The mystery: the French eat and drink everything, yet have lower heart disease rates. And are clearly thinner than we are. And portion sizes are not tiny. Want proof about the eating? Here is what Denise had for lunch yesterday in St. Remy: a goat-cheese-french toast-and-bacon salad.

The guy next to us ate an entire wheel of warm gooshy Camembert. Washed down with Pastis. A few of them. We saw a guy knock back 3 pastis in the morning in Uzes at the cafe as we nursed our cafe creme. And here is the salad nicoise I ordered a few days ago:

So what’s the secret? Walking. Everyone walks, all the time, up and down many stairs, to and from stores (since parking is horrible). Same in Paris – many apartments are 5 and 6-floor walk-ups with no elevators, and you have to traipse many meters, up and down many stairs to make metro changes. (We always find it amusing that in realtor ads for sales they use the phrase ‘ascenseur possible’ as a selling point: no elevator, but it is possible for there to be one one day! That’s to signal that, in this particular old building, there is both space and building-level agreement that there could, someday, perhaps be one. Mais pas maintenant.)

I have lost a bunch of pounds and my back is stronger from walking. Even though I have not resisted un pichet de vin rose at lunch and bread all day. Who knew health could be so enjoyable?

I’ll have more to say later this week on the more serious issues of the day. I have been ruminating on the teaching of history and why it so often fails to generate enthusiasm in students as a result of visiting ancient Roman sites in southern France (Arles, Pont du Gard, Glanum near St. Remy). I also want to highlight some happy trends in AP history. Mais pas maintenant. Right now I need to dig into my almond croissant and coffee. Sante!

 

 

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