This is a guest post by James Cave.
France is a country famed for its food and any trip here is going to be centred on food, food and more food. Well, for me that’s how trips to France have always been anyway!
A few months ago I decided to go and live in France for a few months, having been lucky enough to read about a house that needed looking after on a pet minding website. I applied, was accepted and moved out here, ready to stuff myself with frog legs, baguettes and escargots. I still haven’t eaten any frog legs or escargots, but I’ve eaten plenty of baguettes. In the meantime I’ve picked up on a few quirks about food in France that I thought might amuse someone else.
Love for McDonalds
You might find it strange that in a country so well-regarded for its love of food, and in particular stodgy, rustic country dishes, McDonalds would be so popular. I did anyway, but outside of the US, the French are one of the biggest consumers of Big Macs and Happy Meals (pronounced ‘Appy Meals’) according to the NY Times.
Of course you can still pick up your baguette, croissants and pains au chocolat just about anywhere, but head to McDonalds (Or McDo’s as it’s known in France) at lunchtime and you’ll be lucky to get in the door. Well, ‘lucky’ may not be the right word.
Rigorous Cheese Laws
“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?” once asked Charles de Gaulle. Things were easier when he was in power; now France has anywhere between 350 and 400 different types of cheeses depending on your source.
Regardless of the number of cheeses France has, the government has been very successful in getting some governing in place. Epoisse for example, an incredibly pungent French cheese that’s so smelly it’s illegal to carry it on public transport in France. It’s not the world’s smelliest cheese however, that’s Vieux-Boulogne. No laws have been passed about Vieux-Boulogne in France, but the cheese has been declared illegal in the U.S. I’m hoping to pick up some in time for my French cheese board this Christmas.
The Toughest Marathon in the World
When you think of the toughest marathon in the world, you’ll probably think of something put together by the people behind triathlons like Alcatraz or Iron Man but in fact, unknown to most of us, the French have the toughest marathon in the world.
You won’t have to run through deserts or scale any walls here though; the Medoc Wine Marathon takes place in the beautiful French countryside in the warm, but bearable month of September. While the idea of drinking a glass of wine and enjoying a piece of cheese every mile sounds quite pleasant and leisurely, try doing it at every mile of the marathon as is encouraged by the marathon officials.
France is a fun country to visit, especially for its food. Stay here for long enough and you’ll start to uncover a few funny quirks and surprises.