While I was sampling the delectable specialties that Parisians enjoy every day, I still wished for a little bit of home. A big cup of coffee in a to-go cup. A tall iced tea, heavy on the ice. A toasted and buttered English muffin with my omelette. I’d always heard that French food is notoriously five-star. French pastries are the finest. French baguettes are superb. Coffee in Paris may not be what Americans are used to, but it’s also top-notch. And if you don’t happen to share these same gourmet opinions, then maybe your taste is a bit second-rate. So I couldn’t wait to sample French culinary creations. I expected to be wowed. Bowled over. I thought I might go home dreaming of bread and pastries only available in Paris. But I think I just might prefer the familiar. Even if it is a little ordinary.
I had a chocolate croissant from the French chain Pomme de Pain, and one from the award-winning Eric Kayser Boulangerie, where I was scolded for taking a photo. (I suppose they were worried I would be able to recreate their intricate pastries at home just by looking at a photo.) However, maybe my American tastebuds are so low-brow, but I couldn’t actually tell a difference. I thought both were equally good. At another bakery, I ordered a chocolate éclair. It was also marvelous. At a tea room in the Louvre complex, I ordered two mini macaroons. It certainly wasn’t the world-famous Laduree’s, but these macaroons were very tasty.