Eating the city: Paris, France

The food in Paris is good enough to require no preamble, but the city is a labyrinth when it comes to actually finding the best spots. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what to eat there (so if you’ve been to Paris, please add your recommendations, too!), but I think it’s a pretty solid start to your French food experience!

 

Pistachio choc chip escargot

Why get it:
Because honestly, it’s probably the best pastry in the city. There was a constant, unrelenting stream of people rolling like tidal waves through the place, and most of them were walking away with an escargot pastry if some variety. But Rachel Khoo said she gets the pistachio, so that’s what we got, and that was absolutely the right choice! Perfect in every way.
We got ours from: Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic

 

Savoury crepes (galettes)
Why get it: Paris has a tight Nutella crepe game, but did you know their savoury ones are just as amazing? Usually made with buckwheat flour, they can be filled and/or topped with just about anything, but I’d recommend getting some cheese involved; the porous nature of the galette means that when it hits the hot pan, the melty cheese starts o seep through and caramelises on the grill. That’s why you should get it.
We got ours from: Le Comptoir du Commerce, 1 Rue des Petits Carreaux 

 

Deliciously fancy cakes

Why get it:
It’s not all croissants here – there are some ridiculously good cakes, too! You’ll see lots of little individual cakes, because they’re incredibly rich, and more than a few bites could leave you with diabetes. But they’re the ultimate fancy, elegant treat to accompany your tea or coffee.
We got ours from: Le Valentin, 30 Passage Jouffroy

 

A proper, classic French meal
Why get it: French food has a reputation for a reason, but there are a lot of tourist traps in Paris which don’t really live up to the expectations of visitors. If you can get a proper classic French meal, though, you’ll understand why people go so crazy for a real tarte tatin and a beef bourguignon – the flavours are incredible!
We got ours from: Le P’Tit Troquet, 28 Rue de l’Exposition, where a three course meal will cost you around €35.00

 

Steak frittes

Why get it: It’s one of those meals that should be so simple, yet it’s rarely done to perfection. If you’re willing to spend a little money and eat a little further away from the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find some really fantastic steak. Don’t be scared to order it medium-rare; when you’re dealing with high quality beef, anything more than a few minutes each side will take a lot of the flavour away. Oh, and chips.
We got ours from: Le Café du Commerce, 51 Rue du Commerce

 

Perfect, buttery croissants
Why get it:
Because it wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without a truckload of these! Honestly, I didn’t eat a bad one over there, not this time and not the visit before in 2013. It’s always a good idea to take a sight seeing pit stop for a pot of tea or cup of coffee with a croissant in Paris!
We got ours from: Maison Morange Côté Bio, 113 Rue Mouffetard – we got way more than this one, but it was the unanimous favourite for best plain croissant!

 

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#TBT Through my eyes: Paris, London, New York & Rome

After Tuesday’s book recommendation, I thought I’d do a little Throwback Thursday post, and revisit the cities covered in the book through my eyes…

 

PARIS, 2013: Jardin des Tuileries

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LONDON, 2013: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

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NEW YORK, 2015: Brooklyn Bridge

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ROME, 2013: Castel Sant’Angelo

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Through my eyes: Quintessential Paris – The Moulin Rouge & The Eiffel Tower

Happy Bastille Day!

To the French, it’s their version of the American 4th of July, the day they proudly commemorate their troops storming the Bastille (which was a prison) and starting the French Revolution off.

To a lot of us who aren’t French, it’s an excuse to eat good French dishes that head the specials boards on so many restaurants and indulge in a little more wine than usual. In the spirit of all things French, I thought I’d re-cap two of my most quintessentially French experiences from my trip to Paris in 2013 – the Moulin Rouge, and the Eiffel Tower.

 

The Moulin Rouge I expected to be fairly tacky and ridiculous; I actually had a really fun night there (may have been helped along by the complimentary champagne)! The show, Feerie, was fantastic, the service was on point, as you’d expect, and it wasn’t all naked ladies – the intermission acts, for the most part, were better than the cabaret itself! Very pleasantly surprised!

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And then there’s this guy.

Built in 1889.
Standing at 324 metres (1063 feet) tall.
Weighing approximately 10, 000 tones.
2010 saw it receive it’s 250 millionth visitor.
It’s a cultural icon recognised around the world.
I didn’t think it’d be THAT impressive.

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Boy, was I wrong.

Oh, and the view from the top?
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Through my eyes: carousel at Montmartre, Paris, France

Mumma bear and I recently had dinner, and were reminiscing over memories of Europe… I was there in early 2013 with the husband, she went… ages ago, actually, with one of my sisters, for a few weeks. I loved spending time in America, and South East Asia is always completely fascinating to me, but I think Europe will always be my favourite place to visit.

This is one of my favourite ever photos, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever captured (through my eyes it is, anyway)… a cold, drizzly day in Montmartre, and this gorgeous, bright aqua carousel top was like a beacon through the grey. It was pretty lonely looking, with the crowds being kept away by the rain, but it was like a beautiful kind of loneliness..

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Through my eyes: Sacré-Cœur, Paris, France

It was a decent, cold, rainy walk to the top, but goodness was it worth it… what an absolutely stunning church…

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Eat here: Le P’tit Troquet, Paris, France

Le P’Tit Troquet
28 Rue de l’Exposition, Paris, France
https://www.facebook.com/Leptittroquet

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We found this place, as so many stories go, by a fortunate chance. I had been browsing TripAdvisor reviews of Parisian restaurants, not really knowing what I was looking for, other than something on the way to the Moulin Rouge from our hotel near the Eiffel Tower. I got bored after 10 minutes, tossed my phone aside, and got on with picking out some warm clothes for the night ahead. About 2 hours from show time, we left our hotel and started walking in the general direction; the idea was to find somewhere for dinner on the way to the show. When we saw this place, I actually recognised the name from a favourable online review, so we decided that’d be good enough for us!

What we found was a gorgeous little bistro, with the friendliest staff we’d encountered in Paris. We also found an amazing and surprisingly well priced dinner menu – from memory, it was around 30 euro for an entrée, main course and dessert each. I tried not to annoy husband by shoving my camera in his food, but my three courses looked like this:

Entrée: salmon, apple and fennel salad
Main: Beef bourguignon (meat so soft it really fell away at the fork!)
Dessert: apple and almond cart/cake

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Honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much, because at that point, my Paris experience hadn’t been amazing. But this meal really blew me away. It was such a beautiful, warm, cosy little spot, the service was so lovely, the food was incredible, and so was the wine. It wasn’t very busy either, and it felt like it was our own little corner of the world for that dinner time. We’re not a very lovey-dovey kinda couple, but if we were, I’d have said this place was just a little bit special and romantic. I’m really glad I took a business card and the address of this place, because if I ever do go back to Paris, this will be one spot I’ll definitely be re-visiting.

Eat here: Fauchon, Paris, France

Fauchon, Paris
http://www.fauchon.com/

 

Once you know about this place, their little hot pink chocolate tins because completely unmistakable, as will your cravings for their deliciousness!

I actually was first told of Fauchon, a gourmet food company of the highest order, who produce incredible chocolate, macarons, cakes, breads, deli goods and what not, by a client of mine while working as a travel consultant. Booking her umpteenth trip to Paris, I mentioned that I was finally due to go. She said one word: “Fauchon.” Sorry? She said I had to go there, especially given what a mad chocoholic I am. She told me all about it, recommended a tin of chocolates, some cakes, and whatever else my stomach could fit. I wrote it in my things-to-do-while-I’m-travelling notebook, and carried on with her booking…

 

A few months later, there I was in Paris. And I did make my way to Fauchon. A few times. I got my hot pink tin of chocolates (delicious, and I still have the little tin!), then the next day went back for a feast of more majestic proportions. Husband and I decided that, after seeing other people looking to be enjoying themselves doing the same, that we should buy a bag full of food and have a picnic in the park, under the Eiffel Tower. We emerged from Fauchon with a bread stick the size of a small baby giraffe, freshly sliced cheese and cold meats, and some cake. We took the train back to our hotel where we cut the breadstick in half and stuffed in the prosciutto and cheese, wrapped it up and popped in back in the big brown paper bag, along with the cakes and some wine (we’d seen stacks of people pouring their own drinks in the park the night before and thought we’d do the same over lunch, only to get there and discover that it’s actually illegal… not that that seemed to stop anyone…), and walked off to find our picnic spot.

If you’re in Paris, I highly recommend giving this a go – pack your own picnic lunch and find a beautiful spot to eat it. It’s so much fun and so relaxing, and really allows some great people watching with some incredible food with a spectacular view that you won’t have paid an arm and a leg for! I would also highly recommend some Fauchon cakes to have for dessert… I mean, seriously… wow!!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014

 

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014