©2017 Chris Terrell
Thanksgiving Dinner was at Verjus, one of my favorite restaurants in Paris that I always visit when I’m there. The owners are American. It is discrete and welcoming at the same time—the perfect combination of American and French culture. Besides, it is so charming to have your French server refer to gravy as “sauce.”
And an American affair indeed! Not a Frenchman in sight. In fact, the two tables next to us were populated with Alabamians—Auburn fans who would, unfortunately for this Tide fan, get their reward two nights later.
The next day we went French. We didn’t go shopping, though I was surprised to find one aspect of Thanksgiving had embedded itself into French culture, at least in Paris. I saw numerous signs throughout the City of Light proclaiming the glory of Black Friday. We moved on, and I channeled my inner Frenchman and gave a Gallic snort.
We were off to have lunch with Fabien, one of Laura’s partners in her firm’s Paris office. As we waited in the overheated lobby, I couldn’t help but notice how the women and men dressed. So elegant and chic. I was certainly not the first Anglo-Saxon who slumped in his chair, sighing at his frumpiness.
Fabien arrived, and we were briskly off for a leisurely lunch at a small French restaurant populated by professionals enjoying their quotidian pause déjuener. On each table was a bottle of wine and bread.
The French have a reputation of Continental licentiousness, undeservedly so. Actually, the French are masters of restraint. They don’t snack (a vice I cannot shake), and they drink just enough wine at lunch so that they go back to the office and put in another five or six hours. (Yes, the French do work.) In our age of celebrity chefs, with cooking as sport and dining that is increasingly didactic, I think we sometimes miss out on what it means to share a meal with someone.
And that’s what I love about Paris.