The Same, but Different.

Since moving here a month ago, we’ve made many discoveries about France and how it differs from Canada.

Toilet Paper: I haven’t seen the varieties we get back home with regards to ply, as in 2-ply, 4-ply, super double rolls that are 4-ply but also more somehow? Instead the French decided to vary their toilet paper based on scent and colour. There’s ocean-scented marine blue (very mild), mandarin-scented orange (ooh the bathroom smells like oranges!), vanilla creme, strawberry pink, etc. Seeing as vanilla is always available even when everything else is sold out, I will take this unintentional hint from the French that the vanilla is somehow bad and take a pass on buying it.

Water: the tap water here sucks. It fails to quench thirst. Kippy lets us know how she feels by knocking over her water glass every chance she gets, then crying loudly. We finally decided to do as everyone else does and buy bottled water (much to my vancouver-bred chagrin). First, this is obviously what you are supposed to do because it is stupid cheap. Like, 6 2L bottles is 1 euro. Secondly, there are a ton of varieties here. I always go with the cheapest because well, I’m cheap when it comes to water.

Starbucks: I know it’s tacky and I said I wouldn’t do it, but I was curious. It’s so different and has so much promise! The food items are amazing! Mouthwatering cakes, fancy sandwiches with foie gras, and caramel waffles! There were no Egg Nog lattes or Peppermint Mochas, but instead there was a Creme Brulee latte and a Mocha Praline…uh..mocha. Yum! Dave was just happy he could finally order coffee the way he wanted. Except….it wasn’t yum. And Dave’s coffee was horrible. And it was so expensive! The talls here for the fancy drinks start at 4.50 euro. That’s like 6.50 cdn dollars for a tall latte! I ordered the Mocha Praline and it was so bland and tasteless! Dave said his coffee was like lunch room coffee, from a machine. But way worse. So, while everything looks nice and the menu sounds wonderful, it was just super disappointing. Sigh.

Indian and Mexican cuisine: It looks the same, smells the same, but has none of the flavour. Are they afraid of spice here? Yes. We went to an Indian restaurant, craving some butter chicken (or, butter poulet as the translation goes), and while the cheese filled naan was really tasty, the rice and dishes were missing so much. It was as though 17 of the 21 spices involved in each dish had been removed. Also, it was really bizarre to order in French. For the Mexican dish, we bought an El Paso Burrito kit, and thought, yessss – they have this back home, it’ll be the same thing. No. No it will not. The “spice” was a blaaaaand sauce mix, and of course, there’s no cheddar cheese, only shredded emmental, the guacamole had a boiled egg in it. What. But, the flour tortillas were really good so….?

But bread. Oh Golly. It is heaven. As are the pastries. Mmm and macarons. Ok, gotta go!

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