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An Inordinate Fondness for Cheese

Four years ago, I spent a magical summer in Paris, capturing memories in a long-forgotten blog. Every Thursday, I’ll post my favorite entries from that blog. This is reprinted from 7-7-10.


I have had so much cheese since coming to France. Cheese in the morning. A flaming Camembert at lunch yesterday, and yet more cheese in potatoes, and every salad or vegetable dish I had has been smothered in gooey cheese. It’s a wonder the French aren’t obese. It’s also a wonder I’m still able to find cheese palatable.

But I do. I’m sort of having a love affair with cheese here. Yesterday was all about good food. Lunch today was in a down-to earth-Catalan bistro and dinner a three course meal with hearty cuisine of Auvergne. 

My morning began in Montmartre. Beyond the vibrant, yet somehow inauthentic, area around Sacre-Coeur, the church itself and Montmartre are beautiful. The architecture of Sacre-Coeur (about which I don’t know enough academically, I’m sure) is starkly black and white. But beyond the church is Montmartre, full of brightly-lit sloping streets, its own vineyard, and Au Lapin Agile, a french cabaret frequented by Guillaume Apollinaire and other turn of the century French poets. But enough about history and more about food.

Le Chi’ti Catalan

Somewhere between Montmartre and Clichy is a small restaurant that serves a fusion of French and Catalan Food. Their specials are chorizo, burning camembert, and small mussels with linguini in a tomato sauce. My dish was a concoction of cheese and leeks that was one of the few vegetarian dishes on the menu. It is pretty difficult in itself to find vegetarian food here. In a country where food is supreme, they look at me ever so disappointingly when I profess that I do not eat meat, or fish or chicken.

Observations about Le Musee de L’Erotisme

Lunch was followed by a trip to the Red Light district of Paris to see the infamous Moulin Rouge. As you can see, the French aren’t too subtle about their lives. No euphemisms or covering up. The French are shameless. And I kind of love it while it also terrifies me. 


This trip was followed by a visit to the Museum of Erotica. Some things I observed: 

– The Museum had seven floors and there was a lot more to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese that I didn’t learn in 6th grade Ancient World social studies. 

– There were ancient contraptions that made me cringe. 

– The museum was pretty glorified/disturbingly heteronormative. There was only one picture of homosexual men and while women together were common, there was strict motion of it being simply to please the male clientele. 

– There were pornographic films in the early 1910s. So bizarre. 

– The history of the brothel culture in France was fascinating though. The infrastructure was really intricate. 


Shows at the Moulin Rouge are upwards of a hundred euros. For that price, I can fly to see red windmills in Holland.
Shows at the Moulin Rouge are upwards of a hundred euros. For that price, I can fly to see red windmills in Holland.



0 thoughts on “An Inordinate Fondness for Cheese”

  • I imagine it’s the film, and how you can translate it with basic French, but the Moulon Rouge perhaps carries an air of glamour that I think you successfully dissipate with the picture of the row of sex shops. I didn’t realise it was still a red light district.

    And it’s good to see that after the invention of the film (in 1888, I looked it up) it didn’t take some people long to get together and made a porn film. Knowing how prudish people were then I cannot imagine what it was like.

    • Yeah, from what I remember, Paris was a really strange mixture of the very high-class and the low-class. As an American, it’s really striking, but I can imagine it might be different to someone with a european background.

    • It’s been entirely too hot for soup in Shanghai (85º or higher most days), but once it gets colder, I’m going to try to make my potato and leek soup. It’s such a simple recipe and fantastic with ciabatta and grated Vermont cheddar on top.

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