Sunday, September 14, 2008

European Chains

If you are travelling in Europe, there are two restaurant chains that I would highly recommend.
Pizza Express is a British chain of Italian pizza restaurants. Much more upscale than Pizza Hut, they serve fresh, tasty food in pleasant surroundings and have lots of vegetarian options. I also enjoyed my Italian beer - Peroni Nastro Azzuro.
My favourite place for breakfast in Lille was Le Pain Quotidien in Place Rihour. A Belgian chain, begun in the 1980s, the restaurant prides itself on high-quality organic bread. My breakfast consisted of apple or pear juice, a small pot of yogurt, a basket of wholewheat bread, and a variety of jams, including chocolate spreads. All the food was organic and delicious. They also offered a wide range of loose teas and delicious patisseries for afternoon tea. They serve a variety of open-face sandwiches for lunch or dinner. The chain has now spread to 10 countries worldwide but is still centred in Belgium and northern France. If you like good bread and healthy food, you'll like Le Pain Quotidien.
The FNAC is not a restaurant, although it seems to sell almost everything else you could possibly desire in the way of leisure activities. They have a huge range of books, music, video, computer and photography products. They also organize concerts, sell magazines, and operate a travel agency. And it's all in the same location with 69 stores in France and 41 stores in Greece, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy.

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