French

Paris 2018

2/24/2019 10:59:00 PM

Good morning! I've told you about our Christmas trip to Germany (see "Merry Christmas!", "Christmas Markets in Germany", and "Germany 2018: Wrap Up!"), and now I want to tell you all about my little side trip to Paris! I spent one night in Paris before Christmas visiting my good friend Clarice and her family, and of course, eating lots of delicious food!

Street art by Vinie, Rue Jean Poulmarch

I approached this trip slightly differently than usual. Normally I try to plan my visits in a lot of detail, trying to fit as much foodie goodness in as possible. I attempt to balance new places with old favourites, as well as making sure I purchase lots of goodies to bring back home. However, this time I took it a lot easier, letting in-the-know local Clarice pick where to go. (Thanks Clarice!) I think that because I'm lucky enough to be able to visit Paris reasonably frequently, I no longer feel that pressure to create an ultimate itinerary and can just leave myself open to new experiences. I just went with the flow, purchasing food souvenirs that caught my eye and that I genuinely wanted to eat, rather than anxiously running around trying to work through a list for the sake of it.

It was such a lovely trip! It was nice and relaxed, and I got to discover a lot of new places. I am by nature a compulsive planner, so I don't think I'll completely change my approach to travel and holidays, especially for brand new destinations, but it was nice to do it differently this time.

So let's get started. As I mentioned in my post about Germany, Clarice had come to Lampertheim to visit, so we took an early train back to Paris together for my visit! Straight from the train we headed out for breakfast at La Fontaine de Belleville (31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris), a modern coffee roaster housed in an old-school Parisian bistro setting. We both enjoyed excellent cafés noisettes (espresso with a little hot milk, similar to an Australian piccolo), with a slice of pain d'épice for me and eggs with soldiers for Clarice.

La Fontaine de Belleville

Pain d'épice, Egg & soldiers, Coffee

Egg and soldiers!

On the way back to Clarice's place, we came across this super cute little charcuterie shop, where we picked up some ham for that night's dinner.

Charcuterie Shop

Cuuuute piggy collection

Sausages

Terrines etc

After settling in at home, we headed out for our big blowout meal of the trip - afternoon tea at Restaurant Le Dali, in Le Meurice hotel (228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris). It was quite the experience! Le Meurice is one of Paris' (and by extension, the world's) most famous luxury hotels, and executive pastry chef at their in-house restaurant is Cédric Grolet, a superstar pastry chef who has been voted world's best pastry chef numerous times. (You can see his amazing creations on his Instagram).

Restaurant Dali 

The afternoon tea costs 74€, and comes with tea, coffee or hot chocolate, savoury sandwiches, house made scones, a selection of exquisite pastries, biscuits (Christmas-themed at the time of our visit), cakes and more. It was a ridiculous amount of food, and of exceptional quality. As someone who'd just gotten super-obsessed with Bake Off: The Professionals, I was so excited to be experiencing high-end French pâtisserie!

High Tea

I will write up the tea in more detail in a separate post, but special shout-out for the hazelnut and salted caramel cookie (at the bottom of the above photo), the beef sandwich on toasted pain de mie (far left), and the gorgeous tartlette Mont Blanc (top left).

Below we have the "dry Christmas biscuits", which were so much nicer than the name suggests: pain d'épice, mendiants, pâte de fruits, chocolate and vanilla sablés, florentines and more. I'm an absolute biscuit fiend, so I adored this selection!

Cookies - pain d'épice, pâte de fruits, mendiants, vanilla and chocolate sablés, florentines...

The whole experience was such a treat! The ambience, the service, the food! The two photos above aren't even all of it. Hot tip for anyone doing the afternoon tea: the staff will happily pack up anything you can't eat, and based on what we saw at the tables around us, they expect you to leave food. So don't do what we did and attempt to eat everything at once. We eventually admitted defeat about three quarters of the way through, when we were super full, but also starting to realise that everyone else was getting takeaway boxes. We rolled home clutching our bellies and a box of carefully packed up biscuits and cakes, totally delighted with the experience, but also vowing never to eat sweets again.

For dinner that night we stayed in (we could barely move!), and Clarice made raclette. We'd somehow found our appetites again (mine never disappears for very long), and the salty goodness was just what we needed.

Raclette

Our raclette included (of course) the eponymous raclette cheese, bresaola, two types of ham, cornichons, boiled potatoes, and salad.

Raclette

Apparently electric raclette machines are a standard piece of kit in French households, and now I'm thinking I might like one for my Australian household! You place your piece of raclette cheese on the little metal pans with the handle, and place it under the hotplate grill until all bubbly and melty. Meanwhile, you arrange your potatoes and hams on your plate, and pour the melty cheese over it. You can use that little wooden paddle you see next to the cheese in the above photo to help scrape the cheese off the pan. (The wooden paddle is also called "la raclette"). So delicious! And so perfect for dinner on a cold European winter's night!

The next morning, we started with a lovely little breakfast at home - Clarice's homemade granola, with thick yogurt and apple. (And coffee, of course).

Granola, Yogurt & Apple

After breakfast we ventured out into town, and shared a small second breakfast at Le Petit Grain (7 Rue Denoyez, Paris 75020).

Le Petit Grain

I'd first read about Le Petit Grain on David Lebovitz' blog, and have been following them on Instagram ever since. They're a boulangerie that uses natural leavenings in their breads, and who turn out the most delectable-looking pastries!

Pastry selection at Le Petit Grain

On reflection, I see that their pastries and cookie selection was quite "brown", focusing on dough and pastry and chocolate and nuts, rather than fruits and custards and bright colours. In other words: totally up my alley! I wanted to buy everything in the shop!

Clarice and I managed to restrain ourselves and just bought one item to share - a pecan Kouign-amann, which, despite being made of dough laminated with layers of butter and sugar, was magically neither greasy nor overly sweet. It was crisp and flavourful and just heavenly!

Pecan Kouign Amann

If I didn't have a box of takeaway treats from Le Meurice in my suitcase, and German Christmas rapidly approaching, I would have definitely bought some cookies home with me. Next time!

Rue Denoyez

We then had a little wander around the area...

Rue Denoyez

...and stumbled across the Belleville market. The Belleville area is very multicultural, with significant Chinese and North African populations, and the market stocks a really wide variety of ingredients. It was also incredibly busy even on a Tuesday morning!

Belleville Market

Clementines with leaves

For lunch, we went to Astair (19 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris), a beautiful brasserie in the Passage de Panoramas. They do an incredibly well priced weekday lunch special, three courses for 25€.

Bar

I loved the meal so much that I'm going to dedicate a separate post to it. But for now: some highlights. Starting with rosé Champagne because we are fabulous ladies and why the heck not!

Champagne Rosé Chartogne Taillet Brut - 16€ per glass

Clarice's main of rascasse fillet, with glazed carrots and coriander coulis. (Rascasse is also known as "scorpion fish", and is the main ingredient in the famed Provençal fish stew bouillabaise).

Filet de rascasse, carottes glacées, coulis de coriandre

For desserts, we splashed out and ordered off the regular menu. I ordered freshly baked madeleines with a pot au chocolat, and it was an absolute delight! I love madeleines, and bake them at home often. These were gorgeous, all warm and buttery and crisp on the edges. I loved dipping them in the rich chocolate. One hundred percent stealing this idea for future dinner parties.

Madeleines et pot au chocolate - 10€

Remainder of the meal to come in a future post, but for now suffice it to say that it was an excellent choice for lunch. The atmosphere was cozy and bustling, but still felt special and modern, and of course, the food was wonderful.

That afternoon we did a bit of shopping on the Champs-Élysées (sounds fancy to Australians but there are lots of normal stores there too, not just high-end boutiques). I got some scented candles from Zara Home (I'm not into Zara clothes, but I LOVE Zara Home) for my sister-in-law as a thank-you for hosting our wedding tea, and some other bits and pieces. And then we had a pit-stop at the Pierre Hermé & L'Occitane concept store (86 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris). I am a fan of both Pierre Hermé and L'Occitane, and have quite a few items from their collaboration - I particularly like the soaps and hand creams in both grapefruit rhubarb, and jasmine imortelle neroli. The concept store stocks L'Occitane products, sells pastries and macarons, and has a salon de thé. It's a beautiful space.

Pierre Hermé x L'Occitane

We were way too full to order any pastries, but both enjoyed a drink each - an Ispahan latté for Clarice, and an Ispahan iced tea for me. I love the beautiful red rose petal adorning the iced tea! (PS for those of you who don't know, Ispahan is one of Pierre Hermé's signature flavour combinations, of rose, raspberry and lychee).

Ispahan Latte & Ispahan Iced Tea

We did ogle the menu though, and I was thrilled to see that they serve a dessert called the "Sarah" - passionfruit crème brûlée with ice-cream and passionfruit tuile, chestnut jelly and a rich matcha cream. It sounds perrrrrfect for me and not just because of the name. I will have to save some stomach space and order it next time! However, I think it was testament to the quality and quantity of excellent food that we ate over the trip, that I couldn't face ordering a Pierre Hermé pastry, or even consider purchasing any macarons to bring home.

And from there it was back to Germany! The visit to Paris was short but (very) sweet! Thank-you Clarice for being an excellent host and tour guide!

Read about my previous trips to Paris here:

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2 comments

  1. Pastry is just about my favourite food group! And I follow Cedric Grolet on Instagram so I'll be very eager to read about your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking forward to the two reviews :)

    ReplyDelete

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