You're getting ready to explore the streets of Paris. You look outside your window and see an endless sea of grey rooftops concealing all sorts of wonders with monuments sticking out here and there. You have your "Paris Pratique" (aka: a street by street map aka: my bible in Paris), you have your wallet zipped into the side pocket of the side pocket of your zipped bag (don't want your day to become an Indiana Jones Adventure and have to chase your wallet down Montmartre), and a sweater and a coat (layers, layers, layers is the rule). You drop your keys in your bag as well as a nice juicy apple since you're going to be out all day.
Arrete! Stop right there! Surviving the streets of Paris 101: you're allowed to eat on the street, but there's a very specific menu you can choose from believe it or not, and apples are not included! Unless you have a killer outfit and don't mind people staring at you as you walk down the street and take a bite out of your apple then take my advice and step away from the apple. I repeat, step away from the apple. Spare yourself the awkwardness and spend a euro or two on the right kind of snack.
And what exactly does this street menu include? Let's start with the cheapest item: the baguette. A long crusty bread stick that the French are so well known for. Yes, you can get a whole 26 inch-long piece of amazing bread for less than a euro (or should I say 60 cm. since we're talking about French food).
Snack #2: This snack is a large category that basically includes different variations of, what other than, bread. There's pain au chocolat (bread and chocolate), profiterole (another variation of bread and chocolate), croissant au beurre (bread and butter -I suspect Julia Child's favorite), croissant au amande (my favorite), and if you want something a little bit more filling you can choose a fougasse (bread and youro choice of cheese, olives, pepperoni etc.)
Proper street food #3: If you've had bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the past three days and are slightly tired of eating straight out of the oven bread, which is possible, then have no fear! You can always get a baguette sandwich! Gyros, falafels, and kabobs are also acceptable, but they can get a little messy and then you risk getting a few wide-eyed stares.
And the final item on the menu is, of course, a crepe. The crepe complete is perfect for a full meal if you need something more than a snack. It includes ham, cheese, and an egg. You can get all of this for only 3 euros! Ding, ding, ding! However, you'll have to go the Motte-Picquet metro stop, the cheapest crepe complete I've found so far. If you don't mind paying a little more for the best street crepes, then I suggest going to Les Meilleures Crepes de Paris at the Grand Boulevards metro stop. The name is not an overstatement. Tip: if you decide to go there, I suggest you skip breakfast, lunch, and any other snacks in between because these crepes are pretty damn filling.
Now that you're equipped with the right knowledge to eat on the streets of Paris, go forth and eat great things! If you decide to ignore this menu then it's at your own risk. You've been warned. Choose to eat an apple and you might not suffer Snow White's circumstances, but you might get a few appalled looks from very proper French people as well as a sarcastic "Bon appetit, Mademoiselle" or a "Vous avez bien mange?"
I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I just wish they would have published some kind of "street menu" in the restaurants section of Paris guide books. At least now you know.
Then again, if you're only touring Paris for a few days, then you won't be thinking about eating apples. At least I hope not. You're in Paris!!! Bring on the carbs!
P.S. - After very precise experimentation and attempts of not taking my own advice, I have come to the conclusion that the reason why French do not eat apples on the go is because it's nearly impossible to gracefully say Bonjour! after taking a bite of your apple - the average French says Bonjour! approximately 237 times a day.