Shopping in Paris
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When in Paris: Food, Wine & Cookware Shops (so that you can bring the flavours of Paris home)

How to bring back Paris with you to London? You can’t very well shove the eiffel tower in your handbag (and why would you want to?) but there is lots of Parisian deliciousness that you can bring to your front door. What we perceive as luxury – great patisserie, brilliant lacquered duck confit in jars, (dare I say it) foie gras, great wine – are all everyday in France. Not to mention the petite copper canele moulds, gorgeous pans, staub pots, and all of the divinity that a Parisian cookware shop can involve.

Here is my guide for the shops that you mustn’t miss when in Paris. It is not an exhaustive list, but these are the places that I hit when I visit, and I add to it all the time. If you have any that I have not listed, please leave details in the comments below.

FOOD & WINE 

G Detou

I found G Detou by accident. Aiming for the nearby metro station, I spied this shop with gorgeous tins stacked high beneath the vintage signage. This higgledy piggledy shop full of tins, patisserie ingredients (a large plastic tub of popping candy for you?), boxes (marrons glacé, dried fruits, valrhona chocolate), jams, all the mustards you might ever need, vanilla pods, powder, extract, tonka beans. G Detou has everything you might want for your pantry from Paris. Gather, stagger with your haul to the counter, and get a receipt to bring to the kiosk nearby. Confusing at first, but very Parisian, and worth it. There is also a deli next door, also G Detou, with lots of fresh produce as well as more tins of gorgeousness. I always get duck leg confit, sausages confit in goose fat and a glass tube of vanilla pods, at least.

58 Rue Tiquetonne  75002 Paris, France

Comptoir de la Gastronomie

With a sign that is simply a goose with foie gras written on it outside, you can expect to find some in here, but also lots of other specialties including preserved truffles (in beautiful jars and tins), vinegars, wine and jams (including a bright pink rose petal jam – perfect presents, no?). There is also a nice looking restaurant attached although I haven’t eaten there yet. Let me know if you do, and what you think of it!

34 Rue Montmartre 75001 Paris, France

Marché des Enfants Rouge

I love stopping by Marche des Enfants Rouge on a Sunday. It is the perfect spot for brunch and is bustling (on a Sunday when most of Paris shuts down, this is unusual). I like to get oysters at L’Estaminet to start (they do brunch there too) and then stock up on some bits to bring back, including cheese from Fromagerie Jouannault just outside. There is a great butchers directly opposite too, some rotisserie chicken spots, a Greek deli, an Italian deli, a patisserie and lots of fresh produce, fish and cheese stalls from the market itself. The fish stall and butchers are probably more suitable if your accommodation in Paris has a kitchen, but what joy to buy from there and cook at your temporary Parisian home.

9 Rue de Beauce, 75003 Paris, France

Sacha Finkelstajn

I love popping to Finkelstajn’s, a busy Jewish deli in the Marais, just before heading to the train station for a slice of baked cheesecake and some latkes. There is some delicious and proper Jewish food here, and it is perfect for a train picnic on the way home.

27 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France

Pierre Hermé & Ladurée

We have both of these in London now, but when I first started going to Paris – pre when the macaron craze hit London hard – I always made sure that I stopped at each of these shops. Ladurée is a traditional gorgeous tea room serving beautiful pastries and macarons, and they also have a shop so that you can buy to take away. Pierre Hermé is a little less traditional but no less brilliant – it is my preferred of the two – and his jams, biscuits and teas are terrific too.

several locations in Paris – I like the to go to Rue Bonaparte as there is both a Pierre Hermé and a Ladurée there

COOKWARE

E Dehillerin

If G Detou is the Aladdin’s Cave of French food and produce, E Dehillerin is the equivalent for cookware. With two floors and high ceilings, the walls are lined with copper pans, moulds, and all kinds of kitchen tools that you might like to bring back. The payment system is by kiosk as at G Detou, so queue to get your bill (they will ask for your address too for the invoice, it is very old school), then go to the kiosk to pay.

18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France

A Simon

A cookware shop, across the road from G Detou, with everything you might want from canele moulds to – erm – your very own stainless steel pan with an eiffel tower handle. Don’t let this put you off though, it is well worth a visit.

48 Rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris, France

La Bovida

More cookware, and very near  over two floors but also very pretty and colourful vintage style storage tins to brighten your kitchen / pantry at home.

36 Rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris, France

I travelled to France with Eurostar on their #wheninparis campaign

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Overnight Christmas Shopping Trip to Paris: Where to Go & What to Do

Paris, all dressed up for Christmas!

Paris, all dressed up for Christmas!


A quick jaunt on the Eurostar, 2 hours 15 minutes later we were alighting at Gare du Nord. Our hotel, just a few stops away, and near my favourite spot Le Marais, saw us briefly, we had lots of Paris to see and to do.

We were in Paris to do some Christmas shopping.

An old friend and I took the trip. Both food obsessed and fond of a glass of wine or a cocktail, we had marked out our maps with places we wanted to visit. We hadn’t much time but we were ambitious. Paris is home to fantastic cookware shops, fromageries, wine shops, patisseries and so many great chocolate shops. So many things that would put the sparkle in any day and especially Christmas.

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Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

To start, we hit Le Marais. Le Marché des Enfants Rouges to be precise. A 10 minute walk and we were at the gorgeous bustling market. The market itself is rammed with cosy and delicious places to eat. Lots to buy too. Greengrocers are selling clementines (check: in the bag for confiting), cheesemongers were selling fantastic cheese (some gruyere, comte, brebis and nutty orange vieux gouda for me), lots selling wine wine (Beaujolais, St Jospeh and Bordeaux would see us through). Outside the market there are shops dedicated to olive oil, salmon, chocolate and patisserie.

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Fromagerie just outside Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

This market seems to have everything. Almost everything. But it doesn’t have that many copper moulds.

So, we’re off again to E Dehillerin, a wonderful Parisian cookware shop. Intense and at times, intimidating, you muscle your way through the crowd, find what you want (it is glorious – they have everything) and queue to pay for it.

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Copper canelé moulds at E Dehilleren, Paris

Wait, no! You queue to give it to a guy who gives you an invoice. Then you put your name and address on it (!) and queue to pay for it. They type it up, if your name is awkward like mine they question you, you shout it out because you are starting to get a little stressed by now. They then take your money and then you go back to the first guy, with your printed invoice, and collect your canelé moulds. Or whatever gorgeousness was worth that. And, it is.

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Fabulous copper goodies at E Dehillerin, Paris

The bags are getting heavy now so back to the hotel. A quick pause for some wine. We have been working hard after all. Beaujolais Nouveau is everywhere so we indulge. Then to the Christmas Market at the Champs Elysées.

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The Champs Elysées Christmas Market

The streets are lined with saucisson and cheese which you can buy to take home, roasted chestnuts, vin chaud (mulled wine: both red and white), tartiflette, giant pans of it, lots of gifts, some good some bad, but the atmosphere is great and we have fun.

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The Champs Elysées Christmas Market

The next day, we need downtime. We have shopped out hearts out and we want to indulge. So we hit the Mandarin Oriental, pausing to ogle beautiful dresses in glamorous windows as we do.

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Lunch at Camelia

We dine in Camelia, a restaurant from Thierry Marx who spent several years in Japan. This is French food but with a strong influence from Japan. Sea bream with clear broth and kombu seaweed (€36) was light and rich and one of the best things that I have eaten in a while. The desserts are terrific, there is even a cake shop as you walk in. We nabbed some canelés as we left for the train home. One of the chefs is from Bordeaux, and I can’t leave those behind.

Dessert at Camelia, Paris (based on a traditional dessert from that area)

Dessert at Camelia, Paris (based on a traditional dessert from that area)

As we leave, I discover the bar manager at the Mandarin Oriental is also Irish, so we pop in to say hi. And have a drink, and maybe another one. My friend has wanted cocktails so she is very happy, and once I taste them, I am too. I love cocktails but too many are too sweet. These are high end, and expensive, but what a treat they are.

Cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental Bar (made by Fiachra!)

Cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental Bar (made by Fiachra!)

We float out, but it is time to consider home. Back to the Eurostar we go. We are sad to leave but our journey home contains wine and canéles and cheese. So we are happy. And we have lots of goodies for Christmas too.

Merry Christmas! Silly season has started.

(most of the cheese didn’t survive the week but – HEY – it was too delicious to keep it)

Hit List

E Dehillerin, 18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France
Closed on Sunday

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France

Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées, from Friday, November 16 2012 to Sunday, January 6 2013

Camelia at the Mandarin Oriental, 251 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France

I travelled as a guest of Superbreak who organise great value Christmas shopping packages to Paris including return Eurostar travel and one night at 4* Crowne Plaza Republique with full breakfast and a river cruise from £159pp. Book on www.superbreak.com or call 0871 700 4384.

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Living Like a Local in Paris

Paris Food Market

Travelling is wonderful. You may have cottoned on to the fact that I enjoy a little of it every now and then. A lot of it more precisely. People ask why, they wonder how I can do it all. They also wonder why I do it all.

Why do I do it? I love getting an insight into another culture. I love getting under the skin of how people eat, how they shop for food, what they shop for and how they cook it at home. I love gathering recipes and bringing them home.

I love being inspired by how other people operate, being immersed in a whole different thing for a little while gives you great perspective on your own existence.

Hotels are great, I love them and the luxury they provide. But after a few days I get antsy. I miss my kitchen and I miss being able to cook.  My kitchen keeps me calm, and cooking keeps me sane. When I am stressed or sad my first instinct is to cook.

Paris Food Market

So, when I haven’t cooked for some time I get doleful when I see piles of glistening vegetables in markets, wheels of cheese in cheesemongers and absolutely anything else that I could be cooking or eating at home. I can of course take stuff home but I still miss the process of cooking, of being regularly able to do it.

I was watching the lovely Rachel Khoo’s cookery show, The Little Paris Kitchen, on BBC2 this week and it brought me right back to my Paris trip in December. Where I stayed in a proper house owned by locals (while they were away) and had a kitchen. For a time my life in Paris felt very real. I tweeted lots of pictures and other detail and promised to tell you all about it too. A little belated I have nabbed some time to do it.

Our Montparnasse home

It was a fabulous house, 4 bedrooms and sleeping 7 at a very reasonable £494 per night, much cheaper than a hotel but with lots of luxurious touches and a gorgeous kitchen to cook in. Aspirational for a Londoner with a tiny flat like me.

It was spacious and bright with a large open kitchen and living area and a fantastically stocked kitchen (kitchenaid, good knives, pots, pans etc.). I spent the weekend shopping in markets and local food shops and cooking joyfully when I got home.

Fishmongers at a Paris Food Market

I visited 3 markets that weekend, all nearby, and all food (of course!). The third one was particularly special as we visited on an organised tour with our guide, food writer and chef Camille Labro. Camille was bouyant with knowledge and enthusiasm and brought us through every stall describing everything.

Camille, cooking up a storm

We chose food that caught our eye and then returned home where we cooked up a wonderful feast. Scallops, artichokes and cheese (not together!) were a trinity of culinary highlights that I can still taste when I think of them. There was lots more too.

Cheeseboard

As I sat and ate it all, supping some wine, I wondered why I had never lived in Paris. I still don’t know, but I feel I might have done for just a few days now.

I travelled to Paris with Housetrip, who rent over 2,400 properties in Paris and 86,440 in other cities all over the world (with an impressive 1,000 being added every week). The properties are owned by locals and rented out when they are away. Our food tour with Camille Labro was organised by Context Travel

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Where to Eat in Paris: Brasserie Balzar

Brasserie Balzar, Paris

Food is changing everywhere all the time. That’s life, and that’s a good thing, in the main. You’re as likely to find Scandinavian inspired haute cuisine in Paris now as a soufflé, so it takes a little research to find somewhere that does the old school classics and does them well.

Brasserie Balzar, Paris

When in Paris, and especially when in Paris in January. I want French Onion Soup. I need French Onion Soup. I need it’s comforting rich beefy stock and sweet sleepy slippery onions beneath their heavy cheese blanket. I need to pierce that cheese and bread with my spoon and drag some soup out, savouring every gentle spoonful before diving back in.

Brasserie Balzar, Paris

It helps if I can then follow this with a fresh rich steak tartare, sharp with mustard and capers, and creamy with egg. Spreading it on toast, all the while not really wanting to talk but to watch everything going on. Watching the waiters, the other tables, sipping some wine, soaking it all in. Enjoying Paris, enjoying the characters, the families eating Sunday lunch, the solo diners, not many tourists but a few, although I expect they are academics from the Sorbonne next door. I continue, eating more tartare, sipping more wine, and loving Paris and my little January escape.

Brasserie Balzar, Paris

Brasserie Balzar, next to the Sorbonne, is a Paris institution since 1898. Previously home to Sartre & Camus and their argumentative lunches, it is now more likely to house lunchers from the Sorbonne, and in season tourists, but don’t let this put you off, it is well worth a visit.

I need to get back there soon.

Brassierie Balzar

www.brasseriebalzar.com
49 Rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris, France
01 43 54 13 67 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            01 43 54 13 67      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Nearest metro: Cluny – La Sorbonne

(Ps – apologies re slightly blurry photos, I was more focussed on my food than my camera, which is how it should be :)

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Where to Eat in Paris: Les Papilles

Les Papilles, Paris

When I travel, one of my first pit stops is twitter, where I ask the hivemind for recommendations. Results are mainly successful, sometimes bizarre, but always a brilliant starting point when travelling and wanting to eat well. Particularly when you want to eat as locals do and off the tourist track.

When I recently asked for recommendations for Paris, two people I really rate resounded “You have to go to Les Papilles”, so I took that as an order and I did.

Les Papilles is part epicerie, part wine shop, mainly restaurant. It is wooden and warm with a big round table in a bay window / alcove at the back and all other tables seemingly proceeding towards it, lining a long counter and shelves of wine with occasional food bits lining the walls.  There is also a downstairs area with a huge table, and lots more wine.

The menu is fixed, you have it or you don’t, although a vegetarian friend in Paris has told me that they can prepare a vegetarian menu if informed in advance.

I love the confidence of a fixed menu. There is little worse than a menu that reads like a bible, and a haphazard one. I like that I can walk in and say, I will have what you’re serving, and can I have this wine please? Especially when choosing the wine involves cruising the wine shelves and plonking it on your table for the waiter to open. Speaking of which, prepare yourself for the occasional visit to your table if you are sitting next to the wine.

We went for lunch – we were too late to get a dinner reservation – and were presented with a blackboard with the menu written on. The food was hearty, precise, full of flavour and very French. The soup and main course were served family style to share at €33 per person. The portions were very generous and the food beautifully executed. I would hop on the eurostar solely to go back.

Les Papilles, Paris

Les Papilles, Paris

Set Lunch Menu at Les Papilles

terrific leek & potato soup

Large tureen of soup served to share

Large copper pot of overnight cooked ox cheek stew to share - delicious

Tender, hearty & delicious beef cheeks in red wine with carrots, potatoes & thyme

Forme d'Aubert with date in a red wine reduction - divine

Terrible photo of a delicious dessert - apples, panacotta and caramel foam (which has made me rethink my moratorium on foams!)

Les Papilles,
30 Rue Gay-Lussac  75005 Paris, France
01 43 25 20 79

http://www.lespapillesparis.fr/EN_index.html

Nearest metro: Luxembourg

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Paris Break: Living it Up at Hotel La Tremoille

Paris, January 2011

Paris Part 2! Last weekend I journeyed a speedy 2 hours on the eurostar early Friday morning and found myself in Paris for a bistro lunch, caviar & champagne late afternoon snack and a brasserie dinner. We had a sneaky indulgent champagne breakfast on the eurostar too – we couldn’t resist. I love it and that was just Friday too.

Paris, January 2011

We stayed at Hotel La Tremoille in the 8th, an old school hotel with some modern twists. It was perfectly central allowing us leisurely strolls along the Seine. There was even a local caviar shop and truffle shop and restaurant. Tres luxurious.

Caviar & Champagne at Hotel La Tremoille

Our room at La Tremoille

Part of our package was a Baguette to Bistro walk led by Meg of Context Travel and Paris by Mouth, a fun, informative and really delicious morning tour of St Germaine taking in a lovely boulangerie, cheese shop and chocolate shop.

Cheese Tasting at Androuet, St Germain, Paris

Lovely cheesemonger at Androuet

The highlight for me was the cheese tasting. We visited one of the oldest cheese shops in Paris, Androuet (now also in London). Proud and rich in history there were stories of cheesemongers having to pray in monasteries in Provence for a week before getting access to the monks prized and delicious cheese. They stock only raw cheese too, bar one pasteurised one for pregnant ladies. Meg chose some cheeses and we had a little tasting outside before moving on to a fantastic chocolate shop. We stopped by this amazing Parisian institution on the way – Deyrolle – where we spied this amazing taxidermied dinner party.

Taxidermied dinner partay

Part 3 & 4 to come: living like a local in Paris, and where to eat and visit.

We stayed at Hotel La Tremoille as guests. They are offering a Flavours of Paris break including caviar and champagne and a Baguette to Bistro walk, for January & February only – to book visit www.hotel-tremoille.com. We travelled with Eurostar. Eurostar Plus Gourmet currently offers travellers up to 50% discounts at many top restaurants in Paris, Brussels and Lille. See site for details.