. Sister announces she’s feeling irritated because there are so many people there.

So we begin the dreaded ‘find a restaurant’ walk. We’re both sick of sandwiches but the options aren’t too plentiful. Many stale French brasseries, but I’ve had a few too many gross meals in similar places. Finally, I announce I’m tired and can’t walk any more. And then our relationship has a serious meltdown.

I, horror above all horrors, suggest we eat at McDonald’s, since none of the other 10 places we passed appealed to either of us, and I don’t see the point of spending money on crappy food.

Thus we eat cardboard burgers – in silence. I reckon I’ll be hearing about this for some time to come. Afterwards, we stop at Haagen Dazs for cappuccino. And we head back to the hotel, in silence.

McDonald’s: 7 euros

Haagen Dazs: 5,50 euros

Getting back in Sister’s good graces: priceless

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