I don't think it is any secret that the French have a profound respect for the provenance and quality of their food, that far exceed that of the average Briton. Yes, some aspects may have been eroded with fast-food joints in major cities and probably a certain amount of convenience food creeping into everyday life, but so many things on my recent trip to Paris demonstrated how the French devotion to food and ingredients remains admirably strong. Just along from our hotel, the food market at Place Monge had, I'd estimate, 12 fruit and vegetable stalls, each piled high with beautifully displayed produce, some organic. On Sunday and Wednesday strolls through the market 11 of the stalls had nobody at them, but one had a queue that I could scarcely believe - on the Sunday stretching round two sides of the square with upwards of 60 people patiently waiting to be served "direct from the farm" fruit and veg that was the scruffiest of the market, caked in mud and piled in shallow trays rather than the displays of the other stands. Same again in the Wednesday. On the next corner to my hotel a really good looking butcher, with eight different farm chicken breeds for sale, priced between 30 and 40 Euros for a small bird, and doing a roaring trade with customers young and old. On the place Maubert, I passed this baker early one morning and thought we must try the croissants, so headed off for breakfast next morning intending to buy a couple and retire to the cafe next door. Arriving at 9:30, the extensive shelves had been completely cleared, with not a crumb remaining and just a couple of staff cleaning down before pulling down the shutters. Bakers all around still had their croissants on sale.