I'm not sure why it took us a year and a half to discover French honey, but it did. But now that we've found it, there is so much to learn.
As with everything, honey is not simply honey in France. There are an infinite number of kinds of honey, from the thin, syrupy type that you might pour in tea or use in cooking, to honey thicker than butter that you spread directly on your toast. We finally visited La Maison du Miel, which, while touristy, is certainly worth a visit for no other reason than you can taste a lot of delicious honey for free. The store has been around since 1905, so they certainly know their honey. And if eating honey isn't enough for you, there are honey candles, honey lotions, honey candy, and more.
Lavender honey, rosemary honey, rhododendron honey, mountain honey, lime-tree honey, acacia honey, fir tree honey - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Some tasted almost smoky, some had a bitter after taste, but all of them have a unique flavor. We came home with a thick, spreadable lavender honey that even Baby Oil has been requesting on his toast.
Most of my life right now consists of feeding Mademoiselle (you know, when I'm not feeding myself). In France, you only visit your pediatrician a full month after you leave the hospital. During that month, and the months following, however, most people visit their local PMI (Protection Maternelle et Infantile) at least once. Each arrondissement has a PMI office, which holds daily "pesees-conseils" (weight advice sessions) during which you simply drop-in, weigh your baby, and can discuss with the staff whether your baby is gaining enough weight, how often they are eating, etc. You can also take care of immunizations at the PMI if you prefer - and all of this is completely free of charge.
Mademoiselle was a bit underweight at her one-month check up, so I went to the PMI to check on her weight for each of the last two weeks. So last Thursday I showed up, they weighed her, recorded her weight in her carnet de sante (portable health record that the parent keeps), and calculated how many grams she has gained each day on average. Baby Oil played with the excellent selection of toys available while I chatted with the PMI workers.
The next day - Friday - my phone rang around 5:45pm. It was the woman from the PMI, and she explained that the previous evening she realized she had made a mistake in calculating Mademoiselle's weight gain per day, and she wanted to correct it in our records. This error bothered her so much that she was standing outside our building, wondering if she could come up for a few minutes to correct the mistake.
I said yes, of course, but was mostly flabbergasted by what was happening. To be honest, I hadn't even looked at the number she had written down - I paid attention to her actual weight but wasn't sure I had to care about the grams per day business. The woman walked in with white-out in her hand, whited-out the calculation from yesterday while explaining that upon realizing her error, she had been unable to sleep all night. She then filled in the correct number, and told me that now she could rest easy for the weekend. She also told me that she hoped I would not hold this mistake against the PMI and that I would continue to come and partake of their (free) services.
I don't know if this is typical or not - frankly, I'm guessing not - but it certainly was impressive!