Paris was more than everything I had imagined: like something straight out of a movie but with the vividness and personality that can only come from actually walking, talking and eating your way through a city. We stayed in an airbnb in Le Marais, an area I would highly recommend to anyone visiting – it’s full of winding cobblestone streets, gorgeous (and pricy) boutiques, tucked away cafes and yet is still walkable to many of the main tourist areas. The June heat was scorching, with only brief reprieves during escapes into cafes and the breeze we finally located up above the city at the Arc de Triomphe. As promised, here are a few photos (actually lots – after the writing there are a bunch more pictures for those of you who love Paris!) and recommendations of eateries, markets and shops we enjoyed. For a printer friendly version of this Paris Food Guide (picture-less), click here.
A day trip to Versaille: an early breakfast of warm pain au chocolat on the train in an attempt to beat the crowds (partially successful); escaping the waves of heat inside the gilded palace; picnicking on the grass near the canal and accidentally turning a fifteen minute power nap into a two hour siesta; crisp raspberry sorbet and a late evening return back to the dusky evening streets of Paris.
An hour spent delving through the Marche d’Aligre flea market, coming up with a few euro well spent on old wood-handled knives, engraved with Paris, a miniature copper porridge pot, unique loaf tins and handfuls of sweet, cheap cherries. Followed by a visit to Blé Sucré for the flakiest pain au chocolate of the trip, and a wander down the most colourful (and most out of character, for Paris) street – Rue Cremieux. Other browse-worthy shops for those interested in all things food and cooking were:
- E. Dehillerin: aisles upon aisles of floor to ceiling kitchen tools, copper pots and every baking tin you can think of. Julia Child used to frequent here – need I say more?
- G. Detou: heaven for anyone who loves food and interesting ingredients – I had to keep reminding myself of my bank balance.
- Mora: another cookware store near E. Dehillerin – worth a visit if you are already in the area.
Finding tucked away cafes in Le Marais serving up flat whites, macchiatos and afternoon iced cold brew almost as good as Melbourne’s: usually tiny, usually with a side of something sweet, always a much-needed opportunity to recharge. Favourites were:
- Ten Belles Bread and Coffee: a one stop shop for good coffee, sourdough loaves, fresh pastries AND a full brunch menu. Read more about it here.
- Boot Cafe: a teensy tiny outfit with a pale blue, ultra-photographable facade, pulling good coffee and banana bread for a mid morning treat.
- Fragments: perfect for when you actually feel like avocado toast – straight from Melbourne brunch menu, coffee and fresh baked cinnamon buns.
- Ob-La-Di: I probably sound like a stuck record, but – gorgeous blue-tiled space, great coffee and lots of granola options if you’re a sweet breakfast fan. Also make sure to check hours – they’re closed Monday and Tuesday.
- Frenchie To Go: an all day eatery, insta-famous for their colossal Reuben sandwiches – but the fresh-from-the-oven maple bacon scones and morning cinnamon scrolls are the real winners. I’ve heard the Frenchie wine bar is a worth a trip too.
- Cafe Kitsune: located in the stunning Jardin du Palais Royal, Cafe Kitsune is one of the best coffee stops you’ll find down near the Louvre. Try their affogato – ice cream in coffee is totally cool when you’re on holiday!
Venturing out early on quiet, tourist-free streets in search of the best patisseries Paris had to offer. Armed with my camera, and appreciating the only city where buttery, flaky croissants with coffee is a fully acceptable breakfast. I can’t pretend to be an expert, but worth a visit were:
- Du Pain et Des Idées: okay so this isn’t just worth a visit – it’s a MUST visit. If you’re from Melbourne, you know how mind-blowing Lune Croissant is, right? Du Pain et Des Idées is where the owner, Kate Reid, trained (read more HERE). Layers and layers of light, buttery, flaky pastry, swirled into escargots or topped with frangipane and seasonal fruit.
- Poilâne: one of the most famous bread bakeries in the world, apparently. I didn’t get a chance to try their breads, but their tart aux pommes left me a gushing mess. Juicy, caramelised apples, blending soft and gooey into flaky, crisp puff pastry – alongside a view of the most gorgeous streets in Paris.
- Blé Sucré: a place to try classic pain au chocolat, buttery caramel kouign-amann, madeleines and millefeuille. Seek out the nearby Marche d’Aligre too.
- Michelak: modern dessert creations served in jars – perfect for taking away to eat on the grass by the Seine. One favourite layered dark chocolate mousse, sticky salted caramel and fudgy crisp hazelnut praline crumbs.
Being on a student budget, travelling with friends, sweltering through oppressive heat and visiting at a time of year where darkness falls around 10pm meant that picnics became our go-to dinners. Fresh crusty baguettes (try Le Grenier à Pain if in Montmarte), cured meats, cool and creamy goats cheese and bags of cherry tomatoes were the norm. On the few occasions we did eat out, two highlights were:
- Miznon: a bustling, heaving Israeli eatery where whole roasted cauliflowers adorn the walls and the menu is colourfuly handwritten. Think warm, fluffy housemade pita, abundant tahini sauce, juicy lamb meatballs and an abundance of herbs – it’s well worth a trip.
- L’Avant Comptoir: a small plates wine bar best visited for lunch – a short narrow space with only standing room and bar stools. It serves up a variety of small plates, just a few bites each, but so packed with flavour you’ll be thankful it means you can order more. Don’t mistake it for the large bistro next door – you’re looking for the unassuming plastic curtain with the painted pig beside it. You’ll also find huge tubs of hand-churned communal butter and crusty fresh bread adorning the counters (self control is not my forte).
Of course, this was only a brief snapshot and there were countless other restaurants, patisseries, markets and cafes on the list to visit, but I will be back – sooner rather than later.
For a printer friendly version of this document (picture-less), click here.