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It’s no secret that I love Belleville. I fully support the “Belleville Hills” t-shirts I’ve seen around the neighborhood the past couple of years, proclaiming pride in this area of eastern Paris. The colors, the people, the odors ! The ongoing construction projects and the racaille, or riff-raff ! They all make up this vibrant, working-class area I call (almost) home.
Autumn in Paris means one thing to gourmands all over the city : wild mushrooms ! Varied, earthy, and delicious, wild mushrooms are nature’s gift to Parisians courageous enough to hunt for the delicacy in nearby Fontainebleau forest. But centuries ago, mushrooms were suspect at best. And at worst ? They were downright scandalous.
What is it about Paris that inspires flânerie, or aimless wandering, past shop windows and brightly lit cafés, where couples sit enchanted with their own company ? It could be the short, typically northern-latitude winter days, when only the highest apartment windows shine with the reflection of a sun so low in the sky that it seems it will never climb back up to its summer zenith.