Food and wine envy: Paris edition

May 18, 2011 in France,Places

As I read through the responses to my query as to people’s favorite places in Paris, I wondered how I would answer the question myself. The Marais is my preferred neighborhood and the Jardin du Luxembourg is my go-to spot on a sunny day; I have amazing memories under the Eiffel Tower and I’d rather get lost in the City of Light than do anything else. But really, my favorite places, my favorite Parisian memories are inextricably linked with food and drink.

L'As du Falafel in Paris, France

My first stop in Paris is usually L’As du Falafel on Rue des Rosiers. It’s right down the street from where my parents rent an apartment in the Marais when I’m lucky enough to travel with them–but  it’s also my ultimate budget meal when I’m on my own. Absolutely delicious, super filling and a bit of spice–for just 5 Euros! On a sunny day, I wander over and eat it on a bench in a square tucked away on Rue des Blancs-Manteaux and Rue Vieille du Temple.

Pozzetto gelato in the Marais, Paris, France

I reckon Pozzetto is the best gelato in Paris. At the very least, it’s my favorite. And I take my ice cream very, very seriously. Pozzetto is remarkably creamy and delightfully fresh, with ever-changing seasonal flavors but not too many to overwhelm you. I usually take a seat on the stoop, eat my gelato ridiculously slowly with an enormous smile on my face and people watch to my heart’s content. It’s the perfect after-falafel treat to sustain me through an afternoon of shopping and wandering through the Marais.

Lorina limonade in Jardins de Luxembourg, Paris, France

On  that rare sunny day in Paris, there is no place I’d rather be than sprawled out on an iconic green chair in the Jardin du Luxembourg. A fancy-schmancy cold drink from Monoprix and a few French gossip magazines, and you’ve got my perfect afternoon.

Wine under the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France at night

You just can’t get more romantic than a bottle of wine under a sparkling Eiffel Tower. The details may be a bit hazy–merci, cheap Monoprix wine–but easily one of my best nights in Paris. Or ever, really.

Laduree pain au chocolat au pistache, Paris, France

It is no secret that the pain au chocolat is one of the reasons I fell in love with France as a naive and picky 11-year-old. It’s a love affair that’s lasted: through the temperamental teenage summer I spent in Provence at 16, the first-bite-of-independence summer in Paris at 19, the annual shopping trips during my university years, my six-month stint in Nice. But it took on a whole new level with my first bite of Ladurée pain au chocolat au pistache in Paris last June: the perfectly flaky crust, the infusion of pistachio mixed with rich dark chocolate, the remarkable airiness. All alone in a courtyard across the street from the Opera, the result of just wandering in an open door– it was an early-morning moment that I wished I was sharing with someone.

Hot chocolate at Ayngelina in Paris, France

This hot chocolate pushed me over the edge. It was sweltering hot and I had already eaten too much deliciously rich food that day, yet I insisted on conjuring up Coco Chanel and perusing my magazine while sipping an iconic Angelina hot chocolate for the first time. I spent the rest of that sweaty June afternoon with an awful stomachache, reminded that the life of a foodie is not always glamourous.

Radishes at La Ferrandaise, Paris, France

I like treating myself to lunch in Paris. It’s not as pressured or couple-y as dinner, it’s a bit cheaper and no one judges you for drinking wine by yourself. One of my favorite lunchtime memories was at La Ferrandaise in the Sixth. It’s the new French cuisine that I absolutely love: organic, local and fresh, with an emphasis on straightforward quality. Those radishes to start were absolutely succulent: nothing other than a touch of herbed butter, and I was swooning. It was a rare meal by myself where I didn’t distract myself with a magazine or a book: I simply focused on the food and wine. And that was more than enough.

What are your favorite Paris food and wine memories?

The winners of the Paris, Paris book giveaway all won me over with answers that gave me Paris envy. Congratulations to Dave Dean, Marisa Williams and Jodi Henderson!

  • Yay!! I’m very excited to have won a copy of the book, especially since it looks so fantastic!  Thanks so much, Christine!

    Oh, and cheap Monoprix wine is one of my favourite (hazy) memories of Paris too… 🙂

  • The craziest Paris food memory was definitely at Dans le Noir – where you have dinner without seeing anything during your whole stay. That one still brings back laughs today, 4 years later! 
    And actually, the cheap Monoprix wine brings back memories from all my visits to friends while in University. What a life saver!

  •  Yum! What a nice summation post of your faves in Paris! What I really like is the diversity: from simple things like a cool drink in the park to a well-prepared, slightly more fancy lunch, you have covered it all. Plus now I want falafel, lol! I have been avoiding it because of its gluten and dairy content, but if I were going to cause some self-indulgent misery, I think I might make falafel the cause! The Ladurée pain au chocolat is a contender, too. What a great photo.

  • Oh my yum! So sad that this post is about four months too late for me though 😀 !! I’ve been to Paris a couple of times now (the most recent earlier this year) and it’s as amazing as I’d hoped each time. I spent a day during winter in a cafe overlooking Canal St Martin ordering mug after mug of hot chocolate and reading a book – was perfect.

    I have to file this post away for next time – really really want to try out a lot of these recommendations. 

  •  Ohh, thanks for these suggestions – finding a great place to eat in large cities like Paris isn’t an easy task. I’ll make sure to taste a few of them next time around 🙂

  • Just booked tix to Paris today! Your post couldn’t have been more perfectly timed as I’m scouring the internet for lots of great recommendations like these. Bookmarking this page now! 🙂 I remember your dedication to gelato while you were in Nice, and totally trust this one in Paris will make my tastebuds happy. Anything you DON’T recommend spending money on/seeing in Paris? Thanks!

  • This listing of your favorite food/drink in Paris is great.  I too enjoy eating in the parks with just a baguette, cheese and wine.  It is a great respite to heavier meals.  

  • Christine, I know you were in love but you’ve got to move on now!  You’ve found someone else  and have moved to another place in your life.  Yes, Paris is great but after reading this it seems like you still have some feelings for her?  How is Australia going to feel about this?  Do they know about each other?  I hope you aren’t playing with both of them! 🙂

  • Actually we love to take a bottle of Champagne and sit by the chevet (back end) of Notre Dame at the end of the day – on this side there is no one, yet at the front side there are millions! See you there one day!!

  • Now I’m hungry and I blame you! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Cheap Monoprix wine is where it’s at. Best hazy memories from that stuff!

  • Anonymous

    I had a friend go to Dans le Noir–I’m dying to try it! Perhaps next time. I feel like cheap Monoprix wine is just one of those things that you have to do when you’re young and fun in Paris 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Cheers! That’s what I love about Paris–there is really great haute cuisine, but there is amazing street food too. It really is possible to have a fabulous experience on every budget. Go have a L’As du Falafel for me!!!

  • Anonymous

    These are definitely my favorites–although I will say that a cup of hot chocolate on Canal St Martin does sound ideal! I’m dying to go back to Paris as well–but it’s so darn far and expensive from Australia!

  • Anonymous

    The great thing about Paris is that there’s something great for every budget in every neighborhood–but you just have to find the right ones 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Oh my gosh will rack my brain and send you some suggestions! Paris is absolutely my favorite city so love sharing the things I love with first-timers 🙂

  • Anonymous

    That’s why I love having an apartment when I stay in Paris–so great to just keep some yogurt, fruit, baguette and cheese on hand as a light meal after all the rich ones!

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha I think Australia knows that I’ll never be as serious with her as I was with Paris. Much more of a fling while Paris is the real deal 🙂

  • Anonymous

    What a great idea! Definitely stealing this next time I’m there–I always love wandering around the back end of Notre Dame, but I’ve never thought to bring champagne!

  • Anonymous

    Believe me, it was not easy to write this post not knowing the next time I would be able to indulge in Paris!

  • Fran

    I’m rereading some of your posts again. I’m going to Paris in September! 🙂 I cannot wait to try some of the stuff I read here.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll have to let me know what you think! 🙂

  • Merci beaucoup again for selecting me as one of the lucky winners. I’m just back to work today and found David Downie’s book waiting for me. Thank you! I’ve been gone for nearly three weeks – 2 in Italy and 1 at home, sick. Traveling with a cold is a bear, a connection in Paris is worth it for a stop at the in-airport Ladurée at CDG. Only wish I’d had enough time to get out of the airport and to the Marais for a quick falafel. That would have been parfait 🙂

  • Anonymous

    How funny–what a small world! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the book, do share your thoughts with me!!!

  • I lived in Paris for a year and a half and everything you have written evokes such vivid, passionate memories for me. Your post really caught my attention when I saw a larger than life picture of one of my favourite culinary delights – the falafels on Rue des Rossiers! When friends came to visit me it was an essential stop as part of my tour-guide duties, although then I would encourage (enforce?) them to not eat it until we were safely seated on the grass in the Place des Vosges. Slightly cold falafels – but totally worth it. L’As du Falafel even helped me to conquer my fear of mushy vegetables – the slightly caramalised aubergine they put on top was a whole new delectable taste experience.

    Sadly, I never came across Pozzetto ice cream. As a fellow serious ice cream lover (addiction may be the word…) I could never decide between the range of flavours turned into a beautiful flower on your cone at Amorino (one flavour for each petal – I expect I wasn’t their favourite customer); or the intense, rich more traditional flavours at Berthillon on the Ile Saint-Louis (said to be the best in Paris). So after much deliberation and essential taste-testing, I decided that a decision was ultimately futile – I was going to frequent them both regularly either way. How I miss eating ice-cream surrounded by jealous pigeons with my legs dangling over the banks of the River Seine!

    One of my favourite reading-and-whiling-away-a-lazy-afternoon spots was found in the Mosque de Paris, amongst the tranquility of trees, birds, Moroccan decor and gorgeous mint tea. Hidden away round the back of the Mosque, you enter through a small, ornate doorway into one of the most beautiful gems of Paris – in my opinion! The birds would sing, the sun would always shine (or perhaps I just chose my days carefully…) and the waiters were never far away with silver trays of sweet mint tea in shot glasses (to my untrained, English eye). Perfection! 

     I’m sorry this is such a long comment – I get very carried away when talking about my favourite city in the world! Thank you so much for writing this article – I feel like I was with you at every step, picturing perfectly each road you wandered down and squares you sat in; and all the feelings of elation, emotion, magic and sheer awe that Paris, without fail, conjures up.

  • I lived in Paris for a year and a half and everything you have written evokes such vivid, passionate memories for me. Your post really caught my attention when I saw a larger than life picture of one of my favourite culinary delights – the falafels on Rue des Rossiers! When friends came to visit me it was an essential stop as part of my tour-guide duties, although then I would encourage (enforce?) them to not eat it until we were safely seated on the grass in the Place des Vosges. Slightly cold falafels – but totally worth it. L’As du Falafel even helped me to conquer my fear of mushy vegetables – the slightly caramalised aubergine they put on top was a whole new delectable taste experience.

    Sadly, I never came across Pozzetto ice cream. As a fellow serious ice cream lover (addiction may be the word…) I could never decide between the range of flavours turned into a beautiful flower on your cone at Amorino (one flavour for each petal – I expect I wasn’t their favourite customer); or the intense, rich more traditional flavours at Berthillon on the Ile Saint-Louis (said to be the best in Paris). So after much deliberation and essential taste-testing, I decided that a decision was ultimately futile – I was going to frequent them both regularly either way. How I miss eating ice-cream surrounded by jealous pigeons with my legs dangling over the banks of the River Seine!

    One of my favourite reading-and-whiling-away-a-lazy-afternoon spots was found in the Mosque de Paris, amongst the tranquility of trees, birds, Moroccan decor and gorgeous mint tea. Hidden away round the back of the Mosque, you enter through a small, ornate doorway into one of the most beautiful gems of Paris – in my opinion! The birds would sing, the sun would always shine (or perhaps I just chose my days carefully…) and the waiters were never far away with silver trays of sweet mint tea in shot glasses (to my untrained, English eye). Perfection! 

     I’m sorry this is such a long comment – I get very carried away when talking about my favourite city in the world! Thank you so much for writing this article – I feel like I was with you at every step, picturing perfectly each road you wandered down and squares you sat in; and all the feelings of elation, emotion, magic and sheer awe that Paris, without fail, conjures up.

  • Anonymous

    So glad you were able to relate, and cheers for the thoughtful comment!

    Have you read Paris, Paris by David Downie yet? I think you might enjoy it!

    p.s. You MUST go to Pozzetto on your next trip!

  • I haven’t read it, but I read your article on it and it made me want to! I’ll seek it out. I think it will give me enormous Paris Envy though!

    Where is Pozetto?!

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  • Anonymous

    Pozetto is in the Marais on Rue de Roi de Sicilie–definitely worth checking out!

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