I think this would be a good junction to mention breakfast. Now, it’s been drilled into all of our heads that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and provides us with the energy to start our day. Even as we Americans acknowledge this fact, a whopping percentage of Americans don’t eat breakfast. You can look up an estimate yourself. But in France, they eat breakfast. How do I know? Because I had cake for my second breakfast today.
Adeline, a young woman in my group, had her 23th birthday today. Obviously this merited a grand celebration with a cake and coffee! But what was unexpected was the time at which we ate said cake– we had the cake at 9:30 am. The cake was graciously prepared by Sebastien, and it was a gateau d’abricot (apricot cake). But it amazed me that we hadn’t even started the real part of our day and here we were eating cake. Apparently everyone else knew that this was going to be breakfast because no one else had eaten much. Well, some people were eating chocolate. People here love chocolate. Chocolate bars, chocolate bread, chocolate cake, chocolate everything. And hardly any of them weigh a thing even if they eat cake for breakfast.
You would think that I would have learned something from my experience last Friday morning. So I sauntered in around 8:45 am. My entire lab group minus the bosses was already there but they work 8-4 so they can go home to their kids. The bosses come around 9 or 9:30, so once everyone was there, I was informed that it was time to go to the coffee room (we get free coffee, tea, and water. It’s France). I was like, oh, a coffee break at 9:45? Sure, but that seems late, our coffee breaks usually happen at 8:45 am; turns out it was time for BREAKFAST. Confused, I asked why we were all eating breakfast together. Here, instead of Happy Hour at 5 pm on Fridays where we schmooze around booze, here we elect to eat croissants, pain au chocolats, and other tasty French bakery items. It’s as Marie Antoinette said. Let them eat cake.