A couple of weeks ago one of my friends, sipping wine at three o’clock in the morning, made a joke that we were snobs because we live in the sixth arrondissement in
. I am not going to explain why do we live here, except for the fact that, by chance, we found this nice (although tiny) apartment for a price lower to those offered in theoretically less snobbish and less expensive Parisian neighbourhoods. But as a theoretical snob I prepared for you a short guide of some foodie places (but not restaurants) that I recommend to visit in our snobbish neighbourhood. Paris
1. For foodies crazy about organic food,
A posh organic food market at Boulevard Raspail. This market is famous especially amongst American and Japanese tourists. If you are there around noon, it is very probable that in the crowd you will hear people speaking English and Japanese rather than French. The vendors do not protest about having pictures taken as they are used to foreigners and their cameras. Be prepared to see some famous actors and bobos, and so on. There is a wide range of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, milk products, cheeses, fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes; meat, dried fruits, beauty products, wines, olive oils and so on. Some genuine Parisians do not advise to do your shopping there, as allegedly certain vendors sell identical products on the regular food market taking place exactly at the same place on Tuesdays and Fridays, but for less money. I do not believe it is entirely true though. Be aware of pickpockets. Before you start your shopping, I advise you to buy and taste some “Potato Pancakes with Gruyere” sold by two guys who have their stall close to Rue du Cherche-Midi. Eating a fat and warm potato pancake before you start shopping will somehow cut your appetite and will prevent you from buying too many unnecessary, though appealing products (one disadvantage: the long line and the guys are absolutely slow).
2. For meat lovers,
A charming place to visit is an artisan butcher shop, or rather a tiny elegant boutique in retro style of Mr Jean-Pierre Bajon located at 29 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, between rue de Vaugirard and rue du Cherche-Midi. This nice guy, who has a smile of a
Hollywood star, sells top quality meat, poultry, hams, sausages and “produits traiteurs”. “Everything’s natural here” he told me once. Not only they will slice your meat like a masterpiece, but will also indicate its perfect cooking time and temperature. In addition, one can place special orders. Do not be surprised if you bump into some ex Prime Minister there doing his shopping. In plus, Bajon has a sentiment for Polish people, as two of his interns were from . If you are lucky, you can try his products during “degustations” organized outside his shop. Be cautious when taking pictures, as sometimes Mr Bajon gets a bit tired of his fame and complains about cameras... More about Mr Bajon in one of my coming posts. Poland
If you like old fashioned meaty preparations, you should visit Gilles Verot, the famous traditional charcuterie located at the beginning of rue de Notre-Dame-des-Champs. His sales staff will help you to discover the classics of traditional French charcuterie. I already was mentioning this guy here. Famous for his traditional “Fromage de Tête” for a certain time now, Verot’s charcuterie products can also be found in
, in the trendy Bar Boulud on Broadway. Try his rillettes and terrines, too. New York City
3. For amateurs of culinary news, trends and gadgets,
I like this shop for its outstanding wine selection at reasonable prices, for example, but on the other hand it becomes more and more mysterious to me why, when I search for a particular item, I do not find it there. That was the case with Italian flour for Italian pasta, Italian cotecchino sausage and graham crackers. They have, however, a great “Traiteur” department, which will provide you with prepared food items from all parts of the World. The Italian corner is good (but why don’t they have this pasta flour - was I mentioning this already?). I never buy fish there (as it is much more money than on the food market), meat (Mr. Bajon is better and besides, their meat department sales persons are masters in ignoring clients); cheese (our “fromager” at the food market is better and cheaper). Be aware that taking pictures is not allowed there.
Further, keep in mind that you actually will get more for your money when shopping on Tuesday or Friday mornings on the market boulevard Raspail. And the quality there is unbeatable.
4. For fans of pastries,
Gérard Mulot pastry shop at the corner of rue de Seine and rue Lobineau (close to boulevard Saint-Germain). This well known, although not glamorous, shop is always open on Sundays. We go there to buy their excellent “pain au levain”, which reminds me of Polish breads. Usually I am so hungry that I also take a “Sandwich Club”, which I eat on my way back home. Gerard Mulot does very good macarons but the range of products is much wider: bread and viennoiseries, savoury items like quiches and tarts, salads, sandwiches, chocolate, ice cream and absolutely fabulous cakes. Mulot is not as a media-friendly person as Pierre Hermé and his shop is more discreet than for example “
La Pâtisserie des Rêves”, which is a new pastry / concept store.
Pierre Hermé at 72, rue Bonaparte: what can I say. Mr Hermé is one of the most famous pastry chefs in
. Everybody should love him and his products. I do not have such a taste for ultra sophisticated confections and I tend to prefer more simple and hearty classical pastries. Besides, although his macarons are quite excellent, I have found my favourite, macaron au caramel et beurre salé, somewhere else…But once in France , visiting one of his shops is a must. Paris
Ladurrée at 21, rue Bonaparte. I believe I do not have to introduce them. Famous for their macarons, which I like a lot, the rest of the products, in my opinion, do not always offer the same quality. In particular, their millefeuilles look nice but do not taste as deliciously as they appear.
For fans of bread,
Gérard Mulot mentioned above. Try his “pain au levain”, which reminds Polish breads.
Pain Poilâne at 8, rue du Cherche-Midi. Probably the most famous Parisian sourdough bread; you can buy a whole loaf or just a few slices. Try their delicious small rustic apple tarts and croissants. You can “steal” one or two small “sables” (cookies) which are always waiting for you by the cash desk. Following the sudden death of Lionel Poilâne, his daughter, Apolonia, has been running the business. Right next door, the company opened a small Tartine & Wine bar, which is packed like sardine cans during lunch time (despite the fact that their chairs are not comfortable).
Eric Kayser at 18, rue du Bac (at the corner of rue de Verneuil). Baker and Pastry Chef, Eric Kayser is internationally known and operates several shops abroad (
Japan, Russia, Greece, and so on). His buckwheat bread and baguettes are very good. Ukraine
Small boulangerie at the corner of rue de Mézières and rue de Rennes: This is my favourite daily bakery shop. Great baguette tradition and excellent pain brioché to accompany foie gras. “They have gold in their hands”, as my husband uses to say. Always a line.
Bread & Roses, a bakery (selling organic breads), lunch restaurant (tarts, quiches and salads) and small grocery store close to the
, at 7, rue de Fleurus. Luxembourg Garden