Below is the final installment of our European tour. Check out our earlier installments here:
People who write much better than me have said much more eloquent things about the beauty of Paris. The buildings, the streets, the storefronts, the food, everything is ideal. Go visit it.
Need a reason? Go eat this:
This was lunch at Les Bistrot Des Halles, a nondescript cafe with fantastic ambiance. There’s dozens of these in France. Lucking into one as a tourist was such a satisfying victory.
I mean, look at that board of food. What can I say? Of course it was delicious. Again, go visit Paris. Pretty neat place.
OK, on to the chips.
Lays rules the roost in France. Of the stores I visited (including a Carrefour and a few convenience stores), Lays was the primary chip offered.
It’s odd that the next country over carries the Walker’s brand, yet every chip is branded as Lays across, from what I understand, is the rest of Europe.
I really liked the standard Lay’s flavor offerings, which included Bolognaise (French spelling), Spicy, and Fromage. I opted for:
Chip 11: Lay’s France Poulet Roti
Roast Chicken! Was there any other option? They were great. Perhaps it was the Parisian euphoria, but these just tasted really fresh.
When I purchased these chips, the clerk asked me if I would also be getting champagne to accompany them (I declined). Surprisingly that’s the first time that question had ever been asked to me in a convenience store.
And, hey: did you notice that the logo looks slightly different? The y in Lay’s has a loop. In the U.S. logo, there’s no loop.
Chip 12: Real Handcooked Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar
Yes I had English crisps in France. They were purchased from a liquor store, where a colleague was selecting a prime bottle of bordeaux to bring back. Of course, I did what you should do in a French wine store, which is go check out the chip selection.
As a reader you may expect more variety or criticism in my reviews, but these tasted good too. They were the most heavily seasoned of any chips I encountered in Europe. Just wish I could’ve seen the Real Handcooked cheddar and mustard package in person.
Chip 13: Bret’s Les Natures a l’ancienne
No potato chip experience is complete without a purchase from a vending machine. Fortunately, where I was was working for the week sported a chip option in its machine (a rarity in France – sweets far outnumbered salty options). I’d never heard of Bret’s, but my interest is now piqued. 1 Euro later and I was sated with a solid, original chip.
The last two chips again were bought outside of Paris proper, but still considered part of the European journey.
Chip 14: Lay’s Nature
Charles de Gaulle airport had limited chip options, so I opted for plain Lay’s. Yeah, they were fine.
Last but not least…
Chip 15: Darling Spuds Crushed Natural Sea Salt
Ending a trip to Europe with a bag of posh crisps was a fitting ending. Yes, they were quite good.
These were served on a United transatlantic flight. Why can’t we get similar quality snacks in the states on our normal runs? The bag was small enough. Make it happen!
It’s eye opening to confirm some of the things you hear about chips from overseas. But the true value of the trip was to see and experience things out of what I see every day.
I relish seeing what’s ordinary to people. Potato chips are a great window to other people’s ordinary. Something exotic to me can be the most mundane, “why are you taking a picture of this bag of crisps” thing to someone in Europe.
I hope you enjoyed the potato chip journey through England and France. Please leave your feedback in the comments.