You can picture it, can’t you? A young girl, cycling past a field of, um, ducks, filmy skirt streaming behind her (but not getting caught in the spokes), a bunch of fresh flowers in the bike’s basket – and, of course, a baguette.
This is not me.
Unfortunately, I’m the one in the ugly bike duds, cycling in the other direction.
But let’s not spoil a good story with the truth. The star of the show here is not the lovely young thing. It’s the ubiquitous baguette.
This humble bread stick defines French life.
An old lady, crumpled and stooped, orders her dinner: a baguette and crepes, with un verre du vin rosé.
An old man with a cigar-rasping voice, and a grumpy dog at his feet, chomps into a baguette with his beer.
A tradesman heads home for lunch, baguettes in hand.
A toddler in a stroller chews on the end of a baguette longer than he is. His mother takes advantage of a moment’s peace to indulge in some window shopping…
In every restaurant, baguettes are served along with the main meal, or earlier. But always there.
Everywhere you look – absolutely everywhere – there are baguettes. And it’s not long before we are caught up in the tradition.
Lunch? A baguette, fromage and juicy tomatoes, washed down with a delicious vin rouge. Sounds perfect. And having perfectly strong teeth is a prerequisite for making your way through that tough crust.
Okay, I may not have the filmy skirt or the bunch of flowers, but I have the baguette (and all my teeth, so far).
And, in France, that definitely counts for something…