When I first saw the Easter pastry with hard boiled eggs & sausage, I was super happy because I never thought I could adjust to a super light breakfast of just carbs.  At home, I typically eat an egg with a slice of bacon or an egg and a small bit of hash browns or bacon and hash browns . . . so not a huge breakfast, but definitely always some protein.  In fact, this was part of why I thought I’d need to pre-pay for access to a breakfast in my hotels, but I’m glad now that I only added it in Belgium and in one hotel in Germany – when you can eat a breakfast pastry for 1 Euro, why pay 7-10 Euro for a breakfast buffet that tends to be croissants, pain au chocolat, fruit and a small selection of ham and soft cheese?

I’m still not convinced that a breakfast lacking in protein is the best way to start your day, but after nearly 4 weeks (and 2 weeks of eating pain au chocolat virtually every morning), I’m rarely hungry before lunch time at noon (aka “midi” in French).  My pastry and coffee seem to get me through the morning just fine and I’m not groggy or dragging (other than very first thing in the morning, but that’s always true as I’m a night owl by nature).

The French generally eat a croissant, pain au chocolat or simply skip breakfast in favor of espresso.  And once you get used to it, I rather enjoy my light breakfast!  It also leaves you plenty of room for another French classic – the fixed price lunch!  When I’ve been out, it seems most of the French around are ordering a starter (entrée), main dish (plat) and dessert; however, I usually go with the fixed price option that is 2 of the 3.  Keep in mind that these are all generally small – a quiche slice or a small tart is common for the entrée or dessert.  The main dish is usually a little bigger, but still on the small side, especially compared to American meals.  They certainly aren’t geared towards taking leftovers with you! (BTW, taking leftovers is a serious no-no in France)  Lunch is almost exclusively available between 12 and 2 pm.  Eating outside the set times can be a challenge here!

On to dinner – outside of small rural towns, eating dinner out doesn’t seem to be an issue.  Many restaurants open up again with hours starting roughly around 7-7:30 pm.  From what I’ve heard though, only one meal is large. So, if you have a big fixed price lunch, dinner may be just soup.  Since I’m trying to stay on the smaller side at lunch, one current favorite local place for take-out dinner is O’Napoli (when I want a change from French).  I love the juice drinks with the feisty names and the unusual pizza combos – the choice below is ham, toasted chèvre, honey, baby spinach and a few other things.

More of Life in Rural France
Since I mentioned them, I went back for a close-up of the head-devouring demons on the church.

I’ve posted pics of housing in the towns, but this is a typical area home outside of the city center – kind of a small split-level.  I think it’s interesting to see how the historical styles have morphed into more recent homes. 

Last, but not least, I made fire!  It kept burning all evening too!  Not to say that I wouldn’t still need the skills of, say, a former Eagle Scout in a survival scenario, but I’d at least have the fire under control!