Happy Bastille Day! While I am as much French as I am American, I rarely celebrate that fact for no good reason. But today, today my fridge is packed with cheese and coq au vin, Nick is baking baguettes for dinner and we hung out the the old red white and blue (vertical) striped flag. Why the hell not?
My dad Claude, a French Tunisian, is the first to deplore the traits of the Frenchman. Lazy, long vacation takers, snobs, and on and on. He calls Italians nos frères qui rit, our brothers who laugh, in another jab at the somber French. I will admit that living there as a 20 year old American was very, very hard. I wanted desperately to be French, to embody the aloof coolness that I felt all around me. I lived in St-Germain-des-Pres, an impossibly chic neighorhood, bought fancy clothes, and tried to pass myself off as one of them.
The cultural differences could not be denied. I came out of my apartment one morning eating an apple and came across the lovely older woman who lived next door. She said to me: "Look at you, eating an apple like Eve!" And in the changing room at the gym the ladies had matching lingerie on under their workout clothes. Small things, yes, but this California girl would never pass.
I'm happy to say that I could give a shit what the Parisians think of me now. I visit and walk the streets and take pictures and pull out my map and just enjoy. I don't mind when my cousins make fun of my American accent. But I still rock a scarf and make sure my shoes are clean.
Some of my favorite Paris things:
Le Timbre - fantastic tiny (the name means Postage Stamp) restaurant in the 6th
Du Pain et Des Idees - Best Bakery Anywhere
Chez L'Ami Jean - badass restaurant
L'As du Fallafel - go get a fallafel for god sakes, fill it with harissa and sit in the Place des Vosges
L'Avant Comptoir - maybe our favorite spot in Paris. Walk in for amazing bites and wines. Chill environment, nice staff, pictures of the dishes hang from cards on the ceiling. Whacky and delicious.