Je t’ame Paris

Poilane bakeryYes I went to Paris and managed to eat my way through all the good food Paris has to offer. Sadly I did not remember to take photos of everything and in fact enjoyed myself immensely. I do have a good amount of photos to share bore you with.

The apartment was quite small, however having been to Paris before, I knew what to expect. It was a nice apartment however in a great area of the Marais (3rd arrondissement – Art et Metiers area). The weather was glorious most days (sunny and 19), the food was abundant and fresh. The wine was excellent of course, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. So much so that in spite of walking nearly 10 miles a day, I still managed to put on 3 pounds. C’est la vie.

We finally made it out to Versailles, and managed a commando mission into the Louvre to see exactly what we wanted to see with photos and get the heck out of there.

We started our explorations all over Paris oddly in the Père Lachaise Cemetery to see the graves of Victor Hugo, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, and Edith Piaf. It was also quite something to see all the massive holocaust memorials there.

Breakfast at Les deux magotsI won’t turn this into a review of we went here this day and followed this route, but am happy to pass on any maps etc if anyone asks. We had a lovely breakfast at Les Deux Magots on our second day in Paris. Strong, rich cafe creme, perfectly crusty tartine with naughty french butter for me, and a pain au chocolat for hubby. It is a noisy touristy area, but great for people watching. They even serve bread from la Poilâne. It is probably against the law to serve bad bread in France (ok except for the eurotunnel terminal), but I really enjoyed the sourdough from la Poilâne, lovely yeasty firm sourdough.

Let’s be honest here, the reason we came to Paris and stayed in an apartment for the week was so that we could hit the markets, eat market fresh food, and have the roast chickens that are cooked over potatoes. My husband was adamant about this point.

Rotisserie chicken bastille market ParisWe liked the chicken so much that not only did we have one from the bastille market, we had another later in the week from a lovely butchers shop in Place Maubert. Each time we just had the chicken with the gorgeous potatoes it was cooked with served with a large crispy green salad and a lovely glass of Sancerre. My idea of heaven. I am going to attempt to recreate the potatoes myself at home. Imagine potatoes cooking for 2 hours slowly with all the delicious chicken juices dripping on to them, with the addition of some sweet onion and garlic. Oh yeah!

The seafood looked lovely as well, but we decided to skip that for

Raspail market Paristhis trip. Next stop the covered market in St Germain. It wasn’t really that impressive, and as we were looking for picnic type items to sit outside and eat we ended up at the bakery on the corner of rue Lobineau. Oh my!

Gérard Mulot was the bakery (or pâtisserie) and they made a mean macaron. I had a delicious vanilla one. It was lightly crispy on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside and the filling was vanilla bean buttercream that was just the right amount of sweet. Not the tooth achingly sweet of most buttercreams. I am sure I went into a trance while eating it.  I kept hearing that I *HAD* to try the macaron from Ladurée but each time I went into one, I didn’t really think they looked all that special and I am not into foods that use oddly dyed food colouring (picture Mrs Slocombe’s hair). Shock horror not to LOVE Ladurée, and I know someone will disagree, but as they now have shops in the UK, I can try one here in London whenever I want.

Gérard Mulot bakery rue de Lobineau ParisMoving rapidly along, one restaurant I need to definitely tell you about is Au Bascou, a basque restaurant on rue Reaumur (3rd arrondisement). We found it mentioned in a good food guide and as it was 5 minutes from the apartment, I practiced my best French and went in and made reservations for 8pm for dinner, not knowing really what to expect. We started with the french menu, but after googling most things we didn’t understand the manager took pity on us and brought over the english menu and we were off! We both opted for traditional basque meals with seafood to start and a really lovely stew type dish for the main meal. Apologies for the lack of photos, but I hate to play the tourist sometimes and as we were out for a nice meal, didn’t bother with the camera. I found I had to make up for lost time as the trip went along on photos. However I can say the meal, while a bit pricey, was well worth it. The restaurant is cozy and lovely, the service is excellent, and the food was really tasty.

The was a cool little cafe around the corner was L’Absinthe Café on rue de Turbigo (3rd). A great place to stop in the evenings for a drink or a bite to eat. Nice food, inexpensive, and nice atmosphere as well.

L'Absinthe Café rue de Turbigo

The next place of note that we went into looking for good chocolate was called Debauve & Gallais. We wandered in quite by accident. I had been looking for a nice item to take back for my foodie penpal package, and on whim went in.

Debauve & Gallais chocolate et the

The lady behind the counter was a bit snooty, but the chocolate was delicious. It was dark and rich and just slightly sweet. They even had samples, which I find rare in Paris. I bought some chocolate for my foodie penpal and also for hubby and some jasmine tea for myself. Loose leaf jasmine tea that smells heavenly with the jasmine flowers and is a nice reminder of my time in Paris when I sip a nice mug (china of course) 🙂 in the evenings as a treat. You probably can’t go wrong in Paris for chocolate, but their chocolate is truly lovely, and slightly decadent tasting.

I will end this already too long posting with a review on one last cafe.

Le Lezard Cafe 32 Rue Étienne MarcLe Lézard Café  – Montorgueil. This was a regular place for us to stop for a nice glass of wine in the afternoon. The area is touristy as it’s an established market area, but also popular with locals and people on their way home from work. It is really lively and really good wine and food. We stopped for a drink and had the intention of going to another restaurant entirely until the people next to us got their food and the scent of the chips did it. I had wanted to have steak and frites while we were in Paris, and the people next to us got theirs and I was sold. The frites smell slightly of some exotic curry powder, but have the most amazing flavour, this is nothing like curry, it is hard to explain, you just need to try them . The steak was cooked perfectly as well with a lovely pink centre. Hubby had a different steak with a light creamy mushroom type sauce on the side and frites as well and we split a large crispy green salad with a dijon vinaigrette  We ended the meal with a coffee noisette (espresso with a tiny drop of foamed mik). The service is amazingly good (if incredibly camp) considering the amount of people they have to serve and the food comes out quite quickly as well. It has good food at decent prices. It is the type of place where you will see larger groups for a night out  as well as a single woman having a pot of tea reading a book. Cosy decor inside and out with comfortable seats that make you want to linger. The patio area comes with heaters so it’s never chilly and the people watching there is great. I definitely recommend it. Oh and it’s across the street from G. Detou mentioned in David Leibovitz’s book The Sweet Life in Paris.

I definitely recommend his book even if you aren’t off to visit Paris. It is a laugh riot and gives some great pointers on how to get on in Paris and also some great places to try for things like the best hot chocolate to his favourite chocolate places. He has also included some really nice sounding recipes. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to meet him on Friday at the Food Blogger Connect conference in London.

Well that’s it for now, I will add a photo montage of non food related pictures later.

Have a good one!
x Steph