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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