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3/25/11

One day out of Paris

A Foodie’s Day Out in Paris

The City of Light!  The City of Love! Paris has  many names, and one of them should be the City of Gastronomy.  If any town or destination could be described as delicious, it would be Paris.
I’ve been many times, and next time I might just do a foodie trip.  That is, if every other previous trip didn’t kind of turn out that way.  It was by accident, considering how much tasty places exist in the city.  Here are a few things you can do on your next day out in Paris.

Caffeine & Sugar at the World’s Best Cafe

If you know me, then you know about Angelina’s (map), which I say is the world’s best cafe, bar none.  I just love it.  It sits on Rue do Rivoli, just a few blocks from the Louvre, and it is no big secret – many guides recommend it for the hot chocolate.  I’m not a fan, but that’s because it’s that syrupy sweet drinking chocolate, so if that sounds like heaven for you try it.
Instead, I prefer a strong coffee as well as a piece of mont blanc. Without a doubt, delicious!  It’s a hazelnut creme paste with whipped cream and meringue.  Super delicious.  Angelina’s also has your regular array of cookies, baguettes, biscuits and other tasty ways to start your day. 

Incredible Food Shopping

Once you’ve got your buzz on, it’s time to head for where Parisian shoppers all go for their foodie goods: Fauchon (map).  Pronounced more like “fash-on”, this store feels like you are stepping into a food version of Sex and the City.  It’s awash in pink from head to toe, and every single product is packaged and prepped like every day of the year is Christmas.  They’ve got great wines, fresh roasted coffee beans, pre-made foods, and specialized ingredients of all kinds.
If you buy something and run out, Fauchon also sells some items on their website.  But, to be honest, the real experience is going to the store in Paris and just wandering the aisles.  It is truly magic.

Picnic and The Perfect Afternoon Snack

One really popular thing to do in Paris, even if you live here, is to picnic.  Even on an overcast day I’ve noticed the grassy knolls full of people with bottles of wine, towering baguettes, cheese, and cakes.  It’s just that dreamy Paris you imagine.
Champs de Mars (map), which runs out from the Eiffel Tower, seems to be a popular choice.  Personally I also like Luxembourg Gardens (map) as a place to sit, hangout, and let the world go by.  If you didn’t find what you need at Fauchon, then just step into the next bakery or food shop you see – they seem to pop up every other block or so.  This is time for serendipity.
If you are blessed with nice weather during your visit, I do have a tip for the city’s best ice cream: Maison Berthillon (map).  It’s on one of the small islands on the Seine in the middle of Paris, right behind some of the iconic tourist stops such as the Notre Dame cathedral, Pompidou Centre, and the river itself.  It is easy to find because you just look for the queue line up of folks that you’ll see as more and more people walk by you licking their cones in silence.  Their flavors rotate each day, and I’ve never had a bad scoop here.  Ever.

Great Restaurants

It is next to impossible to make an exact recommendation for where to have dinner.
  • La Rotonde (map) is celebrating its hundredth year as one of the most loved brasseries in Paris. It’s a super sexy venue and I just love the vibe and atmosphere here.  It can get crowded and is more popular with tourists than locals at times, but regardless, I still love it.
  • Creperie Brettone (map) has a couple of venues in Paris and is the perfect place to snack on one of Paris’ quintessential snacks.  You can get them sweet (nutella, jam, or cinnamon/sugar anyone?) or savory (cheese and ham is always a hit).  Crepes have been around Paris for hundreds of years as they were a popular snack for immigrants, and many ethnic communities have crepe stands with their own set of unique fillings, so keep an eye out.
  • La Tour d’Argent (map) is one of the world’s most famous restaurants.  The name means the silver tower in French, and it is said that Henry the IV founded the restaurant in 1582.  Pressed duck is the most famous item on the menu, but perhaps the most difficult choice is choosing something from the 400+ page wine list, which will be fetched from one of the most well guarded and most valuable wine cellars in Paris.  Perhaps it goes without saying, this is a once in a lifetime experience and thus it is priced as such, e.g. expensive.
Bon Appetit!

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