Postcard from Paris, from a Food Writer’s Perspective

From Brussels it was on to Paris for a four-day feeding frenzy. More specifics in the future, but for now a quick taste of what I like and dislike about the city.

Visits to bakeries, markets, and restaurants mean staring at the Metro map for travel planning. In contrast to our current single light rail line in Seattle, Paris offers a labyrinth of rail lines to navigate, reaching desired destinations of the various arrondisements.

From dashing out early morning to compare croissants at different boulangeries to donning a jacket and tie for lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel’s Le Cinq, the Metro is always there with its options. I love staring at the colorful map, connecting, for example, from lavender to brown just in time for a dinner reservation at Le Chateaubriand—which recently moved up to the number nine position in S.Pelligrino’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

On the annoying side, it seems that just about everyone in Paris smokes cigarettes. (Some wearing those ubiquitous scarves while scarfing down espressos, though fortunately restaurant interiors are now smoke-free.) This means frequently passing through smoke-filled doorways, and seeing butts along the boulevards.

Upside: It’s even easier to talk with someone at an adjoining table when the dining companion goes out for a smoke. Downside: Dealing with the smoke stinks. That’s one point that makes me happy to return to relatively smoke-free Seattle.