Paris is always a good idea

Never were there truer words spoken. Paris has always conveniently been on my route to many destinations and I’ve crisscrossed northern France numerous times, always to my delight. 

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I could write a guidebook about Brittany and probably Paris as well, but why go to the effort when there are so many excellent ones already out there.Instead, I’ll focus on one other topic: food.

My first introduction to French food was in the 6th grade by the force of nature that was my French teacher. While Belgian by birth, she exemplified everything one expects a Parisian lady to be. She opened that first class with a seemingly obvious question.

“Do we eat to live?”

We all answered yes, and she turned very sharply in her fantastically tailored suit to correct us.

“Non, non, non! Ecoutez-moi. In Europe, mes etudiants, we live to eat.”

Growing up in an first generation European (albeit Eastern), this was like second nature and became a lifelong dogma I can truly relate to.

1. Robert et Louise – Restaurante de feu

64 rue Veille du Temple – 75003 Paris
(T)+33 1 42 78 55 8

Menu

 

We are forever indebted to Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations for putting this on the radar. Difficult to find, but not impossible. Reservations are a must – small restaurant and it fills up quickly. I would not risk a walk in. Meat is roasted over an open flame and the atmosphere/food is rustic-chic.

The order? Saucisson sec, cote du bouef pour 2 personnes, assortiment de 3 fromages and a healthy portion of simple white wine. A magical evening filled with delicious food and the discovery that we do not care for sheep cheese.

2. Bistroy Les Papilles

30 rue Gay Lussac 75005 PARIS – France
tel : +33 (0)1 43 25 20 79

A happy accident made this one of the best meals we ever had. Ever. In a serendipitous faux pas, we wandered in for (at most) a glass of wine only to be told you cannot simply have a glass of wine. This little eatery is not your run of the mill bar and I firmly believe it was fate that led to this education. As we could not order simply a glass of wine, we came for dinner the next evening – note that there are usually two seatings for dinner as the space is small and it is a set menu. Word of advice, despite their motto of “everything is possible” – make reservations.

Dinner was a delightful 5 course affair paired with a splendid red (whose name escapes me). Pumpkin cream soup with roasted chestnuts, beef braised in red wine, salad, cheese and a blissful repose in delicious panna cotta.

3. The Bombadier English Pub

2 place du Pantheon
+33 (0)1 43 54 79 22

I’m a sucker for a British pub and Paris has no shortages. As we were staying in the Mont. St. Michel neighborhood, we happened upon this place and soon kept turning the corner to stop in for a quick bite and a beer. Sometimes you just need a burger. And a pint.

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I cannot tell you all of the places we ate simply because there is nothing better in Paris than sampling the offerings of the street fare, cafes and petites boulangeries. These are the staples I always look for:

Classique Rosette

(saucisson sec & cornichons on a buttered baguette. absolute bliss)

Crepes with nutella

Pair it with a cup of coffee, walk in the rain.

Gaufres

Sugar crusted, fruit topped, chocolate dipped bliss. Eat ’em hot, eat’em cold.

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