April 17, 2011

My Favorite Stuff in Paris (or My Outdated Guide to Paris)

blurry
So close, yet so...wait, nevermind, it's just far.

After about the fifth or tenth hour of cobbling together this post, I realized that writing this post was kind of dumb. Because a ginormous roundup of my favorite things from a city I only lived in for four months over four years ago when I had sub-minimal grasp of the native language doesn't make for trustworthy advice.

Yet I continued anyway, because people keep visiting Paris and sometimes these people ask for my advice or I feel compelled to foist it upon them, despite that my advice is sorely outdated. I did once write a very incomplete guide to Paris (indeed, its title was, "A very incomplete guide to Paris") back in 2007, but when I read it last week I realized not only was it incomplete, it was written so poorly that it sounded like I had poo-brain. IT HAD TO BE DESTROYED. So destroyed it, I did (and by that I mean I switched its status from "published" to "unpublished"), although I retained a few bits and incorporated them into this post.

But first, to dissuade you from reading further since I'm all about giving people low expectations, remember that stuff I said two paragraphs ago? Yeeeah, I'm writing this post based on experiences that are about four years old, from a paltry four-month stay in Paris (erm, while living with an American family, learning hardly any French along the way...guys, this family had Wi-Fi, precious Wi-Fi) while spending a semester at The American University of Paris. Also, I mostly focused on eating baked goods, desserts, and other inexpensive foodstuffs* (I don't drink alcohol and I failed to delve into cheese for some reason, gasp), which leaves out a whole lot of potential foodstuffs. But...um...what...ever...

For some trustworthy sources on where to eat in Paris not-four-years-ago from people who live and breathe Paris, check out the sites of food writers Dorie Greenspan, David Lebovitz, and Clothilde Dusoulier, who've all written recipe books about French food and/or guides on where to eat in Paris. I would blindly follow them with mouth wide open. Because they would lead me to something delicious/fatty/sweet and I want it to go right in here [points to mouth].

Please leave comments about anything here that needs updated info or is factually incorrect—I'm no expert on French food by any means, but would love to learn more. Recommendations are welcome as well! And if you have any related questions, feel free to ask—I can tack on more info to this post.

AAAAAND now it is mega-photosplodge time.

Favorite Eateries

Pierre Herme macarons chocs sorry, I took too many photos

Pierre Hermé: Yeah, how cliché of me to start with Pierre. Well. HIS PASTRIES ARE SO GODDAMN GOOD. Those macarons. Those chocolates. Those tarts. Those croissants. That lychee-raspberry-rose ispahan (which for some reason I didn't like the first time I ate it; the second time I realized it was sort of perfect). The...the flavors, the ones you think you've eaten before, but then you eat them in Pierre Hermé-form and they form something new. That sounds corny—I don't care.

So yes, you should go there. Head to my "Pierre Hermé overload" post for...well, just that. You'll find more gushing in "Patisseries in Paris, Part II." (I don't want to make it seem like every dessert is a revelatory experience. Some stuff I've eaten there I barely remember aside from being good, while other things I can't forget. So to me the scale goes from, "Mm, this is good in the moment," to "THIS IS GOOD FROM NOW UNTIL FOREVER." Okay I sound nuts.)

window large macarons lots of macs Millefeuille confiture fruits rouges
Ladurée

Ladurée: Ladurée is the king/queen/something-or-other of macarons in Paris and is credited with inventing the two-cookie-cream-filled French macaron as we see it today. They're great, but they're my second favorite to Pierre Hermé's. I also prefer Pierre Hermé's aesthetic, not that there's anything wrong with Ladurée's. It's very...luxurious, almost overbearingly so. Check out some photos of the Champs Elysées location on their website. So why would I go to Ladurée if I like Pierre Hermé so much? So I can sit down, perhaps with a chandelier hanging over my head, while eating their pastries and OD-ing on stomach coating-ly thick hot chocolate. The few non-macaron pastries I tried were awesome—everything I ate in this post I'd want to eat again. I didn't think I liked millefeuille, but at Ladurée, I do. I didn't think I was that into tarte tatin either, until I ate Ladurée's, which was the best I had ever eaten (not that I've eaten that many, but I keep trying in case I eventually find one that's as good). Those desserts had the good fortune of being eaten on site; I don't think they'd taste as good if taken to go.

Another plus for Ladurée is that they have a colorful selection of sturdy, elegant boxes that make cross-continental gift giving easy; when I left Paris at the end of 2006 I came home with a whole stash of slender Ladurée macaron-filled boxes of to give to some friends (along with small boxes of Pierre Hermé chocolates, among other things).

Pozzetto gelato gelato and take-away window three cups
Pozzetto, come to meeee.

Pozzetto: Even though Berthillon is the most renown glacier in Paris, my heart belongs to gelato. And my favorite place for gelato is Pozzetto. (On retrospect, I should've tried Berthillon more often, but I kept going to Pozzetto! I COULDN'T HELP IT, OK.) They have two locations, but I've only been to the one in the Marais. Don't be swayed by Amorino (although it's fine for a chain; I went there a few times) when you can go to Pozzetto and sit down with a tall cup piled high with gelato slabs. Read more about it here and here.

i like this place cheesecake loved by many perfectly stacked! cakies and things
Stuff by Secco.

Stéphane Secco Boulangerie/Patisserie: I went to this bakery more than any other...because it was right by my school. Erm. But also because I loved it. God knows there are plenty of other bakeries in that area (well, there are plenty of bakeries in every area), but Secco is the one I'd make a beeline for. Baguettes, croissants (and other viennoiserie), cheesecake, tarts, everything...well, not the macarons, but most other things. Read more about it in "Patisseries in Paris, Part III."

If you look in my old posts you'll notice that I also call it Poujauran. The awning used to say Poujauran, a holdover of Secco taking over the space from its previous owner, famed boulanger Jean-Luc Poujauran. Looks like they changed the sign since then, a good idea since it was sort of confusing.

chicken curry
Chicken curry sandwich from Julien.

La Boulangerie Julien: This is also filed under "places I went to a bunch of times because it was near my school," the draw being their sandwiches on great baguettes. Their website lists a few locations, but for some reason not the one I went to at 85 Rue Saint-Dominique (er, I hope it's still there!). Read more in "Patisseries in Paris, Part I."

chunk o foie gras pate
COME TO MAMA [waggles fingers]

Le Relais Gascon: This place pretty much ruined any other salad for me from the first time I went there. I mean, I can still enjoy a well crafted salad, but deep down I just want Le Relais Gascon's extreme version topped with fried potatoes, foie gras paté, and smoked duck. That's roughly 500% awesome and -100% healthy. God oh god oh god I love it so much.

sammiches and stuff
Mi-Va-Mi

Mi-Va-Mi: Perhaps calling this a favorite is a stretch since I only went there once, but it tasted much better than the city's most famous falafel joint, L'as du Fallafel. I'd be happy to go back the next time I visit Paris.

Chez Omar crowd meats big pot o vegetables
Chez Omar

Chez Omar: This is also a stretch since I only ate there once, but it was one of the most memorable meals I ate in Paris. Aside from the good food, this place got loads of points for the old school French interior, severely cramped (but charmingly so) tables, friendly waiters, and boisterous diners. Why didn't I go back? Dammit. Moroccan food, you're damn good.

Le Trumilou canard aux pruneaux Les oeufs à la neige
Le Trumilou

Le Trumilou: Here's another place I wish I had eaten at more than once. I need more of that canard aux pruneaux, and steak tartare, and œufs à la neige, and poire belle-hélène.

Favorite Foods

I made this section to highlight foodstuffs that I loved but didn't have to get from a certain place. Not to say that all versions of these things are good everywhere in Paris, but they're common. You could find this stuff outside of Paris too, of course, but it all tastes better in Paris because 1) Some stuff is better in Paris, and 2) Even if it's not actually better, it'll taste better there because YOU ARE IN PARIS, IT IS A MAGICAL LAND? Ok.

chomping in the metro..yeah I HAVE NO SHAME
Baguette from Secco.

Baguettes: I became a bit obsessed with finding good baguettes after reading Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything in which he shares a list of the best baguettes in Paris. Could those ubiquitous rods of crusty, chewy leavened wheat change my life? YESSSSSSSSSSSS. I mostly ate mine from Secco and Julien since they were near my school, but you may be better off checking out the top scoring bakeries in 2010's "Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris" along with this map of the top scorers from 2008-2010 made by Meg Zimbeck. Go for a baguette de tradition as opposed to a regular baguette. I was also a big fan of the baguette monge from Maison Kayser.

croissant innards mm layers croissant innards
Secco on the top, Pierre Hermé on the bottom.

Croissants: You don't need me to tell you to eat croissants, but I'm telling you anyway: Eat them. You're surrounded by those flaky buttery things. They're good. ...Ok, they're not all good, as I found out when I once ate a super cheap one from a bakery case outside of a grocery store (learned my lesson there), but I think that was an exception in a city of awesome bakeries. If you have a choice between a regular croissant and a croissant au beuerre (with butter), go for the butter. That's sort of a no-brainer, but if it were really a no-brainer I feel like those regular croissants wouldn't exist.

Anyhoo, Google around for the best croissants in Paris and you'll get lots of results. In 2006 French newspaper Le Figaro did a huge croissant taste test between 32 croissants. Pierre Herme was number one. And while, yes, their croissant is awesome, you don't have to go out of your way for theirs to attain croissant happiness.

innards
Innards spilling out. Such carnage.

Croissant aux amandes: Old croissants aren't doomed to die in stale loneliness; they get reborn as croissant aux amandes. And what a glorious rebirth it is: coated in light syrup, stuffed with almond cream, and topped with slivered almonds before being rebaked (check out Chocolate and Zucchini for a recipe). Hell yeeeaah I ate a crapload of these. You should too.

from above
Pain aux raisins from Secco.

Pain aux raisins: Croissant dough that's rolled up with raisins and cream filling. Freakin' sweet. Shove them all into my mouth.

palmier
Palmier

Palmier: It's a bagaillion thin, shatteringly crisp layers of buttery puff pastry rolled up into a sort-of-palm-tree shape. This is one of the first things I bought in Paris on a whim while roaming around for food. And thus the seed of palmier love was planted.

IMG_5276
This photo wasn't taken in Paris but...er, this is what canelés look like.

Canelés: On the outside, canelés have a crisp, golden/deeply brown outer crust, while their cream-colored innards are sort of like a slightly chewy rum and vanilla custard. I loved the one I tried from Pierre Herme, but Baillardran, based in the canelé homemade of Bordeaux, is a good bet too since that's their specialty. (Unfortunately, I didn't try these—argh! Also, despite what Ballairdran's site says, Chocolate and Zucchini says the locations at Gare Montparnasse have closed in lieu of the shop at 12 Boulevard des Capucines.) Another canelé maker from Bordeaux is Lemoine at 74 Rue Saint Dominique—which I embarrassingly passed all the time during school yet never tried. [internally swears a lot] Not all canelés are good; seems like I didn't like the one from Secco (er, back in 2006) and this other one I tried was too chewy. But when they're good, they're really good.

vanilla macaron box of 8 more macarons pile of...three
Clockwise from top left: Pierre Hermé, Lenôtre, Gerard Mulot, and Fauchon.

Macarons: I wouldn't feel that compelled to get macarons from anywhere besides Pierre Hermé, but they're certainly not the only place that makes good ones. There's also the aforementioned Ladurée, Lenôtre, Dalloyau, Gerard Mulot, Fauchon, and...oh god, there are so many places, I'm not going to bother listing them all. You'll find macarons in pretty much every patisserie, but like anything else, not all places make them well. There is (or there was) actually a competition for the best macaron in Paris, Le Meilleur Macaron de Paris, but it looks like someone fell asleep at the domain-name-registration wheel and now their site is full of brainfart written in English. On the upside, Waybackmachine.org has it archived—ah, thank ye Internet gods. Looks like the contest was last held in 2007.

For more about macarons, check out my lil' macarons series on Serious Eats.

confit de canard
Garlic-topped confit de canard on top of fried potatoes...with some salad to balance it out. From Cafe du Marche.

Confit de canard: One of my most favorite dishes in the world: garlicky salt-cured duck leg poached in its own fat for meltingly tender meat, then roasted to crispify the skin. The first time I ate it was at Café du Marché near my school. Hooked for life. I should make it at home.

FRIES, YESS Maison de Gyros ROTATING MEAT
More things should have french fries stuffed into them.

Gyros stuffed with meat and french fries: I only ate this once during my semester in Paris and I have no idea why I would limit myself to a single visit. ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH. I've never been into gyros (or rather, just never gave them a chance) until I ate one stuffed with burning hot fries fresh from the oil pit (I'm not sure what the meat was; lamb, beef, both?). Unfortunately, while my first taste at Maison de Gyros in Saint-Michel made me want to cry pita-wrapped tears of happiness, my second taste during my trip to Paris three months later was far less satisfying—more like sad and dry. But I still carry a torch for this kind of gyro, and if I went back to Paris, I'd try it again.

cassoulet for two
A BIG VAT-O-MEAT.

Cassoulet: Beans, duck, sausages, and more in various forms, slow cooked together to form the heartiest of stews. Embrace the meat explosion. The restaurant I ate it at in 2006 seems to have closed since then, but keep your eyes open for the dish elsewhere.

steak tartare
Steak tartare from Le Trumilou.

Steak tartare: I'll admit that I only like eating steak tartare if it comes with fries or some other fried potato matter, but I could say the same about other meat dishes I like—that they need the appropriate starch accompaniment. Spiced minced raw beef + whole lot of golden potato sticks = HAPPINESS.

crap what was this called?
from Le Trumilou.

Poire belle-hélène: An ice cream sundae-esque dessert of poached pear, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream sprinkled with sliced almonds. The version I ate at Le Trumilou came with two Gavottes, a light rolled-up cookie with fine crispy layers, which made me realize that I HAD TO EAT MORE GAVOTTES. I bought a box the next day.

innaaarrdss
Brandade de morue from Le Compotoir du Relais.

Brandade de morue: Salt cod + oil oil + garlic + potato (maybe) + breadcrumb topping = YAY. Brandade de morue is a cod fish-based dip, not necessarily made with potatoes, but the versions I ate in Paris at Chez Janou and Le Comptoir du Relais were served au gratin, baked fish pies with a crispy breadcrumb topping harboring creamy garlic-laden cod innards.

marshmallows
Mashmallow sticks!

Guimauves maison: What I see when I think of an American marshmallow: fat little cylindrical blobs best used as an ingredient in other desserts or in a cup of hot chocolate. What I see when I think of a French guimauve: long marshmallow rods in all different colors and flavors best chomped on straight out of the bakery. Not that they don't also have regular mass-produced ones; guimauves maison are the homemade ones you may spot through bakery windows. The last time I went to Paris I bought a whole bunch at Boulangerie Malineau, but lots of places make them, not necessarily in rods. I wanted to try the ones from Pain de Sucre but didn't get to before I left (yeah, I know I had four months—what the heck).

yogurt!
Yogurt, oh yes.

La Fermière yogurt: I'm not much of a yogurt fan, but French people love the stuff. Because their yogurt is better than ours (or maybe I only say that because I'm bored with the stuff here, whatever). I ate more yogurt during those four months of Paris than I have over the last four years of living in New York, mostly due to the existence of La Fermière's vanilla yogurt. The texture is nothing like other yogurts I've had—not runny, but firm, and not dense like Greek yogurt or Skyr (although I do like both of those)—and the mildly sweet, tangy vanilla flavor made it seem like a sort of acceptably snack-able-anytime vanilla pudding. Oh, and they come in adorable terra cotta cups. I collected them over the course of the semester (I can't believe I didn't take a photo of this; I had built a fort of yogurt cups on my desk), but only brought a few back to the US.

Favorite Places

You can't eat all day, right? ...Okay maybe you can, but here are some of my favorite non-food-related places in Paris, which are mostly places you'd probably visit anyway.

go towards...the...glass thing... pyramid pretty huge paintings

The Louvre: I'm not much of an art lover, so why did I go to the Louvre so much? Mostly because I had to buy a one-year student membership card for school, so I may as well have gotten the most out of it. (A one-day ticket costs €10. Depending on how many times you plan on visiting in a year, those under 30 could save money with a Carte Jeunes: €15 if you're 18-25, €30 if you're 26-30. It's nice that you can get a discount even if you're not a student, although sort of sucks if you're older and just don't have much money.) But I genuinely enjoyed it—the building itself, the Palais de Louvre. So I mostly loved walking in and around the building, finding new things all the time, although seeing art along the way didn't hurt.

sacre coeur down the steps view from the top stairs
Montmartre

Montmartre: It's got pockets crowded with tourists and tacky shops, but also quiet spots, beautiful little streets and steeps staircases, and views from the highest point in Paris. (I actually look forward to climbing the stairs. Yes, I enjoyed something involving physical exertion. This may never happen again.) After you visit the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur you should roam around and eat this giant salad.

Back of the Pompidou I liked this building bakery tea place
Places! Stuff!

The Marais: Sooo Wikipedia tells me that the Marais is one of the major neighborhoods for art galleries, fashion houses, and gay-friendly businesses, but I mostly went there to gawk at bakeries, chocolate shops, and restaurants. Probably because I didn't notice much beyond bakeries, chocolate shops, and restaurants. Check out these walking tours from National Geographic and Paris 48 for more useful suggestions on where to get your fill of beautiful historical landmarks. Other stuff near there that isn't food: Centre Pompidou (the largest modern art museum in Europe), Forum des Halles (a huge mall, in case you want to go to one of those), and BHV (a huge department store that was a bit of a lifesaver when I needed a large storage container to stuff food in for my trip back to NYC). The Louvre isn't too far if you head west, and Notre Dame is close too, if you head south, along with Saint-Michel, full of gyros and other foodstuffs. THERE IS A LOT IN THAT AREA, it'll make your brain will explode.

clear sky seine Seine feet
WATER, EVERYWHERE.

The Seine: As much as I love New York City, I would love it a crapload more if it had a river running through it. It's respite from the city in the middle of the city. Walk over it on bridges, walk by it on below-street-level paths, sit next to it and watch the boats go by...awwyeaaahhuuhhhhnngggmuuhhh[enthusiasm dissolves into sobs of longing].

boxy trees Jardin du Luxembourg view from the grass er..another view
Clockwise from top left: Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin des Plantes, Parc du Champs de Mars.

Parks: Yeah, that's a vague one. I did not take advantage of the mega-parks (Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries, etc; just look for the big green blocks) as much as I should've. They're beautiful open spaces. ...Actually, whether you think they're beautiful depends on how you like your parks—the parks I saw seemed to be perfectly manicured, whcih could be tiresome after a while. It's not wild nature, but I'm down with that.

eiffel tower
Eiffel Tower, over there.

The 6 Line Over the Seine: The 6 line runs above ground part of its route. Living off the 6, I grew fond of the view between Bir-Hakiem and Passy where you can catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur out the window.

that..bridge...you know
Pont des Arts

Pont des Arts: This pedestrian bridge in the center of the city isn't just for walking—you can also sit along the edges in groups, break out a bottle of wine, some snacks, and a guitar, and have a contained party. I would go for that in a heartbeat—bearing cake and milk tea. It's also laden with "lovelocks" along the metal fences that line the bridge (see more in this flickr pool), yet I didn't look closely enough to notice them.

Les Deux Magots Cafe Au Tramway IMG_5118 IMG_5178
Cafes everywheeere.

Any cafe: Even though I didn't go to cafes that often, I loved that they existed. Everywhere. You can stop in for a cup of coffee, sit back at a sidewalk table, and just...sit and relax. They were great for when I wanted to hang out with a friend before or after a meal in a comfortable setting, or if didn't have a specific place in mind to grab a meal, but wanted something casual and French.

Things I Wish I Had Done

Eiffel Tower
The view from Trocadero.

Go up the Eiffel Tower: File this under "It's really touristy, but you should probably do it at least once." I lived pretty close to the Eiffel Tower, walked right by it a few times, and saw it every morning I left for school, but didn't actually...go up it. Fail. Granted, I had gone up it once during a family trip to France when I was seven, but I don't recall much besides that it was, ye know, really high up.

the palace at night
Palace of Versailles at night.

Visit the Palace of Versailles: Versailles isn't far from Paris. Don't know why I didn't make a day trip out of that. The closest I got was when my friend Yann drove us by there one night.

truffles IMG_5658 looks like crayons... IMG_6217
So much chocolate.

Eat more chocolate: I'm more smitted by baked goods than chocolate, but man, I should've eaten more chocolate. I'll never have so many excellent chocolatiers at my fingertips ever agaaaain.

Punitions
Punitions

Get a loaf of bread from Poilâne: The over 70-year-old Poilâne is one of the most famous bakeries in Paris—they ship their bread around the world, recently came out with a recipe book, have a location in London, and sell a selection of their products in major supermarkets. I've walked by both of their shops in Paris, aware of their reputation, so I really have no excuse for not having actually gone inside either of those shops. I tried some of their famous Poilâne loaf and punitions at my nearby Casino, but that's not the same as going to the source.

oo pretty
At night.

Visit Square du Vert-Galant: I only came across this tiny park at the tip of l'île de la Cité at night when it was closed. I was all like, "Yeah, I'm totally going to come back in the daytime!" and then I totally didn't.

fruit!
A market somewhere in the 16th.

Visit more outdoor markets: Paris has loads of outdoor markets, biut I can't tell you anything about them because I barely visited any. :C

Visit La Sainte-Chapelle: A bunch of people must've told me this Gothic chapel looks pretty damn cool. Yeah, it does.

Visit the Catacombs: Because I don't get many opportunities to be surrounded by carefully stacked skeletal remains from the 18th century in an underground ossuary. Next time, I'll get my chance.

...Oh hell, I could keep going and going. I'd have to live in Paris for ages to see everything I want to see.

So. That's it.

* Holy crap, did you make it to the end? Welllll, there's some explanation behind my seemingly limited eating habits during my semester "studying" in Paris at The American University of Paris (I mean, I went to all my classes and did my work just fine, but the semester contributed no credits towards my major; I went more to eat loads of baguettes than for academic gain). First, I was on a meal plan where my homestay mom would provide dinner for me and another student she was housing a few times a week. Second, my two best friends in Paris, Alex and Mare, had limited diets: Alex is vegetarian and Mare is allergic to dairy and gluten. Third, related to the second thing, we'd cook every so often—at least, much more often than I cook in New York City—because it was easier and cheaper than going out to find a place that fit the dietary restrictions. Fourth, although I didn't have to pinch pennies (my parents funded my trip—yes, I know I'm lucky as hell), I didn't feel comfortable blowing excessive amounts of money on food. But I ate out a lot despite that. Yeah. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Posted by roboppy at 10:28 PM

Tags: guide, Paris

Comments

This is the greatest post in the history of great posts. The end.

Posted by: Lizzi at April 18, 2011 6:24 AM [#]

Poo-brain! =) I don't know what you're talking about but this is beautifully written and these photos!! This is a great little guide and one I'll be sure to come back to. Those croissants....

Posted by: Belinda @zomppa at April 18, 2011 7:56 AM [#]

I too love the salad at Au Relais Gascon. I was back in Paris over Christmas and since we were staying in the 18th, Gascon was our first stop. However, something . . . has really changed. The salad is a whisper of it's former self. Still good, just not life-changing. Don't know if it wa san off day or what, but I wouldn't go back.

Posted by: jennifer at April 18, 2011 10:39 AM [#]

Holy crapola, has it been more than 4 years that I've been reading your blog? Feels like yesterday that I was reading your ravings about macarons and thought: Hmmm, gotta try those some day.

I feel like some kind of celebration is in order.

Oh, and i did try macarons, but only LAST YEAR. I was in France. They were delicious.

Posted by: Mikey at April 18, 2011 1:56 PM [#]

Thank you so much for this post. I probably gained 10 lbs reading/looking at this food porn but will DEFINITELY gain 10 lbs when i hit paris this may. :)

I love your suggestions because i eat like you. "Also, I mostly focused on eating baked goods, desserts, and other inexpensive foodstuffs* (I don't drink alcohol and I failed to delve into cheese for some reason, gasp)" Although i will be eating some cheese while i'm in france. :)

so thanks again :)

Posted by: Winnie at April 18, 2011 5:00 PM [#]

This was a seriously beautiful post, and not out of date at all. Some things are just timeless, and posts about beautiful foods and beautiful places are are that list of timeless things.

Posted by: Maureen O'Danu at April 18, 2011 5:04 PM [#]

Oooh now I want to go to Paris even more!!

I'm still waiting to see the Robyn Guide to New York City Food!!

Posted by: Angeline at April 18, 2011 9:07 PM [#]

Hardly out of date, since I remember the originals - and it wasn't that long ago. Your guidance then brought me to Hermes and Au Relais Gascon, to the pleasure and delight of myself and my companions, on my first trip to Paris, and again on my second, and now I am yearning for my third . . . I am, as always, grateful.

P.S. to students on a shoestring budget - sometimes, at the closing time of the outdoor markets, if you order two small plates from the vendors of prepared foods, they will fill them high and toss in something extra - "un cadeaux pour vous" - with a smile as well. Even if you are middle-aged and clearly not starving. I love Paris (to coin a phrase).

Posted by: Marsha Calhoun at April 18, 2011 9:08 PM [#]

There's a pretty reasonable chance I'll get to do a day trip to Paris in July of 2012. It will be my first time there. OMG I WANT TO EAT AND VISIT EVERYTHING. I loved your entry!!! :)

Posted by: Carrie Dahlby at April 18, 2011 9:48 PM [#]

Lizzi: Thanks! Totally makes the continuous 10 hours of sitting on my butt worth it! (I got up every now and then to pee n stuff.)

Belinda: Hehe, thanks! You probably didn't read the original post though--it was poo-brainy. Let us never read it again, woo!

Jennifer: OH NOES, I hope that was an off day for Gascon! I WEEEEP.

Mikey: I wonder the same thing sometimes; has it really been 4 years? Holy moly. I'm surprised by how much I can remember from 4 years ago, though. My memories from Paris are more vivid than memories from...most other places. Any other place. Sigh.

Glad you got to try macarons!

Winnie: When I go back to Paris I plan on eating more cheese. YAY FOR SAME FAVE FOOD GROUPS, they are such good groups.

Maureen: Thanks! I was hoping the stuff I loved back then would still hold up today. Would be super crappy if Pierre Herme went downhill..that ain't ever happening.

Angeline: While writing this post I totally thought, "Um, I should write about NYC, because I live here." Not nearly as much fun as writing about Paris though. :( But..damn, I really should.

Marsha: I YEARN FOREVER AND EVER. So glad I could help make your visit tastier! And thanks for the advice. I want a lil' food gift.

Carrie: Sweeet, I hope you get to go and EAT ALL THE STUFF.

Posted by: roboppy at April 18, 2011 11:46 PM [#]

I would still very much trust your advice! This is so timely since I'm planning a trip to Paris. Thank you!!

Posted by: frances at April 19, 2011 3:21 AM [#]

OMG SO MUCH DESSERT!! I can't stand it. I love macarons! :)

Posted by: serena at April 19, 2011 11:39 AM [#]

Travel+Food=HAPPY!!! This is the best post yet! But now you've done it, we're anxiously awaiting your city guides for every major pastry producing city in the world. :p

Posted by: Angela at April 19, 2011 7:33 PM [#]

Robyn, I think you hit on all the biggies—I lived in Paris during college too and loved many similar things. But this post reminds me that I forgot to eat confit du canard on my honeymoon....zomg, so bad. Maybe I'll just have to go on a honeymoon every year.

Posted by: Claire at April 19, 2011 8:38 PM [#]

I love your post, it is perfect. Makes me so nostalgic for Paris. Jardin des Tuileries had a giant ape ride that you missed, you can see it on my FB page. Eiffel Tower is rather over-hyped tourist torture...it mostly involved waiting 45 minutes for elevators and walking down 400 steps when they didn't show up. I've heard going right before sundown is the best bet, watching a sunset from the Eiffel must be cool. Anyway, thanks to your post, I think I know where I'm headed this summer.

Posted by: Bonnie at April 19, 2011 9:02 PM [#]

I LOVE THIS POST! the photographs are phenomenal, I don't know how you do it! What I love is that you've made the city sort of accessible to a person like myself, who'd be totally overwhelmed by all the potentially amazing options out there...and you've kept everything irresistibly simple. I just hope many of these places are still around, coz I'm definitely using this guide whenever I can make that trip to Paris (which I've been dreaming about for years now) happen.

Posted by: inafryingpan at April 20, 2011 12:48 AM [#]

Almond croissants are amazing. The best ones I've had were from Standard Baking Co. in Portland, ME. The only thing better is pretzel croissants! City Bakery owns the key to my heart.

Posted by: Mr. Micro at April 20, 2011 4:10 PM [#]

Been lurking on your blog for a long time. I love it. I also love how you eat everything I am always craving.

Posted by: Jess at April 20, 2011 11:35 PM [#]

Frances: You're welcome! I hope you stuff yourself with plenty of baguettes and sweet stuffs!

Serena: I don't eat much dessert these days, surprisingly, but if I were in Paris..I would eat em all the time.

Angela: I'd love to do more guides!...except..not familiar with enough other cities, aside from NYC. Obviously I need to spend four months in major cities around the world and then write similar "baked goods n sweets n meaty things" posts.

Claire: OOoh, so glad I got your approval! :) Obviously you guys have to go back and get in on that duck confit action. DUCK CONFIT, EVERY DAY.

Bonnie: Aw man, I didn't go on any...giant ape rides! Next time? ;_; And the Eiffel Tower right before sunset sounds like a fine idea. I'll admit that part of the reason I didn't want to go was because it seemed sort of lame to do on my own, but no one else ever suggested it...I'll get the chance someday!

inafryingpan: I think you know how I do it; you do the same thing with your gazillion awesome photos! ;) You definitely have to get yourself to Paris. NO MORE DREAMING, ONLY REALITY. Hopefully these places will stay in business for a loooong tiiime.

Mr. Micro: Ah, pretzel croissants are a great thing. Whenever I eat one I feel like taking a nap afterward, but..so worth it.

Jess: Thanks for delurking! Glad to see I'm not the only one who's fave food groups seem to be sweets, meats, and wheats.

Posted by: roboppy at April 21, 2011 12:53 AM [#]

Big big sigh. Thank you for putting this up!!

Posted by: Marie at April 21, 2011 11:51 PM [#]

I'd totally print your recommendations and bring them with me to Paris next time. I trust your taste-buds! I've been meaning to write a guide like this for Mexico City and Hong Kong but it's so hard for me to get it together. xx

Posted by: Sewon at April 23, 2011 10:20 AM [#]

I think this is my favorite food blog post ever.

Posted by: andrew at April 25, 2011 5:40 PM [#]

Marie: You're welcome; glad you liked it!

Sewon: Oo, please write a guide for Mexico City or Hong Kong, I'd love to read em and look at your bagillion awesome photos!...wven if I dunno when I'd get to visit those cities. Maybe your guide would give me a push. :) It's a pain in the butt to write these kinds of posts but when you're done it's such a relief.

Andrew: :D Thanks!

Posted by: roboppy at April 25, 2011 11:25 PM [#]

I long for good salted caramel ice cream and certainly wouldn't turn away those colorful marshmallows...

Posted by: emily @ http://scrambledpreservedfriedcured.wordpress.com/ at April 26, 2011 1:17 PM [#]

I love all your photos! And I especially like your caption for this post. :)

Posted by: EpicuriousTravels at April 27, 2011 5:04 PM [#]

your description of croissant aux amandes sounds so good i want to punch someone. seriously i might fly into a violent rage because i want one RIGHT NOW. i love almond things!! you know those foods you have YEARS ago but still dream about? i had this cream horn in epcot in disneyworld in like 1996 and i still am drooling for it, the outside was encrusted in slivered almonds and sugar and it was filled with almond cream, MY GOD. thank god someone understands the fanatical nature that desserts bring out in some of us!!

Posted by: Jesika at April 29, 2011 5:08 AM [#]

Thanks for all the great tips! I definitely visited some of these same spots in Paris, and spent way, way too much money on macarons.

I'd add for anyone else who reads this... if you have kids take them to Jardin des Tuileries to ride the carousel and try to joust for the wooden rings, and rent the mini sailboats for the fountain. And if you're they're during the busy time... go to the north end of the park near the Obelisk to get a cheese-topped hot dog on baguette. Such good bread for a hot dog! and super spicy mustard.

Thanks again Robyn!

Posted by: Jamie at April 30, 2011 3:58 PM [#]

Awesome round up of Parisian places to eat and go to!

I went to Versailles about a year ago except security won't let any tourists in the day I visited because of a national strike for all museums! Disappointed, I went to Pierre Herme and another bakery, Des Gâteaux et du Pain, in the 15th Arr. to eat the pain away.

Des Gâteaux et du Pain was pretty darn awesome to visit. So many beautiful pastries and bread.

Come to think of it, this post makes me miss Paris. ;_;

Posted by: Tina at April 30, 2011 4:03 PM [#]

Emily: And now I have the desire to COMBINE THE TWO OF EM.

EpicuriousTravels: Thanks!

Jesika: YEAAH PUNCH SOMEONE! And wipe up that drool. :)

Jamie: I'm glad you got to try some of these spots! And thanks for the advice! Now I wish I had ridden a carousel and eaten a cheesy hot dog baguette. Guuuh NEXT TIME.

Tina: Damn, bummer about the strike! :[ But...yay for bakeries. :) I gotta check out Des Gâteaux et du Pain; thanks for the rec! I MISS PARIS ALL THE TIME OH GOD.

Posted by: roboppy at April 30, 2011 5:55 PM [#]

Great post! I went to Paris once, for umm...2 days. Hardly enough time to see the most beautiful city in the world! Next time I go, I'll take your advice on all of these lovely spots and foodstuffs I must indulge in!

Posted by: Kristen Hess at May 10, 2011 3:38 PM [#]

I think you've just about convinced me to head down to Paris, if only for the food. Not only was it a brilliantly written post, I was salivating through most of it... ! I'm really glad I stumbled across your blog.

Posted by: Rhea at May 11, 2011 3:51 AM [#]

Strangely enough, it was the giant salads from Le Relais Gascon that led me to your blog (via images posted on Flickr) rather than the other way around! How I wish I'd come across your blog before my trip to Paris this past week! I realize now I ate nowhere near enough chocolate and baked goods! lol Also, we could very much have used your guidance on a few good spots for dinner. We came upon Le Relais Gascon by pure serendipity, on our last night in the city (late, on a Sunday), as it happened to be located between two other Yelp-recommended restaurants we were trying to visit, but were sadly closed (or not so sadly, as it turns out?). Thanks for the great read and the solid recommendations (for my next trip to Paris). I also second all your fave non-food spots, and am too a member of the I-regret-not-going-up-the-Eiffel-Tower Club. Ah well - next time! :)

Posted by: Caro at May 17, 2011 6:32 PM [#]

Oh crap, I'm responding a month later...bluuuuuhh!

Kristen: I hope you get to spend more than 2 days there next time you get the chance!

Rhea: Thanks for stumbling by! And yup, get yourself to Paris!

Caro: Good thing those two other places were closed. :) It was...it was meant to be. Thanks for checking out my post!

Posted by: roboppy at June 17, 2011 8:17 PM [#]

Ohhh! Amazing! I like this post so so much!!!
I'm crazy about Paris and I really understand that your post is perfect!

Posted by: Olga at July 1, 2011 4:06 AM [#]

Olga: Thanks for reading! I'm glad you liked the post!

Posted by: roboppy at July 17, 2011 9:45 PM [#]

Awesome post! This will be so helpful for our honeymoon. Can't wait to check out the great eats.

Posted by: jamie ahn at July 22, 2011 1:05 PM [#]

Hi! I'm An Alien Parisienne, and I was just checking blog stats today, something I really don't do often enough, and I saw that I had a link referral from this post to my post on the Pont des Arts. Thank you so very much for linking it in! Sorry I did not notice it until now. I appreciate it mucho! (ummm... beaucoup)

I read this entire post (and more -- got to link-clicking. So glad you add lots of links in your posts!), and wanted to let you know how much I liked it! I, like your friend Mare, am allergic to gluten and dairy, so I often don't get to try many of the foods here in Paris, but it is so lovely to live through the food experience vicariously by someone else's descriptions. Thank you. I also have this fantasy: that one day, I will be able to get officially tested for my allergies (which I discovered by trial and error, and elimination and reintroduction, by myself). There is this thing called a "challenge test" where you have to go back to eating foods with gluten and dairy in them, and then they check the antibody levels in your blood after a certain number of weeks. I fantasize that I will be able to have this challenge test and will be FORCED to eat Paris' many delicious pastries for a number of weeks. I keep a mental list of the best of the best, and your post here has already been bookmarked just in case someone ever tells me I have to eat this stuff. :)

Thanks again. So happy to have been a part of this post!

Karin

Posted by: Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) at July 23, 2011 6:36 AM [#]

jamie: Hope you have a great honeymoon!

Paris Karin: Thanks for teaching me (and the rest of the Internet) about the Pont des Arts! :) Glad you liked my post! I hope you get the chance to eat some gluten and dairy filled things someday...as long as it doesn't kill you or anything, of course. Pastries = not worth death! Maybe. Probably. ...Okay I'll think about that.

Posted by: roboppy at August 9, 2011 1:05 PM [#]

Hey I read your blog about eating with Lori in Paris and you mentioned she had a recommendation for a great croque monsieur but I never saw where she was recommending. I'm headed to Paris soon and we love this simple but tasty treat. Can you share the recommendation from Lori?

Posted by: Gene at September 13, 2011 12:29 PM [#]

Gene: I'm afraid if I didn't mention it in a post, then I don't remember what the rec was. :[ You could try to contact her and ask?

Posted by: roboppy at September 14, 2011 1:22 AM [#]

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