Our First Meal in Paris

Don’t get me wrong – we are not Paris neophites. Murray and I have been here together many times, and we’ve come as a family since Charlotte was 2. I worked here often in my 20s as a fashion buyer for Aritzia. We all speak French and have open minded palates. Still, after a 24-hour journey and transatlantic flight with children, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to consult your Go Go Paris app for the newest, trendiest local bistro within 500 metres of where you are standing. So, after surveying the bright and modern sushi, dim sum and bahn mi restaurants seducing all the young office workers in the area (Asia is finally trending in Paris apparently), we go old school tourist, and sit at a charming bistro called Florence, a block from our loft. It’s bustling with business men and looks promising. Murray orders the omelette mixte with frites and the children settle on tagliatelle with butter. I’m not hungry, but since it’s lunchtime in Paris I must acclimatise and eat something. I choose the crudité platter – raw vegetables. What arrives is a heaping mess of soggy overcooked green beans drowned in vinaigrette with some mushy beets and grated carrot. I consult the waitress. This is, indeed, the raw vegetable platter. When I question her about the cooked vegetables she exclaims, in French “But we would never serve our green beans raw!” I can quickly see this argument is going to go circular (“But I didn’t order green beans, I ordered raw vegetables!”) What I really should have done, of course, is order a steak frites with pepper sauce, a half bottle of red wine and capped it off with a Marlboro Light like everyone else.