Here is what I found odd and endearing about eating in Paris:
- No butter or oil for your baguette
- No bread plates -patrons placed their bread directly on the table
- Tips tax included in the menu price -how spoilingly (yep, made up that word) refreshing
- Waiters looking at you sideways if you refused espresso and/or dessert after any meal
- How long the French linger over each meal
- Having to request your check each time you finished your food- it is thought rude for a server to present a bill before it is requested
Anthony and I learned quickly that most Parisian restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner and reopen around 7:30pm. We weren’t quite hungry for lunch after getting situated in our HomeAway, missed our first opportunity for a good meal, and were starving by dinner time. La Fontaine de Mars, a suggestion I had picked up from an article about interior designer Kelly Wearstler, served excellent French fare . There, I ate Morel mushrooms for the first time. I’m a believer.
Rue Saint Dominique, an avenue near the Eiffel Tower, was packed with too many wonderful restaurants and patisseries. Some of my other favorites in the neighborhood were Les Cocottes, Gateaux Thoumieux, and Aux Merveilleux de Fred.
We had a great lunch at Les Cocottes, and heard the chef’s restaurant next door, Le Violon d Ingres, has an excellent souffle we will have to try next time.
Gauteaux Thoumieux had these incredible cream puffs filled with mini cream puffs. I got a caramel mousse filled cream puff that had a caramel filled cream puff inside. Anthony got a vanilla filled cream puff with a chocolate filled cream puff inside.
If you twisted my arm and forced me to pick a favorite sweet from Paris, I would select a meringue from Aux Merveilleux de Fred, a shop we happened upon.
The meringues are as delicious as the store is gorgeous.
While at Versailles, we dined at Angelina and had a simple French lunch of French Onion Soup and a Croque Monsieur. While we skipped the hot chocolate at lunch, we finished our meal with a Cho Africain. I think the meal would have made even Marie Antoinette jealous.
The most beautiful Laduree boutique and tearoom was a short walk from our flat on Champs Elysees.
Pierre Herme had not only the most colorful macarons, but also the softest version I’ve ever bitten into.
I must admit I had never eaten zucchini-topped pizza before eating at La Briciola, where we learned that the French way to eat the pie is with a fork and knife.
We planned on having a drink at La Pharamond, a place Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the like used to frequent, but stopped just short when the neighboring restaurant lured us in with the charcuterie and fromage plate we hadn’t yet ordered. When in Paris…
I expected to see many more street crepe vendors around the city than I did, but I also anticipated seeing mimes performing on the street and flower shops on every corner. I ordered a nutella and banana crepe as soon as I saw one near Sacre Coeur in Montmarte.
While shops on every corner in Paris had desserts more beautiful than most in fine restaurants at home, Sadaharu Aoki‘s tartes were especially beautiful.
While a single trip to Paris did not make me an expert on dining in the city, I would suggest that someone who had a short stay visit Galleries Lafayette (spice market inside pictured below) for many of the best pastry shops under one roof and Rue Saint Dominique for a great selection of French restaurants.
And even after all that eating, there are still and handful of restaurants for which I hope to have the pleasure of returning to Paris.
Tell me about some of the best or strangest food experiences you have ever had.
Thanks for reading,