Map image available here at Lonely Planet.
A sandwich (or a pizza) is a good low-budget option for lunch while in France, but just get ready for some differences. Here's a general set of guidelines to help in ordering these easy-on-the-budget food items.
The Classic: Jambon beurre: As plain and simple as it sounds. Straight up ham and butter. Yes, butter. It is fabulous. Do not even think about saying hey, may I have mayonnaise and mustard instead of butter? Pretty soon you will be wanting luscious French butter on all your sandwiches back home. When the ingredients are fresh, you don't need much for a great sandwich. What you really should be more concerned about here is the bread. Not all bread is created equal in France. But that is a post for another day.
The Other Classic. Jambon fromage: Ham and cheese. The cheese will be gruyère. Remove "Cheddar," "Colby," and "Monterrey Jack" from your vocabulary and from your mind when in France. Given you are in the land of 246+ cheeses, as General Charles de Gaulle famously remarked, you should not be missing those Austin standards. You may have a strong yearning for nachos and queso by the time you get home, but enjoy for now the bounty of France's triple cream goodness while you can.
Crudités: You may see a sandwich described as having crudités: that's what we would call the add-ons of lettuce and tomato. They will be in small quantities. Remember this is the land of moderation, not the land of the Big Gulp.
Thon. My favorite. It's a tuna (thon) sandwich. And I've seen it only with slices of hard-boiled egg (oeuf) on it. The best one I ever had in Angers was in a very tiny bakery off a little side street that leads into the Place Louis Imbach (see map above).
Poulet et Crudités. Chicken with lettuce and tomato. This one I see frequently. I have never had it. The chicken has just never appealed to me.
Camembert. A dreamy sandwich. Slices of Camembert, on the butter-slathered bread, as your lunch. This is the real Camembert straight from Normandie with raw milk, the stuff you cannot get in the U.S. If you have never liked Camembert in the U.S., give it a try in France.
Here's a post I like about a couple of cafés I have enjoyed in Paris. The post also includes a nice description of sandwich options and photos.
As briefly mentioned in the previous Austin Week post, there are a couple of go-to places I rely on for sandwiches. There is that little place off the Place du Ralliement, where in fact there is a far more exotic array of sandwiches than the basics mentioned above (see photo below). They have a lot of options with salmon (saumon), avocado (avocat), as well as a poulet with mayonnaise. All of these combinations are assembled on metal trays, just waiting for you to decide on your choice of bread so they can slide the assembled ingredients onto said bread.
La formule. This is not a sandwich. This is an important vocabulary word when ordering a sandwich. There will be signs explaining the package deals (Ia formule): sandwich/boisson (drink) or sandwich/dessert. The latter is self-explanatory: Apple tart (tarte aux pommes) and apricot tart (tarte aux abricots) are standards for the dessert choice. The slices are huge for a country so inclined to moderation in food portions.
Some desserts may require paying a little extra (un supplément) if you want them with the formule. A slice of that yummy "choc'o roi" cake for example, created and made right there in Angers by Maison Bécam, probably requires un supplément.
The beautiful packaging for the Choc'o Roi.
Sometimes chips are available as part of the formule.
You may also see, such as at train stations, a formule for your breakfast: there is the formule for un café and your choice of viennoisserie, or pastry, such as a croissant, a pain au chocolat, or maybe even a pain aux raisins. And if you see beignets at the café in the train station (la gare) in Angers, order them. I love those things: cinnamon-sprinkled fried dough is one of the three little beignets you will get. The others are filled. I wish all three were just the cinnamon and chocolate ones.
An egg on the pizza is frequent. Don't say "ugh" just yet. The pizza generally is super crispy and very thin and not the amount of cheese you are used to seeing in pizza commercials on TV in the U.S. Ham is a frequent topping, but there are plenty of other options that will sound familiar, such as a Marguerite. My usual order when I get a pizza is ham, cheese, and mushrooms (les champignons). Although there is no pepperoni pizza, enjoy the fact that a goat cheese and rich heavy cream pizza is a possibility (I had one of those in Paris, once or twice).
There is an extra special something that comes with pizza in France, however: a bottle of spicy olive oil. There is typically no Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the pizza, but yes there is this spicy olive oil. Drizzle it all over that pizza once you are ok with the spiciness. Then take the crusty ends of that pizza that you left for the end of the meal and run them through the olive oil left there on the tray to get every last drop of it. You will miss this when you are not in France.
To the English speaker it may sound funny to say out loud what sounds like "where are the toilets." Get used to it. That's what you need to ask for when you are looking for the restrooms. Don't be saying "salle de bain," which is what you might (wrongly) consider the right way to ask for the bathroom/restroom in France. They will think you want to settle in for a long soapy bath. Just ask where are les toilettes: "S'il vous plait, où sont les toilettes?"
There are telltale signs around a café or restaurant to find les toilettes, just as you can intuit this in an American establishment. If you see a tiny set of stairs heading downstairs, les toilettes may be down there. If you see a set of stairs heading upstairs, that also could be where les toilettes are. Or they may just be towards the back of the café or restaurant. Look for signage. Gender neutral has been very common in France for some time. If there are male and female toilettes, there is probably a common sink that is situated outside the two little rooms that comprise les toilettes.
By all means take advantage of a nice toilettes stop if you are at a musuem, such as the Musée des Beaux Arts (see map above), or the Château d'Angers, or the Musée Jean Lurçat and the adjoining Museum of Contemporary Tapestry. (They are on the other side of the Maine river. If you have time, take a little walk over there. It is a super charming part of Angers.)
The tapestry at the Musée Jean Lurcat.
You really should not just walk into a café and use the facilities though. At least stand at the counter (where prices are always less than those for service on the sunny outside terrace) and have a quick café as an excuse to use the facilities.
Not sitting at the counter for coffee. This day in May 2016 in Angers was just too pretty to be inside.
The public toilettes below ground level on the Place du Ralliement are perfectly fine though. And believe it or not, train station bathrooms are pretty fantastic. Even in Paris. Just get your change ready. You must pay the attendant (or a machine) the required entry fee for the privilege of using those facilities, including at the train station (la gare) in Angers. This is one reason why I advocate traveling with some cash (euros). I saw a bathroom attendant in Cannes this past May shut down the whole facility and lock the entry doors because he thought one man did not pay the fee. Have some change on you.
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