Love Locks on the Pont des Arts: Hipposrunsuperfast; The Cook’s Atelier
I wonder how the French will receive Eat, Pray, Love? It seems decidedly dorky and American with none of the glamor or decadence that Sex and the City, the other chick-flick import, had. Rather, just an earnest exploration of the meaning of life for a newly single, thirty-something year old.
Me? I love this sappy-pseudo-spiritual-go-sister-rah-rah sorta movie. So not only do I have a (girlfriend) date to see Julia Roberts smiling her way through Italy, India and Indonesia, but I’ve been plotting the best places in Paris to eat (yummy Italian), pray (or at least feign meditation while in downward dog) and (peut-être find) love.
In a town that devours nearly every body part of almost every animal, it can be surprisingly tough to find a satisfying plate of pasta. So what’s a carb-loving signorina to do? Suss out the neighborhood gems. Beneath Sacré-Coeur’s shadow, you’ll find Corso (10 avenue Trudaine, 9eme, 01 48 78 55 81), a modest Costes brothers establishment that serves heaping piles of al dente pasta, homemade gnocchi with ricotta and spinach and a mean tiramisu.
It took me awhile to find a good pie here in Paris but now I have two reliable pizza places. With toppings like rocket, baby peas, and roasted eggplant, my new favorite is GreenPizz, but for a more traditional experience, go to La Briciola (64 rue Charlot, 3eme, 01 42 77 34 10). The caprese’s sweet sauce, beautiful mozzarella and modest basil leaves are pitch-perfect.
But the very best Italian I’ve had in Paris was at Caffé dei Cioppi, an itty-bitty slice of a restaurant in an alley off rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine (159 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 11eme, 01 43 46 10 14). While the menu changes regularly, a few staples you can count on include fresh, creamy burrata, homemade ravioli and soupy, stick-to-your-ribs risotto. It’s cozy, well priced and frequented by Romain Duris—no wonder it received a 2009 Fooding® d’Amour award.
Julie Roberts as Liz in Eat Pray Love eating gelato in Italy
After loading up on carbs, nothing will make your jeans feel snugger than a scoop or two of gelato. With her eponymous gelateria, Mary Quarta (1 rue Charles-Francois Dupuis, 3eme) has brought her gelato-making expertise straight from Milan to the Haut Marais so you can taste la dolce vita with a cono piccolo of Stracciatella and Nutella. Sigh.
Finding balance can be a divinely spiritual or quite literal thing. And sometimes all you need in order to feel grounded is the presence of hundreds of worshiping Anglophones—which is where the American Cathedral in Paris comes in. Less intimidating than the Sunday morning Eucharist service are the informal Sundays at Six gatherings that weave world music into the religious service.
Personally, finding my center is all about yoga and thankfully, I’ve found a number of studios in which to stretch, balance and breathe myself to (relative) peace. The friendly but modest Centre du Yoga du Marais is a popular ex-pat option with variety of classes seven days a week, while on the Left Bank, Rasa also offers a range of different yoga styles, but with decidedly more swank. To find mental clarity without the physical poses, the Buddhist Center’s evening meditation classes might be your ticket—if don’t mind zenning out to the sounds of French.
Alors, here we are in the City of Loooove, where finding someone to waltz along the Seine with is a lot tougher than I ever imagined (Merci, Robert Doisneau for searing those romantic images in my mind).
Meetic, the equivalent of America’s Match.com, has been suggested by plenty a well-meaning local. Indeed, I have a colleague who just married his Meetic match. But I have a hard time committing to more dates… with my computer. It seems like real-live interaction is more promising. I mean, there must be ample testosterone at Meetup’s NFL Sunday group, right?? Or the Aussie or Brit groups are sure to have some strapping lads to consider. But since I keep coming back to the old chestnut of doing what you love, the Cook and Meet group seems more promising. I figure even if I don’t find love at this speed dating meets cooking school rendezvous, at least I’ll still be eating—and making good on one of my Julia Roberts-inspired goals.
- Parisien Salon’s list of Paris Yoga Classes
- See Eat Pray Love (Mange Prie Aime) in Paris
- Paris by Mouth on Caffé dei Cioppi
- Restaurant Recommendations from the foodie team behind Paris by Mouth