I have just come back from a fantastic week in Paris. I started with a music festival with some friends – the wonderfully titled Rock en Seine. As it’s a french festival, it was a food and wine as well as music experience. Food stalls served moules frite, andouillete, crepes, cous cous, paella and much more. French wine and tartiflette blended well with the chimes of Arcade Fire, the Shins, CSS Jarvis & Bjork. We followed this with three days idle wandering, popping in and out of patisseries, fromageries, boulangeries, whatever took our fancy. Occasional cultural interludes included the Picasso museum where I had a delicious raspberry and white chocolate tart (this is a food blog after all!).
So, clearly, a weeks over indulgence and artery hardening will not fit in this little blog post. So, what were the highlights?
Having followed Fanny at Foodbeams adventures I had to pay a visit to Pierre Hermé. Wow, it was breathtaking, such beautiful desserts. I didn’t know where to start and wandered around for a bit then decided that I would come back as it was too early for cake at 11am. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and never made it! I was disgusted at my disorganistation and it’s top of the list for my next trip.
Next on the list were two tea shops recommended in an Insiders Guide to Paris – Ladurée and Angelinas. Ladurée is a very decadent place, I found three on my travels and the one we went to was near Pierre Hermé on Rue Bonaparte. I indulgent in a selecton of mini macarons – rose, violet, orange blossom to name but a few of the selection. We wandered off to the nearby Luxembourg Gardens to eat them and they did not disappoint. Beautiful, bright, crispy macarons with a luscious scented cream filling. Again, Ladurée was a feast for the eyes and I am determined to eat there next time. It’s like being transported to the early 20th century for tea and cake and feels very indulgent. Angelina’s is another French tea shop and is listed as the one that the tourists go to. They apparantly do the best hot chocolate in Paris, so off we went down to Rue de Rivoli, which should you try to find number 226 and start at 1 as we did, is a very long street! Again, an impressive selection awaited us but I was very disappointed, it reeked of faded glamour, the wallpaper was peeling in the bathroom, the service was brisk and unfriendly and the hot chocolate was good but not as good as an amazing Bolivian dark chocolate and lotus flower one that I had in Sydney last year. And at 7 euro a pop they ain’t cheap!
What of savoury food? Where to start?! We stayed in Montparnasse, which, it transpires is something of a Little Brittany. The trains to Brittany lave from Montparnasse station so it makes sense. So, we started our time there with some Breton cider and crepes at Tí Jos. They were delicious, particularly my dessert of chestnut paste/jam with creme fraiche. The cider went down quite well too :) They basement of the creperie is a Breton Pub and I am told that they have a traditional Breton music session every Monday. It’s a lovely place, very friendly people in elegant surroundings and budget prices too, for Paris anyway. Along with this we spent alot of time in random brasseries scattered throughout Paris eating enormous french salads, entrecote frites and other Parisian normalities. With one occasion an exception, the food was always very good. A local advised us to follow our nose and it was solid advice. If it smells good, it generally is good. One of the beauties of outdoor eating is you can see other punters plates before making your decision.
On our last day we spent a good deal of time wandering around the marais, the jewish quarter of Paris. I visited a few Jewish delis, one in particular stood out, Finkelstajns, where I purchased some delicious latkas, a favourite of mine since when I first had them 10 years ago in Amsterdam, cooked by a fellow traveller in a youth hostel at Hanuka. After Finkelstajns, we headed to Pitzmans for some croc pizza, falafel and some glorious baked cheesecake.
I have to dash, next stop is Dublin for yet another music festival. When did I ever think that two in one week was a good idea?! Pray for me.
More on Paris soon.