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OFFBEAT

Is it really true you can’t get a decent curry in France?

Curry loving British expats have long complained about the Indian food on offer in France. But is it really true that you can't find a good curry on this side of the Channel?

Is it really true you can't get a decent curry in France?
Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Flickr
The complaints about the lack of good quality curries available in France from British expats are frequent and numerous. 
 
Recently a group of curry-loving British expats in France who yearned for a “proper Indian takeaway in France” even went as far as chartering their own plane, dubbed “curry air” to deliver a takeaway from the UK.
 
Many Brits who move to France lament that their days of chowing down on delicious spicy curries are behind them and their first port of call when visiting home is often not their family or friends but a curry house.
 
But is it true that a good curry is impossible to find on this side of the Channel? We asked our readers.  
 
“You can't get a good curry in France because there has traditionally been very little immigration from the countries concerned ie Bangladesh, Pakistan and India,” said Mandy Davies.
 
“Most immigration is from North Africa and, in the East, from Vietnam. Even when you do find restaurants selling curry they are adapted to the French taste. In my local town that means serving it as a sandwich with frites!!”
 
 
And crucially tailoring to it to French taste mean very little spice and much smaller portions to what curry eating Brits might be used to.
 
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British expats in France charter plane to deliver curry takeaway from UKPhoto: James Emery/Facebook

Reader Carlos Nilmmns agreed: “The last time I ordered pakora I only got 2 disappointing little crumb-like balls which accompanied some greasy fritter type thing which was not pakora… None of the restaurants I've visited here seem to put any spice in their curries either.”
 
And Liam Bogit told of his curry woes in the south of France.
 
“I have frequently eaten in Aix and in Salon and the food was tasteless and the popodoms were tiny and dry. I don't know whether it is also a question of getting the supplies (just like finding it hard getting decent beef for a nice roast),” he said. 
 
 
Many readers said that while it might not be impossible, finding a good place for a curry in France could be a challenge. 
 
“You really REALLY have to know where to look,” wrote Kieran Colfer. “And know some natives from whatever country you're looking for the curry from. And don't ask any French people, they don't know anything about curry, or spices.”
 
“Every 'ethnic' restaurant with very few exceptions tailors their recipes slightly to suit the local palate, so, 'genuine' is hard to get,” he added. 
 
Some readers suggested that if you're looking for a good curry in France, it might be best to just learn how to make one yourself at home.
 
Photo: SteFou!/Flickr
 
“Actually….do it yourself…it’s easy. Curry powders, mixes and paste – Indian and Asian – are available at many markets as is coconut milk,” said Ken Stern. 
 
Another reader, Karin McKenna agreed: “You can [find them] if you make them yourself. Unfortunately, Le Curry, is frequently nothing more than a faintly spicy yellow sauce.”
 
 
Others suggested a more extreme solution for getting a good curry. 
 
“Just catch a ferry to Brexit Kingdom for a proper Indian. Or be content with french food, it is good,” said Chris Gee. 
 
But there were some who were positive about their curry experiences in France. 
 
“There are some fantastic Indian restaurants in the bigger towns!!” said Kayley Wells. 
 
And if you're in Paris Steve Hayes recommends the Indian restaurants on Faubourg St Denis just alongside Gare du Nord including Dosas.
 
“We get up to Paris, eat there and then have the traditional family joke, ok we've had our Indian now, no need to catch the Eurostar. Crowded, quick and excellent,” said Hayes.
 
As for us at The Local France we can recommend Aux Comptoirs des Indes in the 11th although you'll need to ask them to spice it up for you and Lakshmi Bavan in the 9th arrondissement.
 
We would love to hear your recommendations so please join in the debate on our Facebook page.
 
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18 ways your eating and drinking habits change when you live in FrancePhoto: Jorge Royan/Flickr

OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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