paris part one: the less-than-frenchie

“Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.”

— Charles de Montesquieu

I hope there aren’t any dollies still flapping around the now-catatonic myth that One simply can’t order a hamburger in Paris; it’s positively gauche!. First of all, the Grey Lady herself ran a story two years ago that burgers had turned chic in the city of lights; and if the Grey Lady printed it in 2008, it’s probably been true since at least 2005. Second of all — well, look at this, and tell me if you think cool cat restaurants in the Marais are taking their burgers any less seriously than their tartares:

I hope that’s put it to rest. Both these beefy meals we had at Tresor, a wonderful find off rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais, and there’s no link to the restaurant because it doesn’t have a website. How French, non? But you (nebulous you, who is surely on the cusp of jetting there) should totally go next time you’re in Paris. Just make sure you’ve nothing planned later than night, and can snag a terrace seat. Service is slow, even for France, so you may as well embrace it, make an evening of it. Order cocktails, appetizers, wine, entrees, coffee, maybe even dessert (or get some gelato across the street at Amorino, open til midnight and criminally delicious).

While we’re busting food myths, I would also like to point out that Paris has more than French food. You just have to know where to look. We had a super brunch (also: brunch exists!) a couple Saturdays ago at a place called, intriguingly, The Studio. (Yes, in English.) It’s located in a beautiful courtyard, across from a childen’s dance studio, and happily proclaims itself a Mexican restaurant. For twenty euros, you got coffee/tea, juice/soda/wine/beer, and one of four egg preparations, from my classic sunny side up with bacon and hash browns to Billy’s huevos rancheros — and for dessert? Pancakes. With maple syrup. It’s not entirely illogical, pancakes for dessert; they are sweet, after all. It’s just sort of . . . French of them, isn’t it? Then for lunch another day, we took a chance and visited Mirama, a Chinese restaurant popular with the Latin Quarter crowd. Their  famous Cantonese duck, pictured above, did not disappoint. Moist on the inside, crispy skinned on the outside, and enough to satisfy even me. Among the sea of vaguely “pan-Asian” restaurants that Paris is so inexplicably fond of, this is a goodie.

And then, two rainy Mondays ago, we went to the most magical place on Earth in Europe: Disneyland Paris. (Fun fact: it was called Euro Disney, until the euro came around. Since “Dollar Disney” wouldn’t sound great — a little too obvious? — they wisely altered the name.) We had to wait out the rain once we got off the regional train, and almost considered turning right back around when the precipitation actually picked up (!), but luckily we didn’t. I bought a poncho just in time for the sun to come out.

And Disneyland? Is awesome. My favorite ride in California, Space Mountain, was not as good, but Thunder Mountain — a roller coaster through an American mining town — is, understandably, a Much Bigger Deal here. (They love their cowboys.) It’s very curious that all the ride animations were done in both French and English: not so much as translations, as Character #1 going, “Are you ready?!” and Character #2 adding on, “C’est parti!” And while Pirates of the Caribbean is just as extensively detailed, Johnny Depp doesn’t show up once. Unsurprisingly — or is it surprising? this is Frahnce — the restaurant life isn’t that much better than in other Disneyplaces. (BUT they do serve drinks, so we made space in our suitcases for the souvenir blue light-up plastic ice cubes.) The castle is also much more stylized than the one in CA: they have real castles nearby, you know.

Enjoy the magic! Coming up next = what you think of when you think of Paris.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Red Chiffon Skirt on June 3, 2010 at 8:01 am

    that steak tartare looks … subpar

    ALSO! you must post pictures of your fabulous new internship asap 🙂


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