Recent threads on Chowhound prompted me to think about this issue. Some suggest that visitors often plan on eating three meals a day, prompting residents to question the practice.
And there’s a big difference.
When my wife and I came 1-4 times a year, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes at starred restaurants for all three meals. And just French food. Food that comes highly recommended by friends or guidebooks. We also ran from town to town (in France), museum to museum, and sight to sight.
However, during our 365 day a year stays, the pace was the opposite, we ate out only at lunch (having breakfast and dinner at home) and, after a few months, got a hankering for other than French food – Thai, Chinese, Viet namese, Sushi, pizza. We ate at both old favorites and new places. And now we took middle-of-the-week trips out of town all over France as well as to surrounding countries. And we rarely ran from thing to thing.
The 80% mode was, as one might expect, a compromise between the two. When in France, eat French because next week or month it’ll be Italian in New York or Italy, Middle Eastern in DC or Spanish in Spain. And eat almost all the time at new places, saving the golden oldies for my wife and special friends. And the pace remains relaxed, if you don’t see the Braque show this month, it’s still going to be there in December.
So on reading titles of new threads that say – A weekend, 3 days, a week, a month in Paris, Bordeaux, Burgundy and so forth I temper my reaction to my historical experience and try to empathize with the need to cram everything in, go to only the best of the best or best price-quality and live it up.