September 18, 2014
Le Bonbon au Palais
French desserts would make almost anyone’s mouth start to water. Beautifully lined on bakery shelves, they are a heavenly wonder for sweet-tooths. But in addition to pastries, macarons, and mousse au chocolate, France is abundant with sweet regional specialties: Toulouse has its cachou lajaunie (licorice); Orléans its cotignac (quince hard candy); Aix-en-Provence its calisson (marzipan).
Henri Le Roux
Île-de-France may not boast its own traditional bonbon, but that doesn’t mean that quality Parisian candy makers and suppliers are not putting their flair on other regions’ specialties. Here are some of our favorite artisanal candy shops in Paris:
Le Bonbon au Palais
September 12, 2014
Kate Robinson – Oysters getting ready for market
On a clear day, the ghostly meringue-like swirl of Mont Saint Michel is just barely visible across the bay from Cancale. This plucky little seaside town has been famous for its oysters since the Roman occupation of Gaul, and continues to be a top destination for ostreaphiles the world over.
On a painfully bright day in July, I found myself sitting on a beach littered with shards of chipped and broken oyster shells, bleached white by the sun. Balanced on my knees was a plate of nine intact oysters, fresh from the Cancale bay, deeply cupped and glistening in their own liqueur. The oyster farmer who had sold them to me five minutes earlier had cracked each one open with barely a downward glance, as he stood talking to me in the shade of the little blue and white striped hut where creuses and plats sat in jumbles designated by size (the largest was surely only meant for cooking…). In exchange for the last three euros of vacation money that still jingled in my pocket, he presented me with a sturdy white plastic plate of oysters, a half a lemon and his condolences regarding my imminent return to Paris on the afternoon train.
Kate Robinson – Oysters on the beach!
September 3, 2014
When I spent a semester abroad in London in college, I desperately missed Mexican food. I remember asking a local if you could get it anywhere in the city. He replied “You mean like Doritos?” Obviously Mexican food was a long ways from catching on. Even though that was over 10 years ago, when I moved to Paris this year I came fully prepared to pine away for chunky guacamole flavored with lime and cilantro, tender pulled pork tacos and mouth-prickling margaritas. To my delight, and surprise, I’ve been able to find all this and more.
There is a delicious and thriving Mexican food scene currently in Paris. While Parisians have been aware of so-called Tex-Mex for a while, the current crop of restaurants are serving more authentic Mexican-style street food and many are owned by people from Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Mil Amores Tortilleria, owned by a woman from Cancun and two partners, makes fresh corn tortillas daily and supplies many of the city’s best Mexican restaurants. You can even buy black beans at Bio c’bon. So the next time you get a hankering for carne asada or citrusy ceviche, don’t despair; try one of these restaurants.
August 18, 2014
Craft beer is slowly but surely making its way into the Parisian palate. This May, Paris Beer Week inundated the city’s craft beer bars with brews familiar and unknown, leading local beer geeks to rejoice and even converting a few skeptics.
You can take the party home now, thanks to a growing number of craft beer stores popping up across the city. Check in with them regularly; they all host regular tastings and brewer nights.
August 11, 2014
Parisians who can’t flock to the seaside during the summer months are still drawn to their closest water sources, as evidenced by the ever-growing popularity of Les Berges on the Seine. However, this craving to enjoy the hotter months waterside goes back much further than Les Berges, or even the 12-year old Paris Plages. These initiatives are, in essence, revivals of the great era of Les Guinguettes, and once again Parisians can’t seem to get enough.
In its purest form, a guinguette is an establishment located by the water that serves up simple food and ample drinks (traditionally white “guinguet” wine, which led to the name guinguette), accompanied by lively music, and thus dancing. What’s not to love?
August 6, 2014
The latest buzz on the Paris coffee scene this summer is Folks and Sparrows, a café-épicerie-concept store tucked away on a quiet street in the 11ème, one of my favorite neighborhoods.
I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours here on a drizzly Tuesday afternoon last week. I relaxed into a leather easy chair in the corner, admired the sunflower and lavender arrangements around me, and enjoyed a perfectly satisfying cappuccino – smooth, creamy, and served in a hefty mug for two hands. Folk music played in the background and I felt immediately transported to another place, a cabin in the rural woods of New England perhaps.
August 1, 2014
The most famous tower in Paris is certainly the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful as it may be, the masses of visitors in the summer are overwhelming. Luckily, the city is dotted with an array of intriguing towers, showcased in this little stroll traversing the historic core of Paris.
Start with the Tour Jean-sans-Peur. Finished in 1411, it’s the last remaining structure of the palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, which extended over the neighboring streets. At 21 meters (69 ft) high, it’s also the tallest medieval civic structure in Paris. You can gaze up at any time of day or climb to the top during the summer, Wed-Sun from 1:30pm - 6pm.
Leaving the tower, make your way to lively rue Montorgueil, lined with excellent food shops and cafes. If the weather is nice, opt for some frozen yogurt at the new branch of Chacun Ses Gouts. Here you can make your own frozen yogurt “sundaes,” composed of weekly changing flavors and toppings of fresh fruit, nuts, candy, and more. Devour yours around the corner, lounging in the newly revamped Les Halles Gardens. Here you can also take in the unfinished towers of the Saint Eustache, one of the largest churches in the city.
July 30, 2014
When Benjamin Franklin came to Paris as US ambassador, he moved into the charming village of Passy, where genteel manor homes filled the bucolic countryside in what is now the 16th arrondissement. The Passy neighborhood still has that easy village feel, shady streets leading the way for relaxed, affluent Parisians out running their daily errands. It is far from the tourist crowds, yet very much in the heart of the city, the Eiffel Tower never far from sight.
The 16th is known for its wide tree lined boulevards with bourgeois apartment buildings, the epitome of Baron Haussmann’s 19th century urban planning. This is an arrondissement made for leisurely strolls and easy access, full of excellent museums, remarkable food, and stupendous views with the extraordinary 2000-acre Bois de Boulogne park just steps away.
July 23, 2014
As French parliament considers an amendment that would place beer among the country’s protected gastronomic traditions, one wonders why craft beer isn’t available in more restaurants in Paris. While a few forward-thinking places like Septime and Frenchie To Go offer craft beer, only one has made it as important as the main course—La Fine Mousse Restaurant. It shouldn’t come as a surprise; this is the latest venture from the fellows behind Paris’ first craft beer bar of the same name, located across the street in the 11th arrondissement. LFM has set itself a lofty goal: bring beer to the dinner table and prove that it’s a worthy companion to exceptional food.
On a Friday evening in late June, the restaurant’s front windows were thrown wide open, casting a soft summer light on the high wooden tables in the India Pale Ale Room. On the other side of the bar, in the Barley Wine Room, a few diners settled into low booths, ready to experience the six-course tasting menu. In the India Pale Ale Room, I decided to sample the small plate menu, which changes weekly according to what’s in season and Californian chef William Ransome’s inspiration.
July 17, 2014
Every year, as the sun starts to sizzle, a picnic pandemic hits Paris. Although undeniably chic, the pique-nique parisien often comes with a lot of fuss. Those agonizingly slow-moving queues at the supermarket and the fight to find a decent grassy spot, can mean that by the time you actually sit down to eat you’ve lost your enthusiasm (and your appetite!)
So what’s the answer? Well, there’s one simple formula; fast food (real fast food, not McDo.) Paris’ street food scene has exploded in recent years, with a huge range of fresh and flavorsome options now available to Parisians a emporter. So here’s a guide to some of our favorite fast food take outs, all accompanied by a little-known lunch spot within a short walk, to ensure that perfect fast food, fuss-free Parisian picnic.
Burgers in the Marais
1) Blend burgers are some of the most notable on the ever-expanding Parisian burger scene. Made with locally sourced meat from one of the city’s best butchers, Yves-Marie le Bourdonnec, Blend doesn’t joke about fast food. Select your burger, fries and drink (not forgetting your preferred cuisson) and within minutes a fresh, cooked-to-order patty smelling tantalizingly tasty will appear before you.