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What Comes To Mind When Someone Says France

By: Caroline Clarke What cuisine comes to mind when you hear France? French fries? French toast? French-Pressed-Coffee? Surprisingly, none of those originated in France. Instead, native dishes include escargot and crepes. Escargot is the French word for snails. Yes, those slimy creatures on the sidewalk are considered a delicacy in Paris, but the way they are prepared makes them absolutely delicious.

Crepes can be savory or sweet; and naturally, I like them better sweet. The best crepes I found were in the Latin Quarter. If you walk through there at night, around 10:00 (with a friend of course) there is a creperie with has a vertical red sign that says “crepes”. The man there is very nice and willing to adjust any order to create the perfect combination. My favorite was: white chocolate, dark chocolate, cookie crumbs, and whipped cream on top. Of course when I couldn’t justify a whole crepe, there were always macaroons that I had almost daily.

Before my arrival in Paris, I was determined to find the best macaroon. Many attest on behalf of Laudree while others prefer Pierre Hermes. In efforts to satisfy my sweet tooth, and collect important research for my fellow sugar fiends I have visited many macaroon shops and have devised a list of my favorites (and the best flavor at each): 1) Carette: Raspberry 2) Le Bon Marche: Mint 3) Lênotre: Salted caramel 4) Fauchon: Rose 5) Francois Paynard: Blueberry Unfortunately, Laudree did not make the cut for me, I feel that it has become too overrated and not as personal as these other tea rooms or patisseries.

(but this is proof, I did try laudree) My favorite “secret” find though, was Bruchett in Place Dauphine where I had the best café au lait and dessert. The whole ambiance contributed to my opinion. I sat with my coffee watching children play, Parisians read, photographers, and I have even witnessed a Longchamp photo-shoot before.

As I daydreamt or read outside the café, I enjoyed the “cronut”. It was a croissant-donut topped with Berthillion (the best ice cream ever) ice cream, and whipped cream. My taste buds are watering just thinking about that dessert right now. However the best meal in Paris is a picnic.

My favorite night was when we met up with some locals under the Eiffel tower and had a picnic with baguettes, cheese, ham, hard-boiled eggs, pate, etc. What interested me most, was that it wasn’t cliché and there were lots of locals around us. It was such a fun evening as we played music, dined, and watched the Eiffel tower sparkle.

The Eiffel Tower lights up at ten o’clock and every hour after that, the lights twinkle and sparkle as the clock strikes the hour. After that first picnic we were hooked, and had a few more outdoor meals on the lawn in various areas throughout Paris. Some things are best enjoyed in Paris; for instance, crepes, macarons, and croissants. However, I think picnics are international and I will definitely be planning more of them this upcoming year in the States.

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