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.
July 15, 2014
There are few things in the world that make me happier than living in the 18th arrondissement. One could argue that it’s pretty great living anywhere in Paris, but there’s something about this quartier that has my heart forever. From the cinematic charm of Montmartre to the seductive side streets found beyond the Butte, this corner of of the city is full of friendly neighborhood addresses, unique boutiques, and rich cultural diversity.
Marche de Barbes
With the recent renovation of Le Louxor cinema (whose rooftop café offers magnificent views of the Sacre Coeur) increasing amounts of visitors are venturing to the foot of Boulevard Barbès, the entryway to the Goutte d’Or neighborhood. With its mosques, African markets, and North African pastry shops, this diverse and lively area has recently emerged as the city’s most eccentric up-and-coming neighborhood.
Sacre Coeur; Marche Dejean
Probably the most emblematic address of the Goutte d’Or is Thierry Roche’s Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or. Opened in 2012, the brasserie boasts the title of the city’s first microbrewery and has set an example for Ile-de-France brewers and Paris craft beer bars alike. Thierry takes inspiration from the diverse culture of the Goutte d’Or, using ingredients such a rooibus and kola nut in his beers, which can be found at nearby outdoor markets.
If you’re interested in finding your own inspiration at the market, visit Marché Dejean near the metro Chateau Rouge, rue Dejean. Open Tuesday to Saturday mornings, this chaotic jumble of a market is stuffed with overflowing baskets of exotic foods, fish heads, and cell phones of dubious origin. Get everything you need for a Senegalese feast or Cameroon cuisine. Here bartering is encouraged and the overall ambiance of the market transports you to another part of the world.
Get cosy with local shoppers and squeeze your way through Marché Barbès (Bld de la Chapelle, metro La Chapelle) on Wednesday or Saturday morning. Standard market stands such as fishmongers and cheese sellers are in the minority at this busy market, which reflects the ethnic diversity of the area. North African breads and pastries, inexpensive produce from abroad, mangoes and other foreign fruits lend an exotic air to this market, which draws deal seekers and tourists alike. An overwhelming aroma of mint accompanies your visit to Marché Barbès as you pass by piles of herbs and spices and items that likely “fell off a truck” before making it to the market.
Goutte d’Or is about to welcome a unique new market to its collection. Just down the street from the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or is the future site of La Louve Coopérative, a Park Slope Food Coop inspired project set to open in June 2015. Watch this space for more information on this exciting addition to the list of “bio” shops in Paris.
In the meandering side streets around the historic Eglise Saint-Bernard de la Chapelle, you’ll find a selection of boutiques and bars that are a testament to the transformation of the neighborhood. Design team Cocobohème has their studio and showcase on rue de Jessaint, where you can shop for unique home decor, children’s clothes and toys, and handmade jewelry and accessories.
If you need a drink break after a day of shopping, pop into Le Tout Monde, a perfect spot for a pit stop and some small plates paired with natural wine. Recently open for lunch, keep this bar in mind for a break between boutiques or before a beer tasting!
For a proper sit down meal of tagine and mint tea, head to neighborhood favorite La Môme (16 rue Stephenson). An extensive menu of African specialties offers something for everyone (there’s even a vegetarian tagine option). Don’t miss out on the specialty La Môme beer that the Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or made especially for the restaurant!
If you’re weary of running around the city, opt for an indulgent afternoon and head to Azhar Hammam & Spa an affordable and authentic option for a traditional hammam experience. Enjoy a steam, massage, or mani-pedi that will refresh and restore, leaving you ready to explore some more!
The constantly growing scene of creative commerce and collaborations makes the Goutte d’Or neighborhood one to watch. Whether sipping on locally brewed beer or natural wine, catching a matinée, or shopping for unique handmade gifts, be sure to take pause and soak up the energy of one of the city’s most vibrant and swiftly changing neighborhoods.
- Le Louxor – 170 Boulevard Magenta, 75010 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 44 63 96 96
- La Louve Cooperative – 61 rue de la Goutte D’Or, 75018 Paris.
- Cocoboheme – 22 rue Jessaint, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 62 40 60
- Le Tout Monde – 4 rue Affre, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 54 29 51
- Le Mome – 16 Rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 23 35 64
- Azhar Hammam & Spa – 59 rue Stephenson, 75018 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 58 02 02
- For more tips on the 18ème arrondisement, check out My Parisian Life’s neighborhood round-up
- Chocolate & Zucchini’s guide to the best bio shops in Paris
- David Lebovitz writes about the Marché Barbès
July 3, 2014
With a menu that embraces the best of France and an approach to customer service that rejects the worst, Le Bon Georges is swiftly becoming a new neighborhood favorite in the 9th arrondissement.
Lunch service starts with a smile from a hostess and a seat in the sun-soaked, airy dining room where the attentive waitstaff takes over, buzzing between tables and sharing their excitement about the food they serve.
The reasonably priced lunch formule is 15 euro for the plat du jour with your choice of starter or desert. The price is right to entice locals who come on their lunch break, giving the restaurant a nice, neighborhood feel.