Before I left home, I signed up for a cooking class through Le Cuisine Paris. The group of ten plus Chef Eric met in Maubert which is in the Latin Quarter. We proceeded to the local market where he selected a variety of vegetables, cheese, fish, sausage, and baguettes. Then we walked to the cooking school and were put to work. I had no expectations other than visiting a market and eating a good French meal. The chef worked and talked at a fast clip, had us prepare an almond cream and pear tart, a creamed zucchini soup, tomato fondue (sauce), fillet of a whole white fish and making individual paper packets with fresh vegetable ratatouille, and tossed salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing. Paired with sausage crudités, cheese course of compte and a bleu cheese and wine. It was rather amazing. I do wish they had recipes for us to take home but I think I will remember most of it.
Afterward, I walked through the Latin Quarter, which, being a Saturday was full of people sitting in sidewalk cafes and crowding the sidewalks. I'm getting addicted to my long daily walks. I NEED to do them so I don't come home Porky Pig. I find myself eating a petit dejeuner and lunch in a restaurant/cafe and then I skip dinner, having only a glass of wine and a bit of fruit when I get make to the flat in the late afternoon. Seems to work well for me.
Notes about Paris:
1) The French are no more snobbier than we are. Just more polite. When you walk in a store, you must say Bonjour to the shopkeeper and the same when you leave. Otherwise you are thought to be rude. Walking into a shop in Paris is like you are walking into their home. (Such a different way than in the US where we walk in to stores like we own the place.). I have found that following that custom alone makes all the difference in how you are received.
2)Tipping is not really done in Paris. They are salaried and it is not the custom to tip. Maybe rounding up to the next Euro if service was commendable. Consequently waiters are not very friendly because there is no reward in it. Hmm, hmm.
3) Do not touch the produce in the markets. Point at what you want and let them handle it. Otherwise, naughty, naughty. Once they know you, I guess it is then OK.
4). Parisians are skinny because there are so many stairs.
5) The buildings are So Old. There are no skyscrapers here, just 6 story buildings without elevators.
6) No fire escapes or smoke alarms! Yikes. I heard that by NEXT year there will be codes that you have to because they are losing a lot of elderly to fires. ( I am on the 6th floor of a very old building and no route out except the circular stairs going down. )
7) Though old, and dirty and crowded, Paris is magically charming. Something interesting to look at at every turn.
8) Starbucks prices are different in every neighborhood.
9). Everyone has a dog and there is poop on the sidewalks, but not too bad.
10) Subways are easy. I've only gotten on one going the wrong direction.
11). It helps to know a bit of French. They do not like to speak English but don't seem to mind if you speak French a little poorly. They even try to understand you. It's nice.
Pictures from my cooking class: