My theme – “26 Things I’d Like To See During Our Trip To France”
B is for “Bistrots Authentiques”
What is this? Qu’est-ce que c’est ?
I think it isn’t just a single place, but a feeling, an idea, an experience. According to this Wiki, it is “a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.”
Where is it? Où est-ce?
Of course, I’m hoping to find that it’s everywhere, in large cities, but particularly in small towns. I mentioned in an earlier post a little restaurant/cave à vins in Nice, which made the news for rewarding its clients for being polite. I understand that La Petite Syrah is not exactly a textbook “Bistrot” but I think the idea is similar. In any case I hope to visit many places like this during our visit to France.
Why do I want to go there? Pourquoi est-ce que je veux y aller ?
While looking (comme toujours – like always – yes, I’m a geek) for ways to learn and practice the language, I found an article on this site (Bonjour de France – a really great free site for learning French language). The article is about how these places are kind of disappearing, numbering only 50-60,000 in 2012 as opposed to 510,000 in 1910. The advent of technology like TV which keeps people at home rather than going out, and an economy which simply doesn’t allow people to afford that daily visit to the local bistrot are among the reasons for the decline. But it also talks of how these places are re-emerging in a changed form, becoming more specialized, or catering to a younger, wi-fi loving crowd for example. In any case, I hope that we’ll find some good examples of the more “traditional” sort during our travels. I need to say that I just changed this post from my original plan, thanks to a chat I had yesterday with une amie française. I must give her most of the credit for this post. She lives in the south of France, and has graciously invited us to visit her while we are there. She shared with me a photo and a verbal description (in beautiful French – I love her voice ) of just such a place near her home. It is unassuming, and in fact says right on the front that it also sells articles de pêche (fishing supplies). You just can’t get more local than that. In her photo there is a table out front where a man sits reading a newspaper. There is a coffee cup in front of him, and he has a small child with him in a stroller. It looks as though there might have been a juice for the child. You can tell he is not in a hurry (Il n’est pas pressé) What a nice image of a slice of la vie française (the French life). I hope to catch a glimpse of it when I’m there. Les attractions touristiques (tourist attractions) have their place and time, and we will see many of them, but my husband and I have always been fans of trying to see just a little bit of why people live in the places we visit.
And you, dear A to Z-ers? Et vous ?
Have you visited some authentic bistrots in France? What was it like? Did you feel welcome, or like an outsider? Was it in a city or a small village? Did you face a language barrier? Tell me! 🙂
Alors à demain, chers lecteurs ! See you tomorrow!
P.S. I really had no idea how *huge* A to Z would be! I’m humbled, amazed and awed that so many great writers, poets, thinkers, storytellers, have visited “mon petit blog” because of A to Z…and it’s only the first day! I’m discovering some very interesting people and their blogs through this. Well, I must go “hopping” through some more of the list! Yay!