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Paris – The Top 10

I am going to try really hard not to bore you with too many details of our recent holidays – but will instead let the photos speak for themselves. Here, in true lawyer-style, numbered list form, are my Top 10 food highlights of Paris:

1. Sunset Picnic under the Eiffel Tower. Fantastic French food and even more Fantastic French company.  

On our first evening in Paris, our newly wedded friends – The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris – organised a wonderful sunset picnic under the Eiffel Tower for us.

Sunset at the Eiffel Tower

In true French style, the picnic spread included lots and lots of bread and wine, charcuterie (cured meats), foie gras  and lots of patisserie treats.

French Picnic Fare
French Picnic Wine

2. Bread with every meal, including an alarming number of croissants and eclairs. 

Even after nearly a month in France I am no closer to understanding the secret of how they eat so much bread, yet stay so slevete (although, I suspect it may have something to do with the cigarettes and espressos so many French people favour as a ‘snacks’).

Our local bakery

Sadly, while The Brooding Architect and I relished the carbohydrate heavy French diet, we did not have those French genes to keep those extra bread kilos at bay. However, I suspect that eating an eclair per day may not have helped the situation?

Can't beat an eclair for breakfast

3. Ridiculously cheap “premium fruit”

As longtime readers will know, The Brooding Architect refuses to eat anything but “premium fruit”. Accordingly, we spent many mornings wandering around the Bastille Marché (market), feasting on ridiculously cheap ($3 AUD) punnets of “premium fruits” – raspberries, strawberries and figs.

Market fresh figs
Tables loaded with fresh strawberries

4. A long boozy lunch and farewell dinner at La Cantine Du Troquet.

Thanks to Guillame’s tips on French Food Safari, The Brooding Architect and I were lucky enough to eat twice and drink far too many carafes of Corsican Rose at Cantine Du Troquet, a charming,  no-bookings neighbourhood bistro.

La Cantine Du Troquet is run by Christian Etchebest, a chef of Michelin Star restaurant pedigree. The food is classic French bistro fare,  with a focus on fresh, local produce. Mains are a very affordable 17 Euros, entrees and desserts are under 10 Euro and the sensational wine list includes many, very drinkable local drops which come by the carafe – 9 Euros for the 1/2 litre and 18 Euros for the full litre.

Corsican Rose by the carafe

My highlights were the razor clams (couteaux), pigs ear salad (oreilles cochon), classic steak and  frites and caramelised plums, served with a slice of light and fluffy madeira cake.

Pigs Ear Salad
Razor Clams
Really, really good steak and frites

We also had – by far – the best coffee we managed to find in France on our whole trip. Paris may be the food capital of the world, but Melbourne definitely holds the title for coffee capital of the world.

Best Coffee of the Trip

5. Market Meats. Terrine, pate,  charcuterie, rotisserie suckling pig on the spit. 

I loved the boucheries (butcher shops) at the markets, which sold absolutely every kind of meat you could think of (including a rotisserie suckling pig). I could have spent hours watching cuts of meat being butchered to order for the ‘Real Housewives of Paris’.

A typical boucherie
Boucherie treats - terrine, pate and charcuterie

6. Macarons at the Laduree Tea Salaon.

I forced The Brooding Architect to accompany me to the very lady-like  Laduree Tea Salon, to eat some outrageously expensive macarons (only to concur that the La Belle Miette macarons are better).

Macaron display at Laduree

7. Berthillon Ice Cream

The Brooding Architect and I arrived in Paris in the middle of a heatwave – 30 degrees and a non-aironditioned room are not a good combination! The only thing that kept me walking through the humid and sweltering streets of Paris on that first day was the prospect of a Berthellon Ice Cream straight from the original shop on the island (which I, in my heat stroke induced delirium, dubbed ‘Ice Cream Island’) .

Berthillon Ice Cream

The salted caramel and strawberry flavours did not disappoint!

Strawberry gelato

8.Unpasteurised (raw) cheese. Available everywhere.

The French do cheese best. The end. 

Raw cheese straight from the market

9. Le Grande Epicerie – the ultimate department store food hall.

Le Grande Epicerie is what the David Jones Food Hall wants to be when it grows up.

Le Grand Epicerie is the food hall of the Le Bon Marche department store, located on the Left Bank. Le Grand Epicere spans the entire ground floor and stocks everything and anything, from fresh seafood to Chinese dumplings to wild strawberries. I seriously think I spent about 2 hours in here marveling at all the wonderful food I had no chance of getting past Australian Customs.

The seafood cabinet at Le Grand Epicerie

Inside the food hall there is also a small seating area called Le Comptoir Picnic, where you can sit and enjoy a light lunch. I had a fresh cooked tuna steak and salad for 10 Euros, followed by creme brulee for 4 Euros.

10. 2.30am Wedding Crepes.

 ‘Big Fat French Weddings’ are amazing parties. The nuptials of The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris were no exception. The celebrations started at 10.00am on Saturday and did not finish until 4.00am on Sunday. Then we had to back it up with brunch the next morning at 11.30am. Fortunately, The French Dentist and The Australian in Paris had the foresight to organise a crepe bar at 2.30am – to help everyone cope with a long day and night of champagne and dancing. Sheer brilliance.

Crepes with orange marmalade

(*Disclaimer: The crepes in the photos above are not technically from the night of the wedding, as by this stage of the festivities neither The Brooding Architect or I were in any fit state to operate a camera).

3 Comments on “Paris – The Top 10”

  1. heather said at 10:22 am on October 3, 2011:

    These photos are amazing and take me back to 2007 when I visited Paris for the first time. The fruit at the market looks incredible.. Good work

  2. The Hungry Lawyer said at 12:40 pm on October 13, 2011:

    Sorry for the late replies – work post holidays has been (predictably) frantic!

    Heather: Thanks so much for your kind words. The Brooding Architect must be credited for his amazing photos of the “premium fruit”.

    Stuart: I agree about Italians being hit and miss with their coffee too. On this trip we also spent a week in Croatia (the Dalmatian Coast) where the main expats and tourists are made up of Italians. If anything the coffee there was even worse than France!

  3. Stuart said at 5:32 pm on October 7, 2011:

    Wholeheartedly agree on Parisian coffee. We were there in May and after 3 espressos, gave up for the rest of the week. Regrettably (because I had been told you can’t get bad coffee in Italy), Italy was also hit and miss. On the plus side for Paris, I think Berthellon Ice Cream bettered any gelato we had in Italy (where we ate it daily!). Macaroons were our daily Parisian indulgence.

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