Paris is a very expensive city and I’m a student that wasn’t rolling in a lot of dough when I was in the States, so this place is definitely out of my price range. But there are perks to being a study abroad student. Granted, I already paid for this experience beforehand, but that was in order to have a much easier time in Paris. The home-stay makes this much easier.
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This is one of the best decisions I’ve made. Martine is great and Xavier is really cool. Another big plus: I get two meals a day. This is huge, especially for someone who doesn’t have that much money to throw around. Dinner is the best meal, and the only one that I try to have everyday. The French are big on having big dinners and it’s the time when everyone sits down and talks. It’s my favorite part of the day. Breakfast isn’t something big here, or at least not with my family. I usually just grab a piece of bread and go to school. I grab something to eat when I’m out. There are absolutely TONS of bakeries and pastry shops (“boulangeries” and “patisseries” respectively) so everyone gets pastries or croissants or breads from those places, and you can find one anywhere.
The bakery is a great place to get a croissant for 1 Euro or any other cheap, baked snack. It’s such a big part of everyone’s day here that my class studied typical conversations of the boulangerie and how to ask for things and what certain words mean. I go to a boulangerie almost every day, as do most people. Fresh bread is important. And you guys think Panera is cool!
Dinner is the main attraction. Martine likes to bring the meals out in “courses” meaning she brings them out separately. The salad is always first, followed by the main dish. I’m a vegetarian, so sometimes she makes a certain dish differently for me, and that’s pretty nice. I’ve heard horror stories from people who studied abroad before, that their host family just gave them salad for dinner. Everything had meat in it, so the students were not adequately accommodated. I think I might have gotten lucky with Martine.
Plus, this lady can really cook. I’ve had a lot of champignons de Paris or Parisian mushrooms and I can’t get enough of them. I’ve had omelets for dinner, and crepes with cheese and other goodies on the inside, and countless other dishes that are making my mouth water with every typed word. I’ve also had a lot of cheese. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of cheese, but I’ve had so much of it and so many different types that I’m starting to come around… slowly. There is one that I like and I can’t get enough of it. The food here is amazing. Whenever I hear the words “A la table” (which means, “dinner is ready, come to the table”) I get excited to greet the next meal. Then, there is always desert!!!! It may be a simple yogurt or some fruit, but once we had banana flambé and it was the best banana I’ve ever tasted. Breakfast is officially overrated.