Thursday, May 31, 2007


Now, I don't want this to sound as if I'm complaining.....but I want to know, how do they do it, these Parisians. I mean how do they have enough energy to last the day? Do they secretly mainline cocktails of vitamins in the privacy of their homes, sprinkle Greens + over their morning coffee and linseeds on top of their tarte aux poires?
Yes I've read that book.
When I'm in Paris I treat my body like an engine that needs no fuel. I start my day with a cafe creme and a croissant, walk for three to four hours, stopping maybe for another coffee. At lunchtime I might treat myself to a selection of cheese and some bread, washed down with a glass of red wine. Then I walk non stop for another five to six hours, maybe stopping for a Berthillon ice at some point. Later, a coffee, then an apero, then a proper dinner, usually some kind of meat with perhaps some gratin dauphinoise masquerading as a vegetable. To bed still digesting that creme brulee. Then at some point I go, "Oh my god, I'm so exhausted, I just don't understand it." Yes it's fantastic to eat all that yummy food, but I'm not three. If I was three I'd sit here all day eating nothing but gummy bears. I'd never eat that way at home but I have the When in Rome mentality - trying to get my fill of decent pastries while I'm there, knowing I won't even be tempted by the greasy examples back home. It's worse if you eat out a lot, as I do. I can tell you that it's entirely possible to go for three weeks in Paris without eating any vegetables and not even realise. (I did it.) The dauphinoise potatoes don't count. I sometimes wonder if there's a secret menu I'm not being given that has all the veg on it. Of course there are lovely seasonal veggies at the market, but apart from tasting the new season's asparagus or whatever, which most likely will get made into a 75% cream soup, it's kind of tricky to eat anything apart from bread products, meat, cheese, caffeine and alcohol. Then there was that time when I tried to eat - and cook macrobiotically - in Paris. Ha! That's why I end up going to LPQ, even though I swore I'd never go there again since they've gone all Starbucks and after they put up a sign - in English - with a diagram of how to eat a tartine. They do salads, that's why I go - and rye bread. But that sign, and the cup at the till with "Tips" written on it in English is inexcusable and makes you feel like you're at a theme cafe at the Epcot Centre.

So, maybe it's just me - maybe you get bored of all the tasty naughtiness after a while, or your digestive system implodes/explodes and you get punished for not being hardcore enough by having to shop in the grim macrobiotic shop and eat millet for the rest of your days.


lottie said...

The same thing happened to me in Palermo recently... I got home and realised that vegetables just didn't feature in our holiday diet. Is it the eating out thing? I'm sure we are served vegetable in Londres restaurants. It is tres bizarre. Perhaps you should smuggle carrots and broccoli in your hand luggage.

Bombay Beauty said...

I've been contemplating this mystery myself recently, and have a theory. The mystery to reiterate is that when you go out you see Parisians eating lovely normal, delicious, high-fat meals - multiple courses thereof - yet remaining remarkably well toned. The (my) answer: when at home they eat nothing. I've observed it first hand. When I get home after a yogurt breakfast and coffee lunch I need something, anything to eat. Not the French, or so my theory goes. They starve when no one is looking (or more precisely put themselves to bed with two cigarettes). As to the lack of veg (UK term? veggies, US term?), where do all those green market lovelies go? This remains a mystery to me. Cheers and enjoy Paris! BB