My parents are in town. Fortunately, this time around, they made it clear that they do not want to visit the Eiffel Tower. Phew! Luckily, they have the curiosity and American enthusiasm to make a trip to the local Monoprix interesting. “Cher’s coming to town? When’s she just gonna go away!” My dad exclaimed while pointing out Monoprix’s pas cher (translation: not expensive) promo.
Nevertheless, I was still searching for a few news things to discover with them. So I packed up some côte de boeuf sandwiches (thanks again, leftovers!) and we headed out to the Chateau de Chantilly, about an hour North-Northeast outside of Paris. Luckily, the unpredictable weather gods graced us with a pleasant afternoon to discover the fairytale castle, its immense collection of French historical paintings, and its expansive manicured gardens designed by Varseille’s landscape designer André Le Nôtre. My parents enjoyed it so much, they properly embarrassed both myself and mon mari qui fume with a public rendition of “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper. If you choose to take your parents to Chantilly, it is a cinch to get to by train. So whether it is your first time in France and you do not have time to make it all the way to the Loire Valley or Cher tickets are sold out and you are looking for something else to do on a Saturday, Chantilly is a historical hop, skip, and a jump away.
We are in the demolition stage of our new apartment. This morning, as we walked into the place for our daily visit, our quirky 1950s flat to-be was transformed into the town of Bedrock. Before I could even say “Wow, what a dump!”, “Ohmygawwwwputainmerde!” My first step into the apartment, I got a nail in the foot. The throbbing pain was the least of my worries. Since I have the undisputed Generation Me dilemma of not having had health insurance since my shatterproof undergraduate days, I was sure I could feel my jaw locking in the matter of moments. Luckily, I had an unsuccessful semester in grad school that got me up to speed on that important tetanus shot. Phew!
To help ease the pain, I was whisked off for lunch at the hyper-popular food truck Le Camion Qui Fume by mon mari qui fume. Le Camion Qui Fume ends the search for an authentic American cheeseburger in Paris. Although there are imposters on every cafe menu, 18 euros for a dry, uninspired hamburger on an industrial bun is not worth the ho-hum indulgence. Food trucks have not taken off in Paris yet, partially considering that the French cannot eat with their hands alone. But fellow American expat Kristin Frederick has mastered the right fatty mix of ground beef, the soft, butter-brushed sesame seed buns, real cheddar and shoestring fries to cheer up any expat having a bad day. Although the truck changes locations everyday, we dug into our burgers on the steps of the Église de la Madeleine overlooking the Place de la Concorde. And at just 10 euros for a burger and fries, there is no better bargain or breathtaking view.