Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hungry in France

If ever you decide to go on vacation in France just make sure to take whatever steps are necessary to be sure that you never ever get hungry at 3pm in the afternoon. Otherwise you had best be prepared for several hours of starvation.

It seems bizarre to be talking about hunger in the context of one of the great culinary centres of the world but that nation's extraordinary skill in the matter of what to eat comes hand in hand with extreme rigidity in the matter of when you can eat it. In vast swathes of the country you will search in vain to find a restaurant or other eatery which serves anything other than the meanest of snacks outside of the appointed hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Doctors would no doubt laud such religious adherence to a regular schedule of meals but I must protest that it is not at all friendly to the holidaymaker.

When on vacation we break the normal rules. We sleep in mornings or stay up late at night. We indulge in forbidden snacks between meals. We spend longer on activities than planned. We skip meals and sometimes we combine meals. The very definition of a holiday is that one's regular routine goes out the window and this surely also includes regular meal times.

This is why it is so easy for a tourist to be hungry in France at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

(That gripe aside I must confess to being just returned from an extremely enjoyable two weeks in South West France. Normal blogging will hopefully resume shortly)

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