Some French Pizzerias
It's been a couple weeks since I got back from the honeymoon, and I'm still doing color-corrections on travel photos (I took more than 1,200), but I thought I would blog up some photos of pizza-related stuff I saw while in Paris, Normandy, and Brittany.
After taking a commuter train from Charles de Gaulle Airport, transferring to the Metro subway system, and popping out in the Montparnasse section of the city, I was wondering if I'd even see pizzerias in Paris. With wheelie luggage in tow, we consulted our map, rolled up and down a few streets lost, then turned a corner and saw this:
Um, no chance in avoiding pizza in Paris, apparently.
I'm probably going to be a huge disappointment to all you Slice'rs, but I have to admit that other than the flammekueche foray to Flam's, I did not eat pizza in France. :( With so much other stuff I wanted to try that I can't otherwise get great examples of at home—baguettes, cheese, pastries, couscous in the Latin Quarter, Vietnamese, crêpes, etc.—I only ended up snapping pics of pizzeria exteriors.
Mostly, I ended up stuffing my backpack with a baguette and some cheese and had snacks here and there.
But ... this is what the Flam's flammekueche looked like:
You can read more about it here, if you haven't already.
I took this picture for the actual Pizza Girl. And, wow, I happened to capture a guy smoking in front of the store. Very French.
There seemed to be two kinds of pizzerias in Paris — the sit-down restaurant-y kind, like Pizza Marzano above ...
... and sort of hole-in-the-wall take-out/delivery places with crazy names. (incidentally, it was cool to see Speed Rabbit in person after having blogged about it as a Photo of the Day way back in 2006.)
Oh, and there were also these:
It seems like every so often the French pipe up about foreign influences ruining their culture, but it seems they couldn't resist the siren call of Domino's. It was busy, too. With actual French people, not just tourists.
A fun thing to note for folks in the U.S. outside, say, NYC, is that, like Domino's above, all these delivery pizzerias seemed to use scooters. This is an upgrade for most NYC delivery operations, which often use bicycles, but folks in other parts of the U.S. might wonder, as I did, what the drivers do when it rains. I guess Europeans are used to riding scooters in the rain by now, though.
Oh, and they had pizza trucks, too! And not just any kind of pizza truck ...
... A wood-fired-oven pizza truck!
There was actually a fleet of these, all related, sitting on the Esplanade des Invalides, a sort of parklike area in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower. It was Bastille Day when I took these, and they were set up to serve the crowds gathering for fireworks near the iconic structure.
Unfortunately, the pizzas didn't look all that good (bad photo notwithstanding). They were pretty flat and floppy looking and had no color in the crust. I was pulling out some euros to try one, but Girl Slice, a bit grouchy at the time (ironically because she was hungry and wanted to get some Vietnamese food at a place she remembered being nearby), stopped my attempts at pizza-ing after only a few photos.
I guess I should mention now that we didn't spend all our France time in Paris. Only three days total. The real meat of our trip was a self-guided walking tour of the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel:
View Walking Tour of Baie de Mont-Saint-Michel in a larger map
You may have seen Mont Saint-Michel in pictures or whatever. It's a fairly famous bit of medieval architecture. It's that crazy monastery that they built on a rocky island at the border of Normandy and Brittany:
Monks built the first monastery on the island in the 8th century, but the modern world has caught up ...
... and pizza-lovers can now get the crusty, saucy, cheesy discs even on this historical island.
I guess one thing I learned that I will employ next time I go back to France (Girl Slice is already talking about anniversary trips there) are the phrases sur place and a emporter "for here" and "to go," respectively. By the end of my trip, I was employing "a emporter" somewhat effectively in my baguette-sandwich ordering. Next time I'll use the phrases to order pizza.