French Food Goes Down

Before my first visit to France, around 45 years ago, I was told that you couldn’t find bad food there if you tried. I was of limited experience, so even a hot dog jammed into a baguette bore witness to that “fact.”

Nevertheless, a few visits later, it seemed justifiable to buy into the program: France had countless regions, each producing superior products that were handled well and (with notable exceptions) served at reasonable prices. I wish we could go back — we’d need a time machine, of course — and verify that experience.

Read the rest of this column here.

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  1. JUDITH SCHULTZE said...

    Hi Mark,
    I just finished reading your column about French food, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Particularly since we just returned from a trip to France and Spain a month ago. I too visited France for the first time about 45 years ago, and felt the way you did. In the last decade, my husband and I have been fortunate enough to visit France nearly every year. (We are California winemakers, and my husband likes to visit our barrel makers in Burgundy). In any case, this year, we were in Paris for five nights, and we were very disappointed in the food. The best meal we had was at a Michelin 3-star, and of course, as you say, it had better be good for the prices. What I do want to contribute to this conversation is that during this recent visit, we stayed in the Burgundy region, Provence, and briefly Bordeaux. In all of these areas, we had wonderful food, at very reasonable prices. So all is not lost with French food! Also, in defense of the Parisian restauranteurs, I think perhaps rents, indifferent tourists, and more difficulty in getting fresh food may all play a part in the decline of quality in the capitol.

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