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The Best of Brittany: Culinary Treasures from the Breton Coast

Monika Grabkowska

Crispy crêpes, ribbons of salted butter caramel, bubbling cider, and freshly caught seafood. You may have been delighted by all of these delectable ingredients in Paris but never known their origins. To track down their source you must travel to Brittany, the most Northwestern tip of France and home to these, and more, gastronomic treasures.

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Belle Maison Restaurant: Seafood and Ambiance in Paris’ SoPi ‘hood

Belle Maison is the little sister of two other celebrated restaurants in the 9th arrondissement- Le Pantruche and Caillebotte- and it has quickly garnered a faithful following of its own, with diners who appreciate the small inventive menu and calming décor.

Montmartre and Pigalle may be the home of many scenic spots and a wide range of cafés perfect for a quick lunch or coffee break, but the area is not known as a fine dining destination. Locals however, notably SoPi dwellers and habitués of nearby rue des Martyrs, know the best addresses for hidden neighborhood gems worth discovering. One such address is the newly opened Belle Maison.

Belle Maison is the little sister of two other celebrated restaurants in the 9th arrondissement- Le Pantruche and Caillebotte- and it has quickly garnered a faithful following of its own, with diners who appreciate the small inventive menu and calming décor. Continue Reading »

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In Search of the Perfect French Oyster: Les Huîtres de Cancale

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, photo 4-2

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.

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, Isabel Miller-Bottome DSC_0253

Isabel Miller-Bottome

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.

HiP Paris Blog, Huitres, photo 1

Kate Robinson – Oysters on the beach!

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Paris Foods You Must Eat – Part 1

Taking photos of the Seine and Sacré-Coeur are a must when visiting Paris, but my camera is filled with images of gorgeous meal after gorgeous meal, thousands of food photos bursting with freshness, color and deliciousness. As my time in Paris winds down – I leave later this week! – I promise to share every last morsel, starting with part one below that originally appeared on my food site, Eat Boutique. Bon appetit! -Maggie

Eat Boutique - Le Mirroir Scallops

Let’s be honest. Paris may be a foodie mecca, but all that amazing food isn’t a breeze to find. You have to research, ask the locals and scout out those hidden gems (far away from all the tourists). I did a lot of those aforementioned tasks and have produced my first “Paris Foods You Must Eat” list. Expect many more parts to come, but give me some time. I’ve got about two thousand photos to sort through, and many more neighborhoods to explore before I sleep, err, leave!

Growing up along the East Coast, I thought I had had the best seafood in the world. Um, that was until I tasted the scallops and oysters in Paris. Both are far sweeter here, with a lot more character and taste. The above scallops were caramelized and served on a beautiful plate with spring asparagus, carrots, beets and mache at one of my favorite restaurants in Montmartre called Le Miroir (94, rue des Martyrs, 18ème. Tel: 01 46 06 50 73. Metro: Abbesses or Pigalle.) If they are serving scallops the day you dine there, order them. Continue Reading »

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Le Baron Rouge: The Quintessential Paris Wine Bar

Baron Rouge -- Monnuage.frMonnuage.fr

There are a few places in Paris that make you feel like an insider the minute you step through the door. It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling, given that other elements of life here can feel downright impenetrable to those of us who aren’t born and bred (make that incredibly well-bred) Parisians. So when I “discovered” Le Baron Rouge and instantly felt like a regular, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

It turns out that quite a few people have hit the same jackpot, but as popular as this unassuming spot is, it maintains its low-key, local vibe. French still dominates among the staff and clientele, and the guys behind the bar are no-nonsense but still friendly (especially the one with the beard… you can’t miss him). There’s not a lot of hand-holding here, but there’s no judgment either (to me, that’s the perfect balance), and servers are happy to help you navigate the long and interesting wine list scrolled on chalkboards near the bar.

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Marché des Gastronomes: Champagne Tasting Dec. 30 & 31

champagne_des_allieswww.maisons-champagne.com

Stocking up on supplies for your New Year’s Eve feast? Don’t forget to swing by the stylish Marché des Gastronomes (in the 9th) to pick up some foie gras, smoked salmon, truffles, caviar, oysters, and traditional holiday desserts. Special champagne tastings are being offered on Wednedsay, December 30 (5-8pm) and Thursday, December 31 (5-8pm). This is the spot to discover great champagnes from smaller producers, so swing by—if not to buy, at least to taste…

Le Marché des Gastronomes. 9, place Pigalle, 75009. Tel:  01 80 06 85 56.

pj_amour1_ptWritten by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

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