Paris!  City of lights!  A destination for romantics, history buffs, and those who crave art, French culture, and of course food & wine. 

The French are a proud people – they love their bread & cheese.  And for good reason.  The bread is some of the freshest in the world.  For 85 Euro cents or less you can buy a fresh baguette at any time of day.  Most restaurants in France are French.  There are sprinkles of Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Greek, and American fast food, but for the most part you will see the stylish Parisians lounging at a cafe – reading the paper, sipping a cafe au lait, munching on a croque monsieur, baguette, salad, or steak.  In the afternoons they crowd the cafes, bistros, and bar tabacs sipping cold beers, casually smoking (cigarettes), and just enjoying some people watching. 

During a recent 10 day visit to this grand, old city my wife & I did our best to mix up eating at fancier restaurants, enjoying Parisian street food, getting in on the people watching, and even cooking for ourselves.  We dined at Chez Denise – a spot recommended by Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations, and Le Gavroche – a local spot that does not normally cater to tourists; in other words if you choose to go, you should know what you’re ordering.  We shopped at the local G20 Supermarket as well as smaller local shops like Boucherie Provins

My favorite part of the French cuisine, more than anything else was the freshness of the ingredients.  In France they don’t use preservatives or hormones, and rather than shopping at Costo or Wal-Mart for canned goods in bulk, the Parisians opt for picking up what they need for dinner on a daily basis ensuring their families will eat healthy, fresh food every day.  Certainly something I could get used to…

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