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 Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein

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