Category Archives: France

Do you dare to bring your own car to France?

IMG_8286Some years ago friends of us were living in France. When they were visiting us in Norway they told us they had sold their car because they were fed up with being anxious of being hit by either other cars or even trolleys at shopping-centers. They said that people just don’t care about their own car, or others. They simply drive until they hit the car in front/back of them. I couldn’t believe it, but I do now…

An hour before the above picture was taken I saw the “French trick” in action: A car reversed until the car in the back rolled and moved around 20 cm!

Our initial plan was to drive our car to Toulouse, but I think I am now happy we didn’t! (However we have had road-trips to Italy, France and Spain, and never been “hit”, so we might have been lucky?)

I have seen parked car like the above in Spain too, so I take it the “French trick” also apply to the Spanish drivers, and maybe Italians too?

Restaurant review: SushiShop Toulouse

2014-07-02 18.31.13This, Sushishop, is one of the worst sushi-restaurants I have ever been to.

2014-07-02 18.21.56It’s obvious a take-away restaurant, but they could have offered soya-saus from bottles and cheramic soya-saus trays (these were in PLASTIC!) for their guests eating at the restaurant. The salmon on the nigiri was so thin you could see the rice through the salmon… And the wasabi was thin and had a strange consistence (from a tube?). 2014-07-02 18.22.00This is maki with scampi. Oh Lord (sorry) this is the cheapest (in many terms) scampi-nigiri I have ever seen! Half of the scampi were bread-crumbles and on top of this they had cut the thing in two! You can hardly see any scampi there.

And the worst? It was not a cheap meal…. My advise: Don’t go there!

 

Restaurant review: YokoSushi in Toulouse

2014-06-29 21.27.42As in Paris, you can find a place to eat sushi on every corner. The first night we had sushi at Yokosushi, very close to our hotel.

As with many sushi-restaurant, this is a small, but busy place. It looks like most of their orders are take-aways. Good for them, but the customers “in-house” suffer because they don’t have time to take orders, make the food and generally look after their guests.

With that said, the sushi and makis are good, but the rice was not “tight” enough (maybe because there were not enough vinegar and sugar?) and because of that it was difficult to eat.

This restaurant has, as many Norwegian sushi-restaurants also have, some strange makis on their menu. Maki with cheese (which has become so common that some people think it’s a real maki….),i with fried onion and for dessert maki with banana and Nutella…

2014-06-29 21.28.05Since I can’t eat onion I didn’t try the maki with fried onion, but Mr. No-Backpacker and his coleagues said it tasted… hot-dog… 🙂

We all had to try the dessert-maki. How it tasted? Well…. Not horrible wrong, but I will not reorder it either! It might have been slightly better if they had used rice without vinegar and sugar because the sourness from the rice  didn’t go with the sweet Nutella.

(Somebody asked me what the dessert-maki was wrapped in. I tried to figure it out, but I didn’t find the answer. It looked and tasted like some kind of very, very thin pankake, but I am not at all sure.)

 

 

Toulouse = gluten-free/allergyfriendly heaven

IMG_8151After haveing some trouble with finding gluten-free food in Nancy and Paris I was well prepared for the trip to Toulouse. However it seemed like It was not necessary at all!

There were several grocery-stores that had some gluten-free food, like Biocoop and Monop (the same as I found in Paris), but the very best was “Parapharmacie Lafayette”, 10 boulevard de Strasbourg, close to the metro station Jean Jaures.

IMG_8261They had the usual brands as we have at home, but also lots of other brands I have never seen before. There were several shelves and I think, for a little while at least, I was in gluten-free heaven! However I didn’t buy much as I didn’t need anything, but I bought some boxes with “Le Pain des Fleurs” crackers. We have them at home, but they are so expencive I don’t bother to buy them. Here it was half the price so I am planning on stocking up some more to fill my suitcase!

I also bought some seasonings as I found “massala-mix” without onion and garlic in another shop, unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the store, but it was the grocery-store next to the Parapharmacie Lafayette, something with “International….”.

If you are stuck there are lots of sushi-restaurants and even two Mc. Donalds, but I take it that most restaurants have “beef and French fries” if you ask.

 

 

I love you, Toulouse!

IMG_8215This spring/summer has been very French as I have been to Nancy, Paris and Toulouse. I had been to Paris once, Cannes once and Dijon once, but that is all I had seen of France before May. The first time I was in Paris, it was winter and extremely cold and I was on my own for work. Cannes was “posh” and expensive (payed 30 Eur for a sunbed at the beach…) and I fell in love with Dijon. We only had one afternoon, evening and morning in Dijon, as it was on our way back home from our roadtrip to Italy (or was it Spain? Well, more on that in another post), but I really fell in love with the village, the people, the food, the shops… everything.

I was hoping to experience something of the same when we went to Nancy in April, but I never felt any of the extra heartbeats as I did in Dijon. I must admit it was quite disapointing.

Coming back to Paris was ok’ish. I never fell in love the first time, neither on the way back from Nancy and not when we were there for 6 days in May.

IMG_8184As I said in the previous post, the original plan was to stay in Toulouse for 4 weeks. I managed to get 5 days in between my other plans and I am very happy I did. Touolouse is not like Dijon, as it is much bigger but I still love the city after only two days and regret I can’t stay here for the 4 planned weeks.

In Touolouse you have everything in walking-distance. If you can’t walk you can use the city-bikes.

IMG_8248The city-bikes are operated in the same way as in Spain (where I have used it): You pay a small amount with your credit-card. The company put around 150 EUR on hold on your card. It’s free for the first 30 min. After that you pay 1 EUR. per hour. The “bike-stations” can be found all over the city and you can pick up a bike at one place and deliver it at another one. Extremely practical!

If you are going further away you can take the metro (it’s easy with only two lines), a bus or a taxi. For more information see Visit Toulouse website.

 

 

 

 

 

Goodby Bergen, hello Touolouse!

Mr. No-Backpacker left Bergen 10 days ago. The initial plan was that we should both go to Toulouse for 4 weeks. He’s there for work, I would go for… well…. why not? The plan changed as I suddenly got some projects to do at home and now I am going to Toulouse for 5 days instead… Not quite the same, but at least it’s better than nothing! AND I get to see my lovely husband again!

The airfare was not exactly cheap, but it could have been worse. Booking only two days in advance didn’t give me the best deal! However I saved around 800 NOK with booking from AirFrance instead of KLM. Not to self: Although AirFrance and KLM is cooperating, check both sites before booking!

 

 

French cakes are not exactly low FODMAP!

IMG_7714Wherever you go in France, there is a “Boulangerie” or “Pattiserie” on every corner, at least it felt like that when we were there. I made it a habit to walk in, have a look, be sure there were nothing I could eat and walk, hungry and sad, out again. Why I did this is beyond my wits, maybe I like to torture myself?

IMG_2229Luckily I found 2-3 shops selling “kitchen-gadgets” in Nancy . Casa at Rue De Saint Thiebaut, had everything I needed (and of course a lot of things I didn’t need, but wanted).

There is also a shop in the Centre Commercial Saint Sebastien that sells smaller things, no furnitures.

At these two places I bough bakery-stuff for a small fortune. You know the feeling when you see all those nice things you have wanted for a long time: Heart-beat, happiness, feeling lucky and a little bit crazy in the same time, diziness…. I have never been “high” on anything “artificial”, but I can imagine it’s like being high on something! And I usually end up with buying more than I planned. The excuse this time was that I saved lots of money not eating all those cakes, I deserved this!IMG_6611

Luckily I love to bake and experiment at the kitchen. My “kitchen-gadgets” never end up in a cupboard never used. Some days ago I tried baking something I have wanted to try for a long time: Chocolatemousse-cake.

The recipe is in my low FODMAP blog, in Norwegian. I have a Google-translate plug-in, so if you are not Norwegian speaking, I am sure you Google will help you. If not, please feel free to ask me!

 

French macarons without nuts!

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Before I started the low FODMAP diet I loved to make macarons, and I loved to eat them. Unfortunately I now react very badly to nuts so I can’t have more than half a macaron. Luckily I love to experiment at the kitchen so one day I thought: ” Well… if I can’t eat nuts, maybe I can replace the almonds with glutenfree oat?”

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Low FODMAP (glutenfree, lactosefree, allergy-friendly) food in Paris

IMG_7100Before I arrived to Paris I must admit I was afraid it would be difficult to find any restaurant which could cover my needs of getting food without gluten, lactose, onion and garlic. Not because I was afraid they wouldn’t help me, but because of the language barriers. It seems like my worries were only worries!

The first day, for lunch, I asked for a burger without the bread. I took the chance that the burger was only meat, and it was! I had french fries to the burger and I didn’t react at all.

Another day I had duck-breast, and the same happened, it was all ”naturelle” (becomes more fun if you read it with a French accent! )! I’ve had burger and beef later and I don’t think there were even salt an pepper at the food! (That was quite a disappointment, but in another way, for me it was better than a meal full of onion and garlic!)

IMG_2535In France they have a shop, Monoprix, where they sell groceries, clothes, underwear, kitchen-stuff etc… etc… I went to the one in Montparnasse and I found both Schar glutenfree food AND a French (or Spanish?) brand called Gerble. Some of the products may contain corn flour, but I managed to translate ” almidon de maiz” and I think it means ”corn starch”. Many people who can’t have corn flour, can still eat corn starch. I tested the biscuit with chocolate and to be honest… it didn’t taste great, but it’s better than nothing!

It seems like the French are fond of Japanese food,  there is a Japanese restaurant on every corner. For me, it looks like there are one supplier of sushi here as every restaurant have the same menu. If you look what the people eat, they also all eat the same! However, sushi is a safe, low FODMAP choice, so I still recomend it!

Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees

IMG_7203 (1)Arc the Triomph is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. The monument honours those who died in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic war.

From Arc de Triomphe you can shop (or window-shop if you prefer) at the nice shops at Champs-Elysees.

IMG_7196IMG_7195The French designer Louis Vuitton has a big house in Champs-Elysees, so have some of the other designer-brands, but you can also find high-street shops like H&M and Massimo Dutti in the street. You will find most of the more exclusive brands in a side-road of Champs-Elysees, The Av. Montaigne.

IMG_7211You should not walk past the macaron-master Laduree without buying a macaron or two. You can take them home, as a souvenire or present, or you can simply eat them at the “tea-room” in the shop, or do both…