After years of working in banking Jane Bertch moved to Paris in 2005, where she went from banker to baker. Or more precisely, the founder of La Cuisine Paris: an (English-speaking) French cooking, baking, and pâtisserie school situated along the Seine, a stone’s throw from Notre-Dame and the chic Marais neighborhood.
As the school celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, Jane reminisced about how it all began. The idea, she explained, came to her during a conversation with friends over glasses of wine. She wanted to share good French cooking with visitors and locals—and what could be better than standing around in the kitchen, chatting and preparing a delicious meal together?
And, we’ve got some good news for wannabe French bakers! From now until March 1 use code HIPParis2020 to receive a 10% discount off of all classes booked at La Cuisine Paris for dates in 2020.
Jane welcomed HiP Paris into La Cuisine Paris’ cozy kitchen and gave us a tour of the quaint neighborhood, nestled in between the Marais and Île Saint-Louis, where she would spend her perfect day in Paris.
The Early Bird Gets the Brioche
“My perfect day starts early, with a stroll from my neighborhood in the 11th arrondissement down to the Marais. Paris is a late-rising city and I love having the streets to myself.
First, I treat myself to something sweet: a warm brioche from Aux Merveilleux de Fred. While they’re known for their cute, colored meringues, their best-kept secret is this fabulous brioche—it’s one of the best in the city! Every day deserves a caffeine pick-me-up, so I visit either Dreamin Man on rue Amelot or Le Peloton, the local coffee spot near work —if I have a bit more time I love to sneak over to Cafe Loustic by the Pompidou center. These places make some of the best coffee in the city, always served with a big smile.
Artisanal French Gems & Tunisian Crêpes
Next, I like to do a little strolling and shopping (which I consider as working off calories while supporting the economy). For this, rue Pont Louis Philippe does the trick—it’s a street filled with high-quality artisanal boutiques selling clothes, handbags, stationary, jewelery, and more. One of my favorite shops is Vent de Terre, which sells bags that are designed in France. I also love the high-quality stationary at Calligrane.
After all that hard work, I’ll start thinking about lunch. There are tons of options in the Marais, but my favorite place to enjoy a bite is L’Ébouillanté, tucked away on the charming rue des Barres. I particularly love their Tunisian crêpes—they use a crispy and absolutely delicious semolina-based recipe! Long lunches are the best, and if you drag them out long enough it’ll be l’heure du goûter.
A Delightful Franco-Levantine Goûter
One of my favorite stops for an afternoon goûter is Maison Aleph, a tiny yet cozy and charming pâtisserie. I love their nids, crispy nest-shaped delights made with a thin angel hair pastry (kanafeh) and topped with fruit confit and fragrant whipped creams. My favorite is their caramel au beurre salé flavor, and I’ll also be ordering my bûche de Noël from them!
Apéro à la Française
After enjoying a day of flânerie, there’s nothing better than melting a few hours away over a drink (or two) with a friend at my favorite wine bar, La Belle Hortense. Apéro hour is a sacred time in France, made for sitting with friends, enjoying a pre-dinner drink, and engaging in hearty conversation about topical matters (the French love to debate!).
If I want a meal that’s more substantial, I’ll pop across the street to La Chaise au Plafond. I adore their confit de canard and their tarte tatin aux tomates (only available in season)!
And before I know it, it’s time to head back home. I stroll back up the same streets, enjoying Paris lit up in all her splendor!”
Jane Bertch is the founder of La Cuisine Paris, an English-speaking cooking school that offers a wide range of classes in French pastry and traditional cuisine, as well as Paris food and market tours. For more information or to book a class or a tour, visit La Cuisines’s Website. In her spare time Jane is a mentor and consultant to other small businesses.
Feeling inspired? Follow in Jane’s footsteps and live out your dream of learning to bake in Paris. From now until March 1 mention code HIPParis2020 to receive a 10% discount off of all cooking classes booked for 2020 dates.
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Written and shot by Diana Liu for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.