Europe Is In The Air

Air travel is not one of my favorite pastimes, not that many people make this their daily routine. For me connecting flights, undisciplined passengers all spell stress. But there are exceptions to this view. Transiting through CDG airport in Paris is for me always a welcome crossing and I make sure that my layover lasts a few hours. Let's explore why.

The people. Sure that when traveling through a major international hub you are likely to come across all imaginable nationalities, but what I truly. enjoy about Paris are the Parisians themselves. I like they way the dress, I like they way the sound. I am not fluent in French, but can understand it well enough when spoken at normal rates to get by, and read it sufficiently well to able able to understand most mundane scriptures. That helps a lot and makes me feel at home in France, relaxingly comfortable to explore foods and places.

In Paris, dress code is set at a different bar. I am not referring to expression of haute couture, but to the casual elegance that I easily observe. Colors such as red and pink tints men of all ages sport in their daily wardrobes; materials especially softer suede and leathers that hint of a higher quality, and certainly of better taste. And then there is that je ne sais quoi of Parisian femininity, that turns heads, first with your mind's eye and then, when it is probably too late, with your real eye.

The food. I've never had a problem with food in France. Just like in Italy, gormandizing is in the genes. Cuisine is a true labor of love. The French bring a care to food preparation, something affine to a mother's nurturing love,  starting from the selection of the finest ingredients to the delicate poaching of greens and filets and then moving to the slow braising of meats, ending with the caressed milling and sieving of elegant sauces and soups.

What amazes me is the fact that you can sense this love for the art even in its manifestation of what we call fast food. In CDG I came across the carrot logo,. It immediately caught my attention. Turns out that it belonged to Belgian chain Exki. a concept in fast gourmet dish delivery, the embodiment of "un-fast food", likely to satisfy even the pickiest of foodies, you know,  people like me.

Exki Logo - Click To Access Web Site

Surprise and delight also visited my during my flight. After a very decent airline meal, the stewardess offered me an shot of espresso and presented me with a small package, what turned out to be exquisite butter cookies. "It's a treat"', she said, with a her sweet French accent. I saved the small box of Les Galettes de Pont-Aven for later snacking, as insurance against the pangs of hunger once far from Paris. Wishful thinking than turned out to be correct, the perfect little treat at 11:30 PM in the quite of your hotel room.

Traoumad Bakery - Pont-Avens - Click to Access

I decided to do some research on Les Galettes. interestingly Google told me that the name of these "treats" was used as the title for a popular 1975  movie, "Les Galettes de Pont-Aven" , dubbed "Cookie" in English. A befitting name for movie about the cycles of stale and then vibrant passions of men and women during their search for creative and emotive happiness. A classic love affaire tale that could only be made in France, perfectly placed in a quintessential exemplar of quaint coastal village in French Brittany. Pont-Aven is a town inspiring both painters and cookie bakers alike, one of the many jewels in Bretagne. Blue lobster confit anyone ?

Port-Avens Scenic Canal  (source

But attendez s'il vous plait, there is more that intrigued me. I suspect that a clever play on words. In Italian , Portuguese and probably French , Galette , can mean "young chicken"' . You can get the point quite quickly if you apply this term to a few lovely ladies and especially if you see or read about the film. For a quick summary of this very French movie, see the IMDB.

The shops. CDG is like a small, high-end mall, especially terminal one which houses many of the international Air France flights. Besides the usual mix of small cadeaux shops where you can buy "I was in Paris" brand tee shirts and hoodies, there are a few high end places where you can purchase $10,000 crystal bottles filled with aged cognac, jewelry fit for a queen, and also places with some very tempting assortments of all kinds of pate de foie, neatly stacked as if part of the foundation for a lateral rampart of Notre Dame. Looking for the latest pattern in ties from Hermes? They've got that covered. What about  a pair of Christian Louboutin men's high tops? Well, I did not come across that boutique, but I am pretty sure It will surface along those meandering corridors. 

What was your latest travel experience like?

Bon Voyage!


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