This week started with a horrible tragedy: Notre Dame caught fire.

The spire, or la flèche, crumbled under its own weight as the wooden structure below burned away

Despite the tragedy, several of our class members still visited Paris and Notre Dame, and luckily, it's still a beautiful sight. I, on the other hand, got sick and went to the Alps, but we'll get to that a little bit later.


Starting off right on the heels of last week's blog, is a food the French are known for: escargots. In Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse there's a fantastic restaurant where you can get 6 escargots as an entrée (appetizer) or 12 escargots as a plat principal (main dish). You could probably get both for a total of 18 escargots, and while someone might judge you, I wouldn't. As far as I'm concerned, the more of these, the better!

I went with the appetizer, and had chicken with potatoes for my plat principal

Earlier in the day, I ate a chocolate cake, or more accurately, the Mont d'Or (Mountain of Gold). Some of the layers included a hazelnut biscuit, hazelnut pralines, milk chocolate "leaves," ganache, and mousse au chocolat.

To say this was rich is an understatement

Later in the week, I ate a chocolate banana cake of some sort, which was disappointingly cold and congealed. It was basically the complete opposite of the Mont d'Or.


Following on the tails of the food section, on Sunday we visited the Market along the river. For once, I found something that's bigger in France: a rotisserie chicken stall.

Yes, it's an entire stall dedicated to just rotisserie chicken (and the potatoes that go with it, seen behind the chickens at the bottom).

The highlight of the week was definitely getting some R&R with my host family in the French Alps:

Unfortunately, I fell ill just a few days before we planned on leaving, with the worst sickness one could possibly get in France: a stomach bug. Without getting into too much detail, I could barely tolerate thinking about rice, and missed out on French home cooking for several days. While I recovered, we stayed in the mountains surrounding lake Evian on our planned vacation:

You may have drunk a product before that bears the name of this lake

Not being used to staying on mountains in general, the thinner air was a little surprising and exhausting, but even weirder was the weather. The sun was usually pleasantly hot, but in the shadows, it was so cold the snow didn't seem to be melting at all.


Spending was lighter due to me being sick, and our vacation to the Alps.

  • 3.60€ for a quiche for lunch Monday
  • 37€ for a doctor visit on Monday (reimbursed by insurance)
  • 12€ for surprisingly good French fish and chips (not sure what made them so good, but they were definitely not your run-of-the-mill fish and chips)
  • 13.50€ for a bacon burger on Wednesday from the same place and 2€ for a sirop a l'eau (strawberry flavored)
  • 3.10€ for an okay chocolate banana cake later that day (by the time we got to the pâtisserie many of the items had been sitting out for a while and were cold and congealed)

For a subtotal of 71.20€, obviously minus 3.10€ for chocolate items that do not count, and minus the insurance reimbursement of 37€, this week I spent 31.10€.

Interestingly enough, when I bought the burger on Wednesday I discovered we were able to split the bill quite easily among a fairly large group. Based on some internet sleuthing, I did not believe this would be possible or even polite. This, among other reasons like the quality of the food, will probably keep us coming there. They are a little pricey and the quality of food isn't the best we've found, but it's a safe bet for a good lunch.

I did try to pay with my phone at the doctor on Monday, but ran into an interesting problem. The terminal didn't support contactless, but that shouldn't be a problem, since my phone, the Galaxy S9, should be capable of emulating the magnetic strip of a credit card. Despite this, it would not register on the swipe card reader. I'll try again another time where contactless isn't supported, as I probably just didn't hold it in the right place (most card terminals appear to be the same here, or at least of the same design).


This post was a little late, because waiting for high-res images to upload over slow 3G is not my idea of a good vacation. The week was a little less busy than last week, and I'm feeling as though I'm settling in, and learning good habits such as the basic French decency of greeting strangers. Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy next week a little more. See you then!