Yesterday we finished the afternoon with a trip to two markets, Franprix and Monoprix, the latter of which is like the French Target. Franprix is smaller, like a tiny grocery store, where we purchased eggs, butter, jam, and cheese for breakfasts though there was no fresh bread. So we went to Monoprix which is across from our hotel to get bread because it’s made every day. I bought a croissant du amande to eat for late lunch – a deliciously soft pastry filled with almond paste.
At 7 p.m. we met in the courtyard outside the hotel for our introduction, where Professor Teo distributed our guide books and metro navigo passes. He then led us on a walk around our neighborhood, showing us his favorite places to eat on the side streets. We strolled down a road, Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, with many cafes – which are like bars, restaurants and coffeeshops all in one. He pointed out a French military school that was a gorgeous old columned building.
Afterward, some of us went to a cafe to eat a dish that Teo recommended (I’ll try to find the name) but it’s a platter of meats with bread – he spoke to the waitress in French to order for us. The sausage slices were delicious, as were the thinly sliced meats; however some had more unfamiliar textures, like a meat loaf and one that we jokingly referred to as “tuna” because of the texture.
I can already tell that the French people love to eat slowly – I think we were the last to arrive and first to leave even though we stayed about an hour. They all look at us because we’re American, especially when we take pictures – so we try to do it discreetly or not at all.
This morning, there was a farmers market across the hotel under the metro bridge. It was like something out of a movie, like the French version of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Stations with butchers with raw meats and seafoods, and rows of vegetables and fruits with weights measured in kg, and prepared items like breads and jared olives, and accessories like silk scarves and purses. I bought a briochette bun that I have yet to try (though I’m sure it’s better fresh). The smell of olives wafted through the market, which went on for blocks and blocks.