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When Thomas Jefferson visited Paris, he was so impressed with the macaroni gratin that he brought back a machine for making his own pasta.

He is even known to have served a “macaroni pie” at a White house state dinner in 1802. Like many Yankee Doodle dishes, this one owes a lot to its French origins. It is no coincidence that July 14, the date of France’s biggest national holiday, is also officially Macaroni and Cheese day in the U.S.

Fall is here, and that means apples are in season all over the U.S. and Europe.

What to do with your surplus? Most of humanity agrees that there are few things better on a chilly fall day than a warm apple pastry, baked in a rich sugar-butter glaze into tender, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. As an alternative to the traditional apple pie, try making a traditional French tart with apples instead.

French brunch is elegant and filling

“Brunch.” In English it can be a noun or a verb, and it’s universally recognized as a hallmark of lazy weekend mornings. Chicago is a city of serious brunch; in fact, Yelp users rated Chicago the number-one brunch city in the U.S. in 2013. Perhaps not surprisingly, you can find cafes, restaurants and even bars in Chicago that serve brunch seven days a week.

Like all things French, sandwiches range from simple to complex

The French love to picnic on holidays like Bastille Day, and sandwiches are of course the perfect picnic food. So it’s patriotic to enjoy a French sandwich, no matter what country you’re in. Contrary to what many Americans may believe, neither the French dip nor the croissant sandwich are actually French. Most classic French sandwiches are made on a baguette, and almost always use butter as the only condiment. If you’re wandering the streets of Paris, you will be tempted by street stalls offering classic French sandwiches of ham and butter, ham and cheese, chicken or chicken salad.

Snacking: the great American pastime

Compared to France, where meals (especially dinner) are lingered over, U.S. mealtimes can seem to be finished before they’ve begun. But how do Americans fill those long, meal-less stretches of hours?

There’s a simple answer: it’s estimated that American consume more than 30% of their daily calories through snacks.

How does Chicago love to celebrate the changing seasons?

With food, of course! Fall is a great time to be outdoors in Chicago. City-dwellers and visitors from all over the world take advantage of one last chance to enjoy great weather and activities before the cold sets in. So next fall, you can pack an authentic French lunch from Maison Parisienne and pair it with some…

 “Eat breakfast like a king, have lunch like a prince, and dine like a beggar.”

So goes the French saying, but Americans might be surprised to find that traditional French breakfasts are very light and never savory. Even King Louis XIV, who was famous for his monumental lunch and dinner banquets, preferred a breakfast consisting of nothing more than tea and broth.

Macaroons, éclairs, croissants, tarts… the French have an almost endless variety of ways to express their love of chocolate.

This love goes back many centuries, to when Anne of Austria brought chocolate to France with her marriage to King Louis XIII in 1615. At first chocolate was primarily drunk as a hot beverage, but chocolate bonbons, pastries and glaces soon exploded in popularity.