Zen Eats Paris

I just came back from a much needed vacation with the family in France. This post is not the ultimate guide to eating in Paris, just a little glimpse at how we do it in the old country and it starts with a picnic at home. The abundance of delicious foods in every neighborhoods makes it quite easy to improvise a dinner. On the table some quiches, a jambonneau, a delicious pâté de campagne, a pig feet with sauce gribiche, olives and some truly incredible cheeses from Rodolphe Le Meunier (MOF) i brought back from a memorable adventure in Tours a day earlier. Add a few baguettes, a bottle of Bordeaux and a green salad and i’m in heaven.

For dessert we had some of the best chocolate éclair i ever tasted. They were bought at Le Furet Tanrade, a pastry shop around the corner from my brother’s apartment also famous for its homemade jams and that has been in business since 1728. Those éclair were deep, dark and perfect. My waistline is expanding just thinking about them.

And since we’re talking about expanding waistlines how could you not resist a strawberry and mint baba from Lenôtre as well as a few other goodies i won’t post for decency reason. Okay, maybe just because they were eaten before i could take a picture.

Of course, Paris is known for its temples of high gastronomy. Those establishment run my kitchen Gods capable to imprint your memory with tastes and sensations you’ll remember as long as you live, but during this trip i was more in the mood (and in the budget) to explore the classic bistros to see for myself, as a lot has been written on the subject, if they were a dying breed.

I don’t know if i was under the charm of the authentic decor or just lucky but i don’t have any horror story to report as i didn’t have a single bad meal while i was there. Is it just me?  The classics, which is what you should order when eating in those old bistros were well prepared and quite delicious. I had snails, terrines, pied de cochons, cotes de boeuf and desserts like creme caramel and ile flottante and i haven’t been disappointed. No thrills, but good. That’s what a bistro should be about.

On the left, one of the last subway stop kept like in 1900. In montmartre.

The picture on the right is a little look at my brother’s antique camera / early cinema boutique. During the time i was there an assistant for Martin Scorcese was busy buying a whole lot of antique things for an upcoming movie. So stay tuned as you may see some of these pieces on the big screen soon.

That’s just me practicing taking photos at night. That’s, of course, a little look at Notre-Dame taken from the Seine.

If window licking is more your speed you could do that on rue montorgueil, my old neighborhood. Stohrer’s pastry shop was opened in 1730 by Nicolas Stohrer who was previously Louis XV pastry chef. He was also the inventor of the Baba au Rhum and they claim the recipe hasn’t changed since. The pastry chef have though, err.. i hope.

And Paris wouldn’t be Paris without street artists, musicians and dudes doing Superman tricks on lamp poles. This guy clearly didn’t have what i had for lunch.

Another old bistro that’s been in business since 1896, the food at Chartier is definitely not was it used to be but the room, the atmosphere of old Paris and the cheap prices make it a descent place to have a quick lunch if you stick to the basics. I had an andouillette and a Pêche Melba that were quite good. Watching the servers carrying so many plates also makes it worth the trip.

In case you haven’t noticed, i love wandering around the Seine at night. Across from the river “La Conciergerie”, a former royal palace and prison in Paris infamous for its reputation as the “antechamber to the guillotine” during the Reign of Terror, the bloodiest phase of the French Revolution. Scaryyy..

We don’t care much about cutting people’s heads anymore. We much rather make colorful and delicious things instead and a trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without indulging on macarons. Pictured above the display of Eric Kayser’s boutique.

I think i got a little carried away on my quest for the perfect macaron. Pictured, boxes from Eric Kayser, Gerard Mulot, Ladurée, Pierre Hermé, Jhules and Cafe Pouchkine.

My favorite macarons were eaten one afternoon at the terrace of a cafe rue de Vaugirard and came from Pierre Hermé’s boutique. And i’m not sure if my favorite was the Pietra macaron (praline-noisette) or the olive-oil-vanilla macaron as they were both out of this world delicious. One thing is sure though, what made them even more delicious is the excellent company i was sharing them with..

Hope you enjoyed this little tour. Let’s finish with a little look at my ‘home’ away from home…


If you enjoyed this post there’s more in the Zen Eats! serie:

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  • http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com vanillasugar

    zenman- this is exactly how paris should be done. perfect. (and i hate you now) lol

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    Que Paris me manque! Merci pour ces beaux souvenirs de mon ancienne ville! Et moi aussi, j’habitais dans le quartier Montorgueil pendant pres de 6 ans. Ça me manque énormement.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your quest for the perfect macaron!!! Gorgeous appart, as well!

  • http://www.stirthepots.com Jeremy

    Nice, did you watch some of the Tour De France??

    More food, bravo!

  • http://www.chezus.com Chez Us

    Ahhh, we just missed each other. We got back on the 10th after a lovely month there!! Love looking at your photos and reading about your trip – beautiful memories! Even the silly pole guy who we bumped into a few times!!

  • http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com Katty’s Kitchen

    Lovely photo tour–merci!

  • http://freshlevant.com Anita

    I really enjoyed this little tour, love your blog (new reader) :)

  • http://wwwbunnysovencom.blogspot.com/ Cyndy

    Lovely meal and the macaron’s so colorful. Is that Tongue in aspic?

  • http://ciaochowlinda.blogspot.com Ciaochowlinda

    What a nice tour. Paris is always beautiful. How great that you still have family there to visit.

  • http://mytastyhandbook.com Adelina

    The pics are gorgeous. I wish I could taste all those macaroons.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    A STRAWBERRY baba?? Oh my! I’ve never seen the likes of those before. I must scour the Bay Area to see if anyone might be making those. If not, I’m jetting to France to get one. 😉

  • http://www.aspicyperspective.com Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective

    Sommer wants to eat Paris too! Love the snaps!

  • http://MyKugelhopf.ch Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf

    fabulous post ! it’s always so fun to see this one or that one’s paris. i always have different experiences, staying with parisian friends, or going with family from outside of paris, or bouncing around by myself. the latter definitely results in similar photos to the colorful macaron one above ! (and i love night shots on the seine too). going to kayser is a daily routine for me, for all of his breads (fig is my fave), but never actually tasted his macarons. alors ?? aside from pierre herme on top, how would you rank the rest, 2 to 6 ?? thanks for sharing all ! :)

    ps – cool boutique your brother has !

  • http://melaniemusings2@wordpress.com Melanie

    I love Paris!!Thank you for the lovely tour–it brings back so many wonderful memories of Paris. I studied there and lived there and enjoyed it so much.MERCI!

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com stacey snacks

    Weren’t these photos in Elle Decor?
    Love them all…..now I am even more excited for our upcoming Paris trip.
    I guess you visited the Colloquial Cook in Tours?
    Love the table of quiches and terrines……glad you saw your famille and relaxed, now back to work!

  • http://simmerdownfood.com noëlle {simmer down!}

    I love doing “picnic” suppers at home… I only wish we had access to the amazing prepared foods you can get over there! My picnics at home usually just consist of bread, charcuterie, cheese, green salad, and olives. (Oh and don’t forget the vin rouge of course!)

  • http://www.beaulotus.blogspot.com Beaulotus

    I am very envious, what a lovely, colourful and very tempting post!

    How I miss Chartier and having my bill totalled up on the paper table cloth by the grumpy waiter.

    It certainly makes me miss Paris and my quartier which is just round the l’Arc de Triomphe…

    Your bro has a lovely flat, is it in a pierre de taille building?

  • http://kitchen-em.blogspot.com/ Kitchen M

    Welcome back! Glad you had such a great time.
    But now it’s my turn to be jealous! When you go there next time, please take me with you. :)

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Just look at all those macarons… *drools*

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    What a wonderful travel photologue. I’ve been wanting to go back to France ever since I was there in 2001. This post just sharpened that desire. Beautiful photos.

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Great photos Stephane, and when are you taking me to France;-P

  • http://kitchen-confidante.com Liren

    Sigh, this reminds me that it is time to return to France. It’s been way too long. Thanks for the peek into your Paris!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com TS of eatingclub vancouver

    Oh wow. So nice.

  • http://itsnotyouitsbrie.com Its Not You, it’s Brie

    My fav was the Pierre Hermé olive-oil-vanilla macaroon. I was going to try to bring some back for friends in the states but they got smooshed in my luggage and i had to eat them all myself.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    Having just returned from paris myself, I was so excited to hear about your culinary adventure there. I would agree that Hermé had the best macarons, did you get a chance to try an Ispahan? So good it will make you weep. – S

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    Stephane – I’m trying to convince myself that I am NOT green with envy – but well, I really am! I like how you took us behind “your’ holiday – not that touristy stuff – so much more authentic.

  • http://www.bunkycooks.com/ bunkycooks

    I was in the process of deleting 300+ posts from FB when I saw this! I love the photos from Paris. Can I come and visit? 😉

  • LeCuisier

    Hurt me, beat me, make me write bad checks! I try to get over once every two years but when I see pics like this, it’s obviously not often enough. Thx for sharing. If I can’t be there in person, reading blogs like this is the next best thing.

  • http://www.gratineeblog.com Darina

    What a fabulous post! Thanks for sharing about your trip. I so envy you. My trip to Paris two years ago is the reason I started my blog and began immersing myself in French food and culture. Hopefully I will have the chance to visit again soon. For now, I live vicariously through you.

  • http://www.colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Reviens vite, d’acc?


  • http://www.kitchentravels.com Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    When I was in high school, I lived in France for a month as an exchange student. The good news? I spoke only French the entire time, I fell in love with my host family and the countryside surrounding Lyon, I enjoyed amazing food, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The bad news? I never made it to Paris… and I haven’t been back to France since.

    So, all that is to say, merci beaucoup for the wonderful photo tour of Paris! 😉

  • http://www.theardentepicure.com/ Magic of Spice

    Love this post…saved to re-view when I go to Paris in the Spring:)

  • http://www.tomatokumato.com emiglia

    You’re making me even more excited than I was to be back there! Less than a week now… j’ai hâte! Any must sees/eats from the master?

  • http://kitchenmusings.com veron

    Like you, I was on my quest to find the best macaron in Paris. It’s Pierre Herme, no doubt.

  • http://twitter.com/glamah glamah@cococooks

    Sigh… I miss Paris.So many good years there. Thanks for a great post.