It seems that every time I land in France, I arrive in a state of utter shambles. Last summer I flew in from Dublin after a blurry night of Havana Club mojitos. This year I didn’t sleep a wink on the plane, and have never happier to find a bed.

And each year it’s as if France wants to remind me of why I come, and why I put up with such miseries and strife to get here. (Hint – it’s always food-related.

This time, this lovely dish greeted me post-flight…

Apple Tart

It was a perfectly constructed apple tart, or tarte aux pommes; exactly the homey, apple-y kind of dish you crave in fall. My Delta-dampened spirits were  suddenly in much better shape.

Let me quickly tell you about the family I’m staying with; there are the parents and the three girls, aged 12, 16 and 18. They’re all so sweet and welcoming, and we have a lot of the same hobbies like tennis, skiing and horse-back riding in common. (Preppy, much?)

Also the parents are very into both food and wine, so needless to say I think I will fit in well.

When I finally pulled myself away from the pie, I walked with the family to my new town, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. While Saint-Germain-en-Laye is technically a suburb of Paris, it’s only about a half hour away on the commuter train.

St. Germain

Upon exploring the town, I couldn’t help but fall in love with its French village appeal. The town was founded in 1020, and has lots of historical buildings to prove it; there’s even a massive chateau right next to the subway.



St. Germain is also known for its very good food. Who couldn’t like a town with grade-a salted butter caramel macarons and rotisserie chickens around every corner?

Rotisserie Chicken

I finished off my first day in France by baking a cheese souffle with the girls for dinner. Making souffle had always intimidate me – what if, god forbid, it were to deflate, like in all the movies?

Luckily it was delicious – I love eating a dish that warms your soul and makes everyone ask for seconds.

Cheese Souffle

And while I realize that not every day in France will be all  700-year old castles and salted butter caramel macarons, I kind of hope it’s not true.

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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