Watching this year's Tour de France reminds me of an earlier race.

I was in Paris, gloating that I'd managed to book a very modestly priced hotel, given that I was there for the finish of the race and the city was heaving.  It turned out that the modest price of the hotel reflected that it was in a less than modest area.  When I set out to get a bit of dinner a young lady wearing six inch heels and an eight inch skirt (or it might have been eight inch heels and a six inch skirt)  greeted me in the foyer to inquire about whether I had any other appetites she could fulfill. The hotel was in the middle of the red light district.  I declined her offer but asked if she would point me to a restaurant favoured by locals rather than tourists, which she did.

I ended up in a little brasserie, only a dozen tables, the only foreigner in the place.  There was one item on the menu I didn't recognise, so totally clueless, that's what I ordered.  The waiter raised an eyebrow and asked if I knew what I'd ordered.  I said I had no idea, and he explained it was a traditional sausage, a very strong, traditional sausage.


You could smell it coming long before it reached the table, even though it was covered by a salver.  When the waiter lifted the salver, the stench was just revolting.  I can only imagine that the anaemic sausage before me had been steeped in a bucket of neat ammonia for a month.

I'll try anything once and I reckon I can eat anything once.  I did manage to get a good chunk of the thing into my mouth but despite my best efforts to swallow, some survival instinct kicked in and I just couldn't.

I was in some distress at this point, it was so vile, and as I tried to discreetly jettison it into my napkin I caught the eye of the waiter, who was doing a pretty poor job of stifling his laughter.  At least he was trying - the couple on the table next to me were wetting themselves. Andouillette.

Be warned.  Not for the faint hearted.


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