Monday, August 17, 2015

A Guide to Eating in Paris

I have found that you have been enjoying reading my Paris posts.  Today I am writing about eating in Paris.  These include things that I believe are a must-try!  I'll tell you how to save some money while eating in Paris and I'll give you some tips if you are a vegetarian headed to Paris!
A Guide to Eating in Paris
a raspberry tart... enjoyed on my birthday!

The Croissant
Let's start with the most obvious thing that you must try - the croissant.  The French croissant is nothing like any croissant I've ever had in the USA.  It's just so much better.  To get the very best croissants, you need to enjoy it by 10AM. Why? Because the croissants are baked very early in the morning and have a short shelf-life... enjoyed in the afternoon, they will loose some of their crunch.

For half of our mornings in Paris, we would go just down the street to Eric Kayser and enjoy a cappuccino and a fresh croissant. While Eric Kayser is a chain, don't let that fool you - he has written a book and still produces some of the best baguettes and croissants in the city!
Croissant and Cappuccino from Eric Kayser
eating at Eric Kayser
Another croissant we enjoyed... from Boulangerie Julien Paris!
French Croissant
Of course, if you like almonds... the croissant aux amandes is always a good choice!

Now this funny looking croissant that looks like it has 2 sunny side up eggs is actually a croissant aux abricots AKA apricot croissant. It was quite tasty!
croissant aux abricots
BUT, my MOST FAVORITE croissant of all was the ispahan croissant from Pierre Herme. THIS IS THE BEST CROISSANT EVER!!! Yes, I'm shouting because it deserves that type of praise. Get there early in the morning as they sell out quickly!
Pierre Herme Ispahan Croissant AKA the best croissant in Paris!
The perfect croissant has a little crunch to it then filled with layers of buttery goodness.  Honestly, I have never had a bad croissant in Paris. You can look at reviews of the "best croissant" in Paris, but I find them all to be good.  In fact, my first croissant from Paris was one by Dad brought home for me... it was smashed and survived the 12 hour flight home... and I still remember proclaiming how it was the best croissant I'd ever had ever... until I met the ispahan croissant, that is!

The Baguette
Everyone knows France is famous for their baguettes.  Why? Because they are SO GOOD.  Every morning, many locals head to the local boulangerie to pick up a fresh baguette.  What's not to love about fresh bread?  Well, besides the fact that they all taste delicious, they are only about 1.50 Euros--- AKA your cheapest meal in Paris! That's so cheap for such a good tasting product!! What I also don't understand, is how universally good all baguettes are in France, yet in the USA we seem to screw it up.  What's their secret???
hubby with a baguette
hubby with a baguette on a bike... so French!
Sandwiches
You know what tastes good on those baguettes? Cheese. And meat. And fresh tomatoes. For lunch, we always ate a sandwich.  Our favorite places to go to: Paul, Eric Kayser, Le Petit Vendome were our favorite places to go to! Additionally, almost every little bakery has sandwiches in the window. If you've never been to Paris, a favorite of many is the Croque Monsier - ham/cheese sandwich. As a vegetarian, I've never had it, but I've heard from many it is their favorite! I personally love the caprese sandwich. 
French sandwich

Butter
Okay, so I know you're thinking... butter, seriously?  Yes, seriously!  We all know that the French love their butter.  This butter is from happy cows in the Normandy region of France (they're happy because Normandy is so pretty, who wouldn't want to live there? j/k). But this butter takes 3 days to make and hours of churning and then getting hand-beaten with wooden panels. It comes in many different flavors, but it seems everyone's favorite is the Beurre butter (salted butter) as it has flakes of salt in it.... so yummy! Seriously we would eat bread, butter, and fruit for dinner because it was THAT GOOD.  So when you're in Paris, I recommend stopping by one of these places to get some.  
Bordier Butter AKA the best butter in the world from France!
oh, how i love thee!
Below is a selection of all the different types of Bordier Butter - this was at the Le Grand Epicurie!
Bordier Butter
Our finds at Le Grand Epicerie - a fresh loaf of bread, some butter, and some amazing jam! Yep, that was dinner one night - added some cheese. So good.

Macarons
Ok, y'all need to try a macaron in Paris. Just one. I recommend trying at least one of these flavors: pistachio, raspberry, or salted caramel. Then if you decide you like macarons, venture out and try some other interesting flavors!  I already wrote about my experience eating at Laduree (famous macaron shop!) and here I wrote about Pierre Herme (the other famous macaron shop!)
Laduree Macarons
Macarons at Laduree
Ice Cream and Gelato
Okay ice cream lovers, this message is for you - you MUST try the ice cream in Europe! It is a bit different than the ice cream here in the states.  The most famous ice cream maker in Paris is Berthillon, located in the Il de la Cite. His ice cream was extremely smooth with NO ice crystals! It was amazing!  The flavors we tried: salted caramel (caramel beurre sale), raspberry (framboise), orange chocolate (gianduia orange). I honestly can't pick out a favorite. Their salted caramel receives a TON of raves. The raspberry tasted really like raspberry and was delicious. And the chocolate orange? AMAZING.  Now, I read online the two must try flavors were salted caramel and fresh strawberry (fraise de bois). But the fraise de bois wasn't available when we were there!
raspberry and salted caramel
chocolate orange and salted caramel
There is always a line at Berthillon - do not fear, it goes pretty quickly and is worth the wait. You flew to Paris - you can wait 20 minutes for the best ice cream ever.

Another place we tried the gelato at was at Laduree!  It came in these pre frozen containers - we tried lemon (citron) and raspberry (framboise). It was amazing! It included a little macaron on top too!  This was so refreshing on a hot day!  


Pastries - Gateaux, Viennoiseries
When you walk through Paris (and the rest of France), you are surely to pass some window with a bunch of pastries on display!  They all sing "eat me" as you pass on by!

My absolute FAVORITE gateau (Gateau means cake) is the Fraisier! The Fraisier is basically like a strawberry short cake - only a bit more refined than the American version.  It is SO refreshing and light!  My favorite version is sold by Angelina - my most favorite pastry shop in Paris!
Le Fraisier from Angelina
Oh dear, do I spy more Fraisiers in the window calling my name??  The Fraisier is only available when fresh strawberries are in season. The first days we were in Paris no one had Fraisiers - but the the last TWO days the strawberries ripened and voila! Frasier season time! I love the Fraisier so much, I actually found a European baker in San Francisco who made a Fraisier for our wedding cake!
Of course, you should always try a tart.  This one was a raspberry tart that we celebrated as my birthday cake!
Did I get another Fraisier? Oh, I guess I did.  Oh and what's that?  a little strawberry tart!  What it nice is that the pastries are usually served in a whole bunch of different sizes - bite size, small, and then large for sharing!
Yes I know this is a crappy picture below, but doesn't the chocolate look delicious?
Below is a raspberry financier from Eric Kayser.
And we also tried a pistachio financier which was delicious!  I recommend grabbing one of these little viennoiserries and putting it in your purse so you can have a snack during your sight seeing during the day!
Pistachio Financier
One last look at some pastries while window shopping!
Oh! Also, I had saved this website link which contains of a list of the best bakeries in Paris listed by location!


Crepes & Galettes
Another thing you must try in Paris are the crepes! They are so delicious!!!  The other thing that's nice is that they are a relatively cheap meal!  There are creperies scattered all about the city - some are better than others. I suggest looking at trip advisor or yelp to see which creperies are good near where you want to head to. The savory crepes are actually galled Galettes (not to be confused with the free form pie version). They are served in squares and made with buckwheat flour. The sweet crepes are made with traditional "crepe" recipe that we know of. One of the creperies I do recommend eating at is here near the Louvre - a perfect lunch stop during your day at the Louvre!
a buckwheat galette with cheese, egg, fresh greens, and tomatoes! yummy!!
a raspberry crepe!
Chocolate
Yes, chocolate. You need to try some. La Maison du Chocolat has some of the best chocolate truffles in the world. Go and try one.  I remember someone telling me it was like a symphony in your mouth, as the chocolate melts you get different flavors. Enjoy it. Don't take the truffle in one bite. Enjoy in 2-3 bites.
I forgot to take a picture of the chocolate because, um, I ate it. It was hot and it was melting and I couldn't get my camera out fast enough.
image source

Alright, the next place that is even MORE famous for chocolate is Angelina's African hot chocolate (chocolat Africain). This chocolate has 3 different types of chocolate mixed in. It is nothing like your Swiss-Mix. It is like literally drinking liquid chocolate. It is SO rich. You could share it with someone. But you need to try it, at least once. Just know though, that sitting inside Angelina's costs an absolute fortune - I recommend the takeaway counter.  Although, the dining experience in Angelina's tea room is really fun!
image source
Head to the Market
Ok, Want to know a secret to save money while dining in Paris? Head to the local market. That's what the French do. Don't you want to "eat like the locals"? So then eat like the locals! Here's what you do - go to the bakery. Get a baguette for 1.50 Euros. Then head to the store. I don't know French really well, but I learned a few things. If you want to order meats or cheese, you say "tranche, s'il vous plait" (sliced, please!). If you want like 4 slices you say  "quatre tranches, s'il vous plait". Point to the cheese or you meat you want, as long as your playful and nice, they will help you! Try to say the French words, they will be much nicer to you! Also, don't grab the vegetables out of the container, please point to them. The storekeeper will get it for you.

Now head back to your place and enjoy a nice French meal - fresh meats, cheese, veggies, bread, grab some wine (or Orangina if you don't drink) and have a picnic in the park. Or in your hotel. This is how you can save a LOT of money! Also, as a vegetarian, you can really pick what you want! To save money, we brought over some plastic utensils. I highly recommend doing this so you can eat on the cheap!


The reason you want to dine at the market for a day or two, is so you can save money to eat at somewhere fancy!

Dine at fancy restaurant
C'mon. It's Paris. You MUST eat at one nice restaurant! Now, keep in mind. Dinner starts around 8pm. It will last approx 2-3 hours. You are supposed to enjoy the experience and enjoy the food. Enjoy the whole production! It is a show, after all! So stop rushing. Stop staring at the waiter. Do not call the waiter Le garçon. It's an insult. And don't be loud in the restaurant, talk in soft voices. Don't wear your ugly tennis shoes. Wear something fashionable!

Now, as a vegetarian, it is difficult to eat in French restaurants at dinner.  I also don't speak French, so I don't know how to politely ask for something vegetarian. The fancy restaurant we ate at that also has a nice vegetarian selection is called Maceo. It was really quite tasty! They have a selection for meat-eaters and vegetarians! It was also one of the fanciest places I've dined at before.

Now, there are much fancier restaurants to eat at.  If you are staying in a hotel that has a concierge, your concierge can call the fancy restaurant and request special meal requests (like vegetarian) ahead of time for you. But we stayed in an apartment so that wasn't an option.

Some of my friends are total foodies and also went to Paris just before and just after us.  They are not vegetarian and they highly recommended trying one of these three fancy restaurants:
- Jules Verne, located on the Eiffel Tower. Has the best views of Paris, and is a Michelin star restaurant.
- Guy Savoy's restaurant - two of my friends say this is the best food they have ever had in their entire life. I would hope so, it cost a pretty penny!
- Epicure - one of my friends has been here too. They also said this was the best restaurant, best food, and best overall dining experience. But it also the most expensive.

Some pictures of our fancy food we snuck at Maceo...
my vegetable appetizer, how cute is it!

Fish appetizer
We forgot to take a picture of the main dish - oops! Got hungry.
dessert, a deconstructed millefeiulle with fresh strawberry ice cream and a praline nougat candy
Where is your favorite place to eat in Paris? Leave me a comment!

If you've missed a Paris trip post, catch them ALL RIGHT HERE on my new Paris Trip Round-Up!

Written at http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com
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12 comments:

  1. Hi Angelina! OK, now I am really hungry and want to eat my way through Paris! Seriously, you should run a travel group to Paris and I would go with you as you have the best advice and also fun! Love all the pictures! I do have a question though: With all the open air markets and people buying baguettes and other food items not fully covered in bags, is there a problem with flies and other bugs flying around and landing on all the food? I often wondered about the sanitary conditions of the food products. Nevertheless, one day I hope to visit that lovely city! Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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    1. Oh! I am blushing from your compliment! I have been there 5 times (I think, I lost count 😊). I did not notice any problems with sanitation in the open air markets.. The meats and cheeses are stored in covered refrigerated cabinets... There is seafood open to air on ice which I can't comment on b/c as a vegetarian I didn't look too closely at that. As far as the baguettes, I didn't notice any flies or bugs landing on them... They are all fresh made everyday and they sell out every day so they aren't sitting there for very long! I do always get a bit grossed out seeing baguettes being carried in the subway uncovered inside the crook of a Frenchmens stinky sweaty armpit... But I certainly didn't do that! The eggs aren't refrigerated, which I guess technically they don't have to be, but will last longer if they are! I have never ever gotten sick on any of my European travels and I have been over 10+ times including a prolonged exchange program.

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  2. Dangerous post reading for someone who hasn't yet had breakfast. Oh, my! I want one of each of the above goodies. Beautiful food shots and a clever post. I'm ready to pack my bags for Paris.

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    1. Oh, how funny! Well at least looking at these doesn't consume calories...remember, I ate them! I was with 3 other people, so we would often split all of the pastries either in half or in quarters... So we could try everything! A bite of this, a little bite of that! It's actually a nice way to be able to taste everything!

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  3. The Croissant is something else in Paris - agreed!
    The pastries are phenomenal too.
    I love your photos - reminds me of our trip and all the good coffee I miss :)
    Have a Beautiful Week!
    Peace :)

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    1. I miss the pastries; that's why I have been trying to make my own. I have not attempted to make the croissant; I will leave that for the experts! Thanks for stopping by Hope you'll come again!

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    2. What about that 'French Bakery' off Olive? Le Bonne Bouchee??

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    3. Oh yes! I have been to le bonne bouchée several times when i lived in St. Louis... That's where I would go to get my macarons before I learned how to bake them!

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  4. Oh another thing - the baguette is France is the best.
    Nothing in the States even comes close to it.

    PS.
    Thanks for your comment on my Cardinals post.
    I saw my first Cardinal around the age of 27 or so, when I moved to Missouri. I have watched the St. Louis Cardinals too - they are not as spectacular as the actual bird :)
    Peace :)

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    1. Oh yes of course! It's been a fun chat! I'm going to follow you on bloglovin... That's where I read all my blogs.

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