If you’ve been reading my blog posts since I started published, then you will know that good food is life.
Paris is strewn with chic cafés and restaurants and they are the perfect spots to sit for hours and watch the world go by (or, if you’re like me, conduct some extensive people watching). Outdoor drinking and eating seems to be season-less in Paris, with outdoor heating, I’ve never eaten outside so much in December with temperatures of about 5 degrees – it’s ace!
Also, if you’re a bread-lover then Paris is the place for you. I’ve never eaten so much freshly baked bread in all my life. Even my gal Ella, who’s intolerant to, well, pretty much anything and everything couldn’t resist the temptation! The sacrifices you make, eh…
Here’s a little run down of our favourite places that we over-indulged in whilst away, including lots of little Parisian gems because we were so keen to try some classic French food…
Le Café de Flore
Rated one of the most “instagrammable cafés” in Vogue Magazine, the exterior is covered with beautiful seasonal flowers and they have a conservatory area at the front of the café, overlooking the streets of Paris. It’s the perfect place for delicate pastries and possibly the best wild mushroom omelette I’ve ever eaten…
Ladurée Paris Royale
I’m aware they have a Ladurée Café in London, but I wanted to try it where it all began. Oh wow, the interior reminded me of a museum with the most incredible ceiling paintings and gold features. As soon as you enter, you are drawn to the handmade, better yet hand-CRAFTED pastries, desserts and macarons (with more flavour combinations that you ever thought). We brunched here and ordered the set menu, which is amazing value for money and sees you through with: pastries, baked breads, jams, eggs of your choice, fruit salads and macarons. I’m a champion eater, but even I had to take a few things with me for later!
We trekked about 40 minutes to visit here for dinner, when we arrived the queue was trailing down the street and we were told of the 2-hour wait. We left half-deflated and double-determined to return another day – as you cannot book tables. The next day we arrived at 11:45 ready for a 12:00 open and bagged a table, it’s very quaint and rustic inside with cooking utensils covering the walls. The staff act like a big family – singing to each other as they work and all sorts! We pizza’ed for starter and pasta’ed for main and everything was so authentic and flavoursome. Caution:You are likely to leave in a carb-coma.
Only lit by yellowy lamps that looked like bubbles and chilled music playing, we dined in their conservatory area with lots of French locals – always my favourite sign of a good meal to come! We were also surprised at the reasonable prices, as Paris is renowned for pricey eats. I went for the recommended risotto and I love parmesan, but this must have had half a block of cheese on top of it (for any Slimming Worlders, you’re measly 30g would be well out of the window with this)…
Le Bistrot Parisien
We had booked a river cruise outside of the Eiffel Tower for the night-time and decided to book a table at this on-the-river Bistrot, boasting the most unreal views of the lit-up Tower at night. Then we had a bit of a nightmare, three of us ordered the scallops for starter, my favourite starter always – or so I thought… Nowhere on the menu did it specify raw, cold or ceviche and suddenly we are greeted with a glass of raw scallops and cold cauliflower purée. Joel always looks to me for anything food-related and I genuinely felt like a parent that had let their child down, he was verging on tears!! It’s funny now, but we all still get emotional recall of the taste and textures. Never again. Thankfully, the lush cocktails and rest of the meal salvaged the wreckage!
Place really does seem to dictate price. A cocktail on the Champs Elysées average at €24, but a little wander down a side street reduces the price by half! We frequented in the Washington Poste with its dark furniture, mirrored ceilings and cracking music. I personally recommend the French martini!
Le Chat Noir (Pigalle)
After the warnings of the riots on New Year’s Eve, we were unsure how to celebrate the New Year. Locals recommended to head to Pigalle, near the Moulin Rouge, as this is apparently the best scene for younger people for food, drinks and clubs. Optimistically, we tried to find a restaurant without a booking and succeeded! Le Chat Noir, a traditional French vibe, was packed and decorated with balloons and lights ready for the celebrations – and a band and singer, who after a few celebratory drinks, we joined on the microphone for a few songs (not our finest idea)…
Finally, we took the plunge and tried snails; it’s like a military operation to use the tools to get them out of the shells! We were so surprised at how much we liked them, I can only liken them to a garlicy mussel, but 10/10 would recommend if you haven’t before!
“The French and their food. They put each meal on a pedestal.” – Giada De Laurentiis
Check back next week for the final part of the Paris trilogy!