I had read in a blog somewhere that the best French Onion Soup (Soupe à l’Oignon) in Paris is from the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg). And you know what, for me, it was.
It’s not taste that made it the best though. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious (although there was a bit too much cheese for my taste), and I haven’t tried it anywhere else so it could very well be the best.
The most important thing for me was the feel of the whole day. It was, is, my first full day in Paris and I spent it, for the most part, wandering around the Luxembourg Gardens. They’re beautiful and relaxing, at least for most people.
Eventually I got hungry and found the little café place to sit and have some lunch. It was such a lovely little place, and I sat in the shade of the trees and looked down off a little terrace at people wandering around and bright white statues. I know white marble statues aren’t authentic to Ancient Greece, but they are definitely authentic to the Jardin du Luxembourg.
The service was a little slow, but very very friendly. I suspect that the waiter was having a bit of fun with my terrible French, which is very admirable considering how often he must have to deal with his language being mangled. I got grapefruit juice because I really wanted to say jus de pamplemousse, and then the reason I ended up there in the first place, the soupe à l’oignon, and finally a slice of tarte tatin with ice cream.
My juice came out first with two little sachets of sugar. I was surprised by that at first, but then I realised loads of people must see the word pamplemousse and need to order it, even though they know it’s too sour for them. And indeed, I used the sugar and enjoyed the juice much more after that.
The soup. Ah the soup. It was sweet with all of the cooked up onions, and you could tell they’d used really great French bread for the croutons (or maybe just average French bread, being really great Everywhere-else bread, I’m not sure). Like I said, there was too much cheese for me, but I can well imagine that being right up someone else’s alley. And as I sat there I thought about the fact that I’m in France, and I thought about how beautiful the gardens were, and how nice all the people I’ve met so far are, and how much fun I’ve had practising my French and riding the metro and everything. And I just felt fantastic. And of course, now that soup is etched in my memory with all of those feelings. You really can’t separate the food and the emotion in a memory like that. Or at least I can’t.
Then I had my tarte, and it was delicious as expected. More caramel-y than I expected, but I was certainly not complaining.
The whole thing set me back 22 €, so it was quite reasonable value too.
And there you have it. Any food will be good food for me right now, because I’m just busting to experience things, but good food is extra good!