Parisian Living

Help an American Girl in Paris

by Maggie Battista
parisviewfinder.blogspot.comparisviewfinder.blogspot.com

As a new girl, a new American girl, in Paris, I’ve been inundated with suggestions on where to go, what to eat and, in general, how to suck the most from my Paris experience.

Often, these suggestions are truly personal, inspired by a friend’s visit with this city or a friend of a friend’s semester abroad. About twenty-seven people have reminded me to get a falafel sandwich at L’As du Fallafel in the Marais. Fourteen people have demanded that I enjoy the ice cream at Berthillon on Ile Saint-Louis. And I’ve had to promise every single one, in blood no less, that I’d indulge at both La Durée and Pierre Hermé.

CanonS3flickr/CanonS3

While I sincerely appreciate all the insider advice, I’d be lying if I didn’t add that I’m a bit overwhelmed. I truly want to act on each and every suggestion because it was delivered with such love, or in some cases, with such insistence. I recall one friend saying she’d die (quelle horreur!) if I returned without enjoying a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) at Angelina’s on rue de Rivoli!

So with a list of things to do now firmly a kilometer-long, I’ve decided to set some expectations right here, right now, such that I can solicit the right sort of advice so that I can have my very own, very personal Paris adventure. Certainly, at some point during my two more months here, I will tackle all the touristy attractions, museums and food outposts. But here’s what I really want:

doudinguesmonrmartre1Erica Berman

  • I want to live like a Parisienne, shopping the sweetest local markets and then cooking up comfort food classics in my apartment.
  • I want to scour the flea markets and find affordable delights to bring back home, especially tiny vintage portraits, old crêpe and copper pans, and metal broiling plates that can do double duty in the oven and on the table.
  • I want to find the perfect Paris-inspired handbag. I’m a collector and got my first Louis Vuitton bag here 10 years ago. I can’t replicate that this time around, but hope to scout out an equally divine, though far-more-affordable (and ideally, handmade) satchel.
  • I want to find the best buckwheat crêpe of my life.
  • I want to eat as many Belon oysters as humanly possible.
  • I want to discover my new favorite boutique Champagne house, even if that means trudging out to Champagne-Ardenne myself.
  • I want to find and bring home amazing salted caramels that rival those handmade in the States.
  • And I really want to find a delicious, authentic mille-feuilles, known as a “Napoleon” back home.
CarouselCropMaggie Battista

But more than anything, I want to find my own little cafe/brasserie/restaurant from which to watch the world whirl, a spot where they know me and tolerate my bad French, a spot that I can share with future Paris newbies. Maybe. Only if they promise to ignore my recommendation and find their own personal Paris, of course.

If you have any words of advice or wisdom to set me on my right track, please leave your suggestions in the comments. I’ll send tons of Paris kisses your way, with gratitude.

Written by Maggie Battista for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Maggie Battista

Passionate about fine dining and old-fashioned hospitality, Maggie is focused on finding hidden, authentic food gems and is absolutely in love with the creamy, salty butter sold all over Paris. She also runs an online magazine and market called Eat Boutique, where she discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. Maggie’s based in Boston, with frequent trips to Paris, Brooklyn, Maine, and northern California. View Website

6 comments on “Help an American Girl in Paris

Wow what a program! I’ve been living in Paris for 3 years and I haven’t been to half of these places 😉 I think you forgot one thing in your list: Having a savoyard dinner (if you like cheese of course ;). A traditionnal raclette or a real tartiflette is perfect in this season. There is one in Rue des trois frères in Montmartre.
For all the vintage stuff you’re looking for, definitely head to le marché aux puces. Concerning the best buckweat galette, most Breton creperies are around gare Montparnasse. Definitely don’t go to a Grec or some place they would make crêpes and other stuff (as pizza…); these taste awful to my Breton palate!!! As you’re a great cook, I would also advise you to buy buckweat galettes at your local supermarket (refrigerated section). They’re always made by hand, nothing industrial in the process and you just need to heat them with some butter in a pan and throw whatever you want in it. Voilà! This could be your best galette experience 😀

You are all so sweet to offer such amazing suggestions!

Tory, we’re on for Angelina’s, before you leave town, I hope!
Bene, I will be visiting Marche aux Puces this weekend. Enjoy skiing this weekend!
Erica, I am getting falafel today. 🙂
Sweet Freak, your list is gorgeous! That buckwheat crêpe is calling my name. I’ll be living in the Marais and hope to make that spot my little spot.

Thank you all for the great stuff. Keep it coming, I need all the help I can get.

Kisses, Maggie

Welcome, Maggie! It sounds like you are already on your way to becoming and feeling like a local here. The two months will fly and there’s a lot of eating to do between now and then!
• Angelina’s cocoa is a must. But elsewhere around the city, it’s rich and delicious too. Especially at Jacques Genin.
• For salted caramels ( and so much more), scoop up some Henri Le Roux beauties at L’Etoile d’Or in the ninth. While you’re there, also grab a Bernachon tablette (or two, or three…). And if that doesn’t sate you, again, Jacques Genin has killer caramels.
• For a buckwheat crepe, try Breizh Cafe in the Marais.
• For millefeuilles, um, I might recommend Jacques Genin again! As well as Stohrer, Gerard Mulot and Christian Constant.
But the best things I think you’ll discover are those you aren’t looking for… the tastes and treats you didn’t know you were going to fall in love with. Enjoy every bite!

Maggie – You have to try Pozzetto in the Marais (see post on hipparis) for the best coffee and gelato like in Italy. For Falaffel Chez Marianne is another good spot besides L’As du Falafel. The organic market by the Bon Marche (and the Bon Marche supermarket is amazing along with their department store for everything from clothes and furniture to bathroom stuff) on Sundays is a must (but very overpriced) and Habitat department store along with the Conran shop for cool interior stuff not to miss. If you want to feel like a real Parisian head on over to the BHV and go to the bathroom or kitchen sections. They have EVERYTHING you will need and more, with an attitude! Bon courage. – Erica

Maggie, such a great post! Touristy or not, I will have hot chocolate w/ you at Angelina. And for galettes, I highly recommend Au P’tit Grec on rue Mouffetard in the 5th. They’re more Greek than French, but the line down the block has to count for something. I used to live there and this was my go-to. Berthillon caramel buerre sale ice cream is to die for…. but I guess you could save this one for summer. 🙂

Hi,

it seems you still feel like a tourist , a couple of week more and you will feel like a parisian I am sure… just some advice : for markets, you can go to Le Marché d’Aligre on the week end, a nice Salon de Thé in le Marais is Le Loire dans la Théière, I know also a couple of Café which are very different (cosy, with music, ….) and go to lost yourself au Marché aux Puces… Hopefully see you in March, we will head for some others restaurants and Cafés.
And I love les macarons Pierre Hermé, they are my favourites.
A bientôt
Béné

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