Monday 28 September 2015

50 Things You Need To Eat In Paris Before You Die

I do love a list. Usually they're book lists I share here. But this list was something special, and you know this caught my eye immediately when I saw it on Facebook recently.

I think I've found a mission for my next trip to Paris, whenever that glorious day arrives. I did take up the My Paris, My Sweet Challenge back in 2013 (still only 90% complete sadly). So I know I'm up for it.

If it's in red, it's already done.

The photos are all mine.

My comments are in italics.

1. Steak Frites - Relais de l'Entrecote

Travelers and locals alike line up for this restaurant's only dish- steak frites. It's drowned in a mystery green sauce, and you'll be giddy as a school girl when they come around with a second portion. Do not refuse, for the love of all that is good.

Steak Frites is not normally my thing, but am willing to consider it.

2. Lemon Tart - Sebastien Gaudard

This elegant little pastry shop features killer pastries all around, but the must is the lemon tart. It's the perfect combination of sweet and sour, topped with a candied lemon.

I've had many a tarte citron, but not that one. Happy to fix that terrible oversight one day.

3. Chocolate and Pistachio Escargot - Du Pain et des Idées

This bakery makes magazine covers and TV shows, but it's not too trendy for us. Its chestnut flour bread is equally as noteworthy. But let's talk sweets; it makes some of the best buttery, flaky pastries around, and noone should leave Paris without trying its signature escargot, a spiral filled with pistachio paste and chocolate bits.

Du Pain et des Idées is already on my hit list for next time. I do love pistache anything so would likely have bought this anyway. Consider it done.

4. Ice Cream - Berthillon

It's the most famous ice cream in town. It's so popular that the main parlour actually closes down in the summer. Business must be good. One like of the salted butter caramel (caramel beurre salé) or strawberry and basil will make it obvious why this is the case.

Definitely all over this. Many, many times. It's one of the first things I recommend to anyone going to Paris. Every trip to Paris no matter the weather it must be done. Best. Ice Cream. Ever. I particularly like the framboise, pistache, and speculoos. Next time I need to make it to the Salon de Thé for some pain perdu or tarte tatin

5. Falafel - L'As du Fallafel

Alright, this is not French food, but it's completely Parisian. The world famous falafel is a favourite among locals and out-of-twoners, notably Lenny Kravitz. What more endorsement could you need?

Done. So different to an Australian kebab experience.

6. Eclairs - L'Eclair de Génie

Reinventing the éclair, this shop will break even the most diehard diet, with seasonal varieties keeping things interesting for repeat customers (read: everyone).

It was Choctober when we were there in 2014

A more summery selection in 2013
Oh my. So good. I might have been there a number of times. 

7. Roast Chicken and Fries - Chez l'Amis Louis

A favourite among those looking for a higher-end bistro- including Bill Clinton- it's known for its quality fare, especially roast chicken and some of the most perfect frites in Paris.

8. Bloody Mary - Harry's Bar

While frilly cocktails are all the rage, sometimes you want to get back to the basics. The Bloody Mary and several other drinks were all created at this old-time bar in the early 1900s. Interchangeable with the Side Car and Blue Lagoon, if you must.

9. Financier - Eric Kayser

While his bread and pastries are all fantastic, monsieur Kayser makes absolutely killer almond tea cakes called financiers. His mini versions, flavoured with chocolate, vanilla and pistachio, and mandatory for anyone in Paris.

Breakfast of champions. Also their chocolate chip biscuits are divine. And the chouquettes- I'm a great fan of chouquettes- those balls of deliciousness studded with sugar. Bag of mini financiers a bargain at 7€ in 2014. 

10. Savory crepe - Chez Alain

Inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the eccentric Alain makes savoury crepes (and sandwiches) in a way that will test even the most patient of eaters. But the wait is worth it in the end as you bite into the salty concoction with meat, cheese and veggies wrapped up in a perfectly browned buckwheat crepe.

11. Macaron - Pierre Hermé

Macarons are everywhere in Paris and beyond, but the most innovative and elegant examples are found here (sorry, Ladurée). If you want a real macaron, Parisians will tell you to pay Pierre Hermé a visit.

Yes I know it's PH vs Ladurée (and I think I might prefer Ladurée), but you know Gérard Mulot is possibly my favourite. And I've been to see them being made.

12. Baba au rhum - Stohrer

The oldest pastry shop still operating in Paris, Stohrer is also home to the rum-soaked baba au rum. They still do a bang-up job with it, all these years later. Best served with a dollop of whipped cream.

I've had their éclair and am keen for their puits d'amour next visit. A rum baba is never high on my list but I just might be willing to try one- purely in the name of research mind you.

13. L'hamburger - Le Camion Qui Fume

You didn't come to Paris for burgers, but we're not going to lie- they're worth it. Head to the now-famous truck that started the food truck trend in the City of Light. The burgers are still some of the best in the city and pair nicely with a movie at the theatre located conveniently next to the truck's location.

14. Duck - La Tour d'Argent

While not the cheapest meal in Paris, the duck is meant to be the standout dish here, in the restaurant where the French royalty allegedly first used a fork. You pay extra for the history.

It's always advisable to order the duck/canard anywhere in France. I'm sure La Tour d'Argent is no exception. Have toyed with the idea of going there several times, but not made it -yet.

15. Croissant - Blé Sucre

Saying that any one place makes the best croissant will get you in trouble in Paris, but many locals agree that Blé Sucre makes a mean one. If you can't make it to this bakery, you'll probably be able to find another good one somewhere in the city.

I've been to Blé Sucre for their madeleines, which David Leibovitz recommends as the best in Paris. It is hard to get a bad croissant in Paris- and cheap! They're usually around a euro.

16. Chocolate - Patrick Roger

The basil and lime ganache and the hazelnut- filled praline are two of the many reasons to stop by this artisan chocolatier. Patrick Roger makes buying chocolate feel like shopping for an engagement ring, though with slightly lower prices.

One of those incredible boxes on the right
made it back to Australia last trip!
Be very careful as under the chocolates
the box was lined with chocolate!
The adults nearly missed it.
Eagle-eyes Master Wicker was onto it though..

Patrick Roger is one of the uber famous chocolatiers of Paris. His stores are particularly cool, and he does absoultely incredible chocolate sculptures. But Jean Paul Hévin was my first Parisian chocolatier love, and remains so.

17. Oysters - Le Mary Celeste

Though it's become a bit of a scene at Mary Celeste, the oysters here are as good as its cocktails. A variety of options awaits those hungry for a taste of the ocean, with just a squeeze of lemon.

18. Choucroute - Bofinger

This Old- World brasserie, like many others, serves up traditional Alsatian choucroute, an assortment of pig products served with tangy sauerkraut. It's the best you can get without going to Strasbourg.

19. Fig Gelato - Pozzetto

The most delicious Italian gelato in town is easily found at Pozetto. Seasonal flavours like pumpkin and candied chestnuts keep customers surprised. And the fig one is simply terrible (amazing) as the French would say.

20. Profiteroles - Profiterole Chérie

No fresher profiterole exists in Paris, as this tiny shop pops out new pastries every hour or so. Ice cream versions and more innovative cream-filled profiteroles are on the menu- so go crazy with lemon curd or hazelnut cream.

21.  Baguette de Tradition - Le Grenier à Pain

This bakery won the title of best baguette de tradition in Paris twice, and as the current title holder, it's the bread that anyone who loves carbs must surely try. The rule is that you tear into it immediately upon leaving the bakery and get crumbs all over yourself. Seriously.

22. Café Crème - Belleville Brulerie

The new- wave coffee scene is spurred on largely by this local roaster that sells its coffee to the trendy shops around town that brew it for you. Head to the source and see what the fuss is all about.

I don't do coffee at all so this one is off the list for me. 

23. Hot Chocolate à l'ancienne - Angelina's

The pot of molten chocolate served with a bowl of whipped cream is nothing if not decadent. If there's a line, you can cheat and go to its smaller location by the Luxembourg Gardens. The end result is still a chocolate coma.

Hot chocolate with a Paris-New York 2014
a pecan riff on a Paris-Brest

Angelina's has quite a few locations now. The original store of course on Rue de Rivoli favoured by the stylish such as Audrey Hepburn over many years. To dine there is to take part in history. Their meals are nice, but do pick something small as you definitely want to leave room for a hot chocolate and one of their sensational pastries. I'm rather partial to their Mont Blanc, but their eclairs are fabulous too. Last visit I sampled the absolutely incredible chocolat chaud at Jacques Genin Salon de Thé- I'm now torn. Both quite different- is one better than the other? Je ne sais pas. 

24. Cheese Platter - Astier

Finish off a delightful dinner with the requisite cheese platter at Astier, which features one of the better ones in our humble opinion. Take a bit of everything- leave no cheese untasted.

Cheese in Paris, and indeed in France is amazing it's true. And a cheese course at a good restaurant is a thing of beauty that you will remember forever. I really wouldn't take the advice to try everything, much as you might want to- it would be considered badly. 

25. Salted Butter Caramel - Henri Le Roux

The only thing that can make French butter better is sugar, and Henri Le Roux nails it. This guy perfected (and trademarked) the salted butter caramel in France. Try the original as well as the green tea, chocolate, and other seasonal varieties.

You know that I've been there right? The birthplace of CBS. You can never stop at one. 

26. Basquiat Pizza - Pink Flamingo

This Franco-American establishment has some of the oddest pizzas, and the Basquiat, with Gorgonzola, dried figs, and French country ham is a best seller. You won't find this on a slice in New York, that's for sure.

It's a very French combination, a riff on a salad I think. I'd definitely line up for this one. 

27. Local Beer - Brasserie La Goutte d'Or

Paris is growing into a beer scene after years of being out of the game. one of the few microbreweries, this is one of the best. Try its smokey Charbonnière or tis chai infused La Chapelle.

28. Sole Meunière - Chez Georges

Start your meal off with buttered radishes, just like famed client Julia Child once did. Then get one of her favourite dishes, sole meunière, fish cooked in a butter sauce. Simple yet perfect.

29. Cheese Fondu - Refuge des Fondus

Delicious cheese fondue is deliriously served with baby bottles of wine. What more could a glutton want?

More wine? Oh wait it's not baby sized bottles, but bottles with which one would normally feed a baby. Hmmm, not so sure about that. 

30. Tasting Menu - David Toutain

Toutain is one of the newest Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, and its tasting menu is nothing short of mastery. Innovative, playful, and relatively affordable, the tasting menu at lunch or dinner is the only way to go.

Going to a Michelin-starred restaurant is always a treat in Paris and a highlight of any trip. We've been to L'Astrance. L'Arpege. Le Jules Verne (three times now- first, second,  and third, but I don't seem to have shown you that yet). Even if you can only afford to go for breakfast it's definitely worth it- like our experience at Le Meurice

31. Pralines - Mazet de Montargis

This storefront sells pralines- French ones, made from almonds and sugar, not pecans- that they have been making just south of Paris since the 1600s. Sample the wares first. Don't be shy.

32. Southwestern Salad - Chez Papa

This place serves up authentic southwestern French salads, featuring lots of duck products, fried potatoes, cheese, and foie gras tossed in with lettuce. You know, to make it feel healthy.

33. Couscous - Chez Omar

With so many North Africans in Paris, you have to try some couscous with meats like spicy merger sausages. Chez Omar is a popular spot for it in the trendy Upper Marais district.

34. Coq au Vin - A La Biche au Bois

This place just screams Paris, and diners will want to try the perfectly cooked coq au vin, a sort of chicken stew that comes out in its own pot.

35. Meringues - Aux Merveilleux de Fred

These little meringues covered in chocolate and nuts are the lightest, most guilt-free dessert in Paris. Until you end up eating a box of six. No judgement.

These fabulous looking meringues have been in my sights for two years now, but I still haven't made it there.... C'est la vie. 

36. Ham and Cheese Sandwich - Any bakery

The only way this sandwich could get simpler is to take out the cheese and add butter instead, making it a jambon-beurre instead of a jambon-fromage. Either way, as long as it's on a fresh baguette, you must have one, unless you don't eat ham, then, well, just cheese for you.

It is quite unbelievable how good these are. And they're cheap, just a few euros.

37. Roquefort with Quince Paste - Laurent DuBois

This top French cheese maker has a shop full of stinky, hard, soft, gooey, and utterly mouth-watering cheese. One of his specialities is Roquefort layered with quince paste, which looks like a slice of birthday cake. No need to wait until you're a year older though.

It is important to seek out some of the extraordinary cheese shops in Paris. It will blow your mind. Laurent DuBois is not a cheesemaker though, he is a cheesemonger and affineur (ager of cheese) of the highest level. He is a coveted MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) in aging and selling cheese. I have visited Laurent, but not had this particular cheese. Another favourite fromagerie is Quatrehomme. But if you're on a very tight budget you can buy amazing cheeses at the frequent outdoor markets (like Marché Biologique Raspail), and even the supermarket cheese in France is better than you're used to. 

38. Sweet Crepe - Princess Crêpe

These Japanese girls have a tiny shop in the Marais decked out with pink frills and stuffed animals. It's kitsch to the max. But its sweet crepes, filled with ice-cream, fruit, and a variety of sauces are no joke.

Argh. I stayed a block from here last year. 

39. French Onion Soup - Au Pied de Cochon

This 24/7 restaurant once nourished the market workers at the old food hall. Today, it's still an institution, serving up its famous onion soup covered in gooey cheesy goodness.

40. Cupcakes - Sugar Daze Bake Shop

How does an American make cupcakes in Paris? With Nutella, speculoos cookies and salted butter caramel, and other local ingredients mixed with good old-fashioned American recipes. These ones are  worth the trip.

41. Cream Puff - Popelini

A store dedicated to cream puffs? Heaven. They're filled with creams like raspberry, rose, pistachio, coffee, and lemon, so you'll be hard-pressed to choose. A suggestion? Don't. Get one of each.

There are several shops in Paris dedicated to cream puffs. And no don't get one of each. Even I had to decide. Pistache, caramel and cafe. 1,90 € in 2014. 

42. Foie Gras - Au Petit Sud-Ouest

Foie gras in Paris is rarely bad (it's basically pure fat, so how could it be bad?). This specialty restaurant, however, excels in the often controversial product. If you're not morally opposed, this is the place to try it.

I have eaten foie gras in the past, but find it increasingly difficult to do. I avoid it where I can now.

43. Praluline - Pralus

This unique pastry is one for the history books. A butter brioche filled with little pink candied almond needs only a black coffee to have the trappings of a very happy breakfast. You won't find it anywhere else. Accept no imitations.

I know everyone raves over this, but I just didn't get it. I think to be fair I need to try it again. 

44. Beef Bourguignon - Josephine "Chez Dumonet"

This classic bistro makes the simple beef stew that Amy Adams' character tried so hard to perfect in the film Julie & Julia. Fortunately they never screw it up here.

We stayed very close by in 2013. That's the trouble with Paris- too much to do.

45. Frogs legs - Le Grand Colbert

This iconic bistro still serves up traditional dishes that people imagine Parisians eat all the time, notably frog legs, Provençale-style with herbs and fresh tomatoes. Taste like chicken.

I just don't think I could. I've never even seen frogs legs on a menu.

46. Croque-monsieur (or madame) - Café de Flore

It's a magnet for tourists- both the spot and the sandwich- so just go with it. The grilled ham and cheese sandwich that everyone learns about in their high school French textbook is alive and well at the Flore, and is one of the better ones in Paris. Fry an egg on it and it turns into a madame. Clever, eh?

47. Escargot - Carette

Located near one of the best vantage points for the Eiffel Tower, this place also serves up the most French of French dishes- snails.  The garlic and herb-covered gastropods are always averrable here, and they're delicious. When in Paris, right?

I've eaten one escargot on my first trip to Paris, and I think that excludes me. I've done it. I'd get the Salmon Tartare and Tarte Citron instead. Oh wait. I did. In the wondrous Place des Vosges.

48. Ile Flottante - Café Constant

A baked meringue floating in a pool of crème anglaise is one of the best ways to finish off a meal in Paris. The dessert resembles a floating island that will quickly sink to the bottom of your stomach.

I had one Ile Flottante in 2013, it wasn't all that. Sadly not at Café Constant, which is another place that has been on my radar for some time. I'm willing to pursue my Ile Flottante dream. 

49. Absinthe - Cantada II

Absinthe was all the rage among artists during the Belle Epoque,  and now it's back in fashion. With over 65 varieties to choose from, head to Cantada II and take a visit to see the green fairy. Go on now.

50. Steak Tartare - La Rotonde

Your food doesn't always have to be cooked to be delicious. Raw beef, an egg, and other ingredients are mixed to make this iconic dish... so you don't want to trust any old cafe with questionable hygiene to serve  you raw meat. La Rotonde serves one of the best in town.

Lest you think I never eat savoury.
Saumon Tartare at Carette

I'm all over Saumon Tartare, and have had many. All of which were fabulous, and just what I wanted. I'm less keen with the beef, but probably should try it some time. 

I don't do coffee, and will never do coffee, and can't really come at foie gras or snails any more, so excluding #22,  #42 and #42 I made 11/47. There is clearly much work for me still to do in Paris...

I'm Dreaming of France alright. 

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog 

All About France a monthly
love fest for France


Sim Carter said...

It looks like you have many happy days in Paris ahead of you! It all sounds completely irresistible. guess when they call it the City of Lights, they don’t mean light-weights, eh?

Sim Carter said...

PS I enjoyed reading your comments on the casting and location of The Girl on the Train. Such a disappointment the American filmmakers paid so little respect to what we readers of the British-set book loved about it and part of that is the location. I firmly believe location should be seen as a character!

Paulita said...

Louise, I saw this list earlier. So many scrumptious items, and I've actually had the the first one, steak frites at l'Entrecote.
Some of them, I wonder, can the roast poulet et frites at Chez l'Amis Louis be any better than the ones we get at the market and bring home to eat?
I agree about ordering duck anywhere in France.
I can't wait to see you cross off everything from your list. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Esme said...

I did 11 of the 50 now I have a new goal. That said there are a few of these I will not do-the beer for one. #43 looks a little dry. I have had this in Lyon and it was delicious.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hello Louise ...thank you for your calling over to my blog and leaving comments. 😊 very mushy a appreciate .always nice to welcome people back. The Luge was so much fun, if you get caught up , you have to go faster.

I am more of a savoury girl , than sweet. Life I cannot decide what to eat, I will have chicken and tasty. Love savoury creeps too. I haven threaten Escsrgot in garlic ..tasty.unwilling to try most things. I do eat the gelato but I go to Amirillo .so great.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Must not forget the Cunard delish.

Susan said...

This list made me hungry! I wish we had a trip to Paris in the works, but I'm afraid it will be a long time before we get back there.

Unknown said...

Oh wish I had seen this list before our June visit to Paris! Ah well, there's always next time. I didn't make it to Berthillon but we did visit Amorino's at Jardin des Tuileries. The kids loved the petal-shaped ice cream. #AllAboutFrance

Elizabeth said...

Two weeks ago today I was in Paris and I'm afraid I only managed to cross one of these items off my list! The ham and cheese baguette! I practically lived off them for the five nights I was in the city! :) I'll have to return and work on the rest....

Phoebe | Lou Messugo said...

Oh my this is a great list, I'm reading it at lunch time and I'm salivating at just about everything here! I'm definitely a Pierre Hermé fan over LaDurée (LaDurée is becoming a tiny bit "ordinary" dare I say with shops all over the place. Pierre Hermé is more exclusive) and one of my favourite foods in Paris is the falafel at l'As du Falafel. There are others I've tried but plenty I haven't (although I've eaten just about everything on the list in one place or other). Good uck in your quest to tick more off the list, I think it's a fabulous mission to have! And thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again.

Unknown said...

I think I gained 50 pounds reading this! What a great list and a few I have tried too.
Bises from #AllAboutFrance