The Time I Had My First Real Crepe

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.

We didn’t walk to the end of the market, so we missed the pastry booth apparently, and went to a cafe for a croissant and chocolat instead. At 10:30 a.m. we began our class for the day. Today the walk went through the neighborhood further, where Teo said tourists never go, as we stopped in a French playground park to hear the lecture about early France with influences from the Roman empire. There were three little Parisian girls who crept up behind Teo and would giggle and try to spy on our lesson, and several French families that asked Teo what this program was.
The group proceeded along the Seine banks through a path down the middle of the river where joggers passed. We saw a smaller replica of the Statue of Liberty and the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, which is in the movie Inception.
The path led up towards the Tour Eiffel, where a band played music because today is a feasting holiday. A woman also gave all of us Yoplait yogurt 😉 I enjoy the walks because Teo points out a lot of minuscule details, like the gold top of a building where Napoleon was buried.
Though there are about 40 students total, about eight of us went to a crepe place on the way back (it’s across from our hotel), which Teo has been telling us will transform our lives. It was operated by one man, who made the crepe after you ordered it, and then took your euros. It took probably 30 minutes for us to all get our crepes, but they were indeed life changing – I have never had a real crepe. It was savory, with Indian chicken, eggs, tomates, and fromage (cheese) with a special “spicy” sauce that was more seasoning than spice.
This crepe was so soft and hot and tasty and cheesy and wonderful. Also, the employee was super friendly even though we pronounced everything wrong. He gave us a French lesson and asked us why we were in Paris – so nice! It was a filling dejeuner.

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