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Paris - Your top Foodie (non-restaurant) places in Paris?

  • cgfan Jul 20, 2010 11:49 AM

I'll be in Paris for 5 nights in early September, and wanted to secure an apartment during my short stay. I'd like to have a good idea of some of Paris' Foodie destinations to see which, if any of them, might influence which Arrondisement I might stay in. I'm not expecting much in terms of the kitchens in the average Paris apartment, but would still want to attempt some basic cooking or assembling of a meal, so the location (and the density of) various provisioners would be of key interest.

So Paris-Hounds, what are your top Paris Foodie (but non-restaurant) must-visit places for you, be they open-air markets, boutique shops, stores, or even entire districts and neighborhoods?

...and for extra bonus points if you could choose one area that best suits assembling an improvised meal just within walking distance (as opposed to taking the Metro), where would you choose to stay?

...with many thanks in advance...

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  1. I would pick a rental near a good market or a couple of good markets.
    Which amounts to every arrondissement of Paris.

    Several areas esp stand out:
    - the 5th near the rue Monge market or Maubert market, preferably in between
    - the 9th between rue des Martyrs, place d'Anvers and the 18th's rue Lepic
    - the Marais or Bastille near the Richard Lenoir market and/or Baudoyer market.

    I realize I am leaving out at least a dozen good markets…

    See this map of Paris markets:
    http://www.paris.fr/portail/paris/Por...

    Re rentals and their kitchens…
    Some rentals have an amazingly well equipped kitchen. You never know. But often you can get an idea from the rental reviews.
    It always helps to travel with a good knife or two. I always do.
    I also prepare a dozen recipes that use in-season local ingredients, recipes that should not be too elaborate. After all you are holidaying, qui plus est, in an unfamiliar kitchen. Try to streamline your cuisine…
    In September you are soooo in luck. Mushroom is in season. You will easily see a dozen kinds in the markets. Make a mushroom omelette with fresh premium butter like Beillevaire butter. So easy and sooooo good. Grapes too will be in season. Don't miss muscat de Hambourg grapes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Parigi: Thanks so much for your info - all very actionable advice. I didn't mention it as I didn't want to bias the responses, but I had an eye out on the Bastille area too for both its markets and its close proximity to the city center.

      ...and I really appreciate your tips on what's likely to be in season!

      Know what you mean about traveling with knives. For long stays not only do I travel with a kitchen knife, but also a manual coffee mill, press-pot, and my own home-roasted beans!

      1. re: cgfan

        "not only do I travel with a kitchen knife, but also a manual coffee mill, press-pot, and my own home-roasted beans!"

        I did that when I used to travel often to Beijing. French strays started gathering at my hotel room door, lured by the morning espresso smell !

    2. IMO, best non-restaurant foodie place is the kitchen equipment store Dehillerin!

      ooohhh you're talking about food !!! sorry 'bout that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Maximilien

        Nothing to be sorry about; I'm after anything of a Foodie's interest except for restaurants, (and the latter restriction only because it can vary so much from person to person...).

        Thanks for the tip!

      2. some of my favorite non-restaurant food destinations in Paris:

        Dubois fromagier near Maubert; Oteiza on Blvd St. Michel (5me) for Basque delights; Maison du Chocolat; Jacques Genin, Dehillerin (of course), Delices Daubenton (5me), Maison de Trois Thes (tea salon)

        If I think of more later, I'll be back. ;)

        2 Replies
        1. re: ChefJune

          We loved a L'Etoile D'Or, a chocolate shop in the 9th run by Denise Acabo, a very unique lady who wears her pigtails and schoolgirl skirts proudly and who is justifiably proud of her wonderful selection of chocolate, including Bernachon. This is the only store in Paris that sells this unbelievable treat from Lyon.

          We also loved Jacques Genin in the 3rd and G Detou in the 2nd..

          Jo

          1. re: parisjo

            The salted carmel sauce with nuts from L'Etoile d'or is incredible.

        2. Hi cgfan!
          I love the 7th district with the Rue Cler market with the fab cheese shops, breads, coffee, marche, crepe maker, wine shop, flowers..
          The names of the places are in the link below..
          Have a great time!

          www.parismarkets.net/RueCler.html

          7 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Hey thanks BC! Great to see a familiar name on this board!

            How is that area as a place to stay? Is the "village" area quite extensive? Although I didn't happen upon Rue Cler, I recall walking back from the Eiffel Tower one evening and seeing nothing but broad, dark and vacant streets, though perhaps that was just due to not knowing where the interesting neighborhoods were...

            1. re: cgfan

              "Is the "village" area quite extensive?"

              Do you mean rue Cler? It is a nice market, somewhat expensive. The area is kinda posh.
              When you look at the link I gave you, you can see that the market days are really half days. If you go at off hours, it is true that all you see would be "dark and vacant streets".

              1. re: cgfan

                I would equate the 7th district to the village of La Jolla...
                I love it because it shuts down at night and is quiet but you still have your bistros, metro but during the day around the Rue Cler is vibrant with all the merchants and great shops of cheese, bread, crepes, charcuterie, wine shops, marche..
                It works for us but you might need something a little more 'happening'..
                All the best to you cg.

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Dubernet Foie Gras, 2 rue Augereau, (across the street from Cafe Constant) is a great shop. Paris Perfect must have a dozen or so rentals in the immediate area. If food rates higher than nightlife, I have to say this is a "happening" neighborhood.

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    I have no idea where La Jolla is. Rue Cler is far too posh for my blood, better Bastille or Belleville...

                    1. re: lagatta

                      <Rue Cler is far too posh for my blood> then you wouldn't much like LaJolla, a part of San Diego that insists on NOT being called "San Diego."

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Native, we are proud of our gorgeous coastal town and yes, it is called La Jolla...not San Diego!

              2. sounds to me that your best overall choice would be near rue montorgueil. excellent full-time market rue with virtually everything you would need food-wise and all top quality. also it is near dehillerin, a. simon (my favorite) and other great chefs' stores. close enough to walk to notre dame, louvre and even opera. les halles is also close but no longer a market.

                rue cler is a top market rue but as already noted a bit more upscale and expensive.

                another favorite of mine is rue poncelet (great cheese shop and great wine shop). picnic nearby at parc monceau.

                many of the best food markets are traveling and only open one or two days each week so if they are your choice you will need to compare calendars.

                14 Replies
                1. re: jock

                  not sure why i spaced on this earlier and don't understand why others haven't mentioned it yet. place de la madeleine.

                  a window shopping tour is almost obligatory for a first time visiting foodie. the phrase you will need is "juste regarde" ( just looking) but there is some wonderful eye candy for a foodie to "regarde". not a reason to stay nearby but certainly worth a trip. fauchon, hediard, caviar kaspia and more - make the full circle.

                  the only thing i ever buy there is mustard. the maille shop near rue royale has a chablis mustard from the tap is marvelous. they will wrap it for the return trip. when you are done save the crock AND the cork and get it refilled the next time you are there. nothing i have found in the US compares.

                  if you are into wine plan an extra hour or more to visit lavinia. three floors of eye candy for the wine lover. i just "regarde" most of the time there but occasionally find something rare and reasonable to tempt me. if you are looking for wine to accompany your meals avoid nicolas like the plague. you will likely do as well or better by just picking a bottle at random from the neighborhood monoprix or franprix. repaire du bacchus is also a chain but somewhat better than nicolas. the wine shop on rue poncelet has a careful selection and a knowledgeable staff. great cheese shop a few doors down.

                  i usually pick up something from tim johnston at juveniles wine bar on rue richelieu. not a large selection but every wine in the place is good. a tranche of his cold foie gras is a wonderful decadence and not too expensive. richelieu runs along the side of the palais royale and is an easy walk from montorgueil.

                  trivia tip - there is one of the few remaining "ARAGO" Rose Line medallions in the sidewalk on rue richelieu. if i recall correctly it is in front of 27 rue de richelieu. the ARAGO Rose Line played a role in the da vinci code. the book not the movie. the rose line was once considered a competitor to the prime meridian in greenwich. the medallion is bronze or brass and not much larger than a silver dollar so it is easy to miss.

                  1. re: jock

                    "don't understand why others haven't mentioned it yet. place de la madeleine. "

                    Because the famous stores there are expensive and are geared toward tourists. And what they sell are not better than the stuff at La Mère de famille, or Denise Acabo on rue Fontaine, or Furet-Tanrade on Rue Chabrol.

                    "in front of 27 rue de richelieu. the ARAGO Rose Line"

                    N°24, I think.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Yes, but would you say that La Mère de Famille is not expensive? That would sound like a serious stretch to me.

                      1. re: souphie

                        Not like the place de la Madeleine stores ! Plus, I like very much the presentation at a store like Fauchon in terms of its art direction, but I am not so impressed by the food quality in general. At that price, one should-- Hell, at that price, one should massage me.

                        1. re: Parigi

                          "Hell, at that price, one should massage me."

                          ROFL...

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Actually, I've never been to Fauchon. But I do think that the stuff from Hédiard is excellent and not über overpriced. And that la MdF is frackin' expensive.

                            Speaking of which, that's a good thing about Patisserie des Reves: it is much less expensive than its competition.

                            1. re: souphie

                              Soup, Jock,
                              Certes, Hédiard is excellent. You're right, I'm wrong. I keep forgetting it's on place de la Madeleine. My prejudice was mainly against Fauchon.
                              Jock,
                              Jock you are right about sth else. Travel is wonderful. Being a tourist is great. Let's embrace it instead of being ashamed of it.
                              I love to spot the meridian spots in Paris too. Too bad you missed the huge picnic of France with one (nearly) uninterrupted picnic table from north to south of France, sticking as close to the Meridian line as possible. It passed half a block from chez moi in the 9th!
                              The term "Arago" reminds me of sth else (and this is going to be transcendentally off topic): don't miss Paris's last vespasien urinal on bld Arago…

                              1. re: Parigi

                                Thanks all for your enthusiastic recs, I'll take it all in and see where my travels take me in your great city.

                                FWIW the last time I was in Paris I did make a quick tour through Pl. de Madeleine where my specific goal was to bring back a good stash of dried herbs from Fauchon. I probably could have gotten similar (or even better?) quality herbs from others suppliers in Paris, but having in the past received a gift of culinary herbs from Fauchon I knew that I'd be happy (which I was). And even if it were setup more for "tourists" it ended up being a handy place to take care of all of my "Omiage" shopping, the Japanese custom of returning with gifts from travel. For the latter, a selection of Fauchon's infused black teas fit the bill!

                                Unfortunately having gone late in the day by the time I happened upon the Maille shop it was already closed...

                                ...and is Hediard the one with the incredible display of fruits and produce out in front? Being late on time I just rushed through without spending too much time there, but I did get the impression that Fauchon was more about dried, pantry, and gift goods, and Hediard more about produce. Do I have this right? Please correct and iinform how these two shops compare...

                                1. re: cgfan

                                  The herbes de Provence at Fauchon are particularly wonderful. I grew up eating the Fauchon herbes de Provence mustard.

                                  1. re: cgfan

                                    Memories....Some years back, haunted by scenes with market vendors who didn't allow one to touch the produce, I asked a floorperson in Hediard, in my halting French, "How does one buy a pear, sir?" He smiled, picked out a pear, handed it to me and said, "Like this, madam." Sweet.

                                    1. re: cgfan

                                      I remember Fauchon had lots of impeccable fresh fruit when I was there a few years ago, but I don't know if it was "out in front". Haven't been to Hédiard. For air travelers leaving France, the Charles de Gaulle airport duty free shop (before the baggage screening checkpoint) has a pretty good selection, which is a big advantage as the airlines (in my experience) don't count what you buy there against your baggage allowance! I still buy cheese and chocolate downtown (Alléosse and Chaudun, respectively), but load up on other goodies at the airport.

                                    2. re: Parigi

                                      "don't miss Paris's last vespasien urinal on bld Arago…"

                                      they were still around when i first started visiting Paris. now that i actually need them occasionally ---- pooofff, they're gone.

                                2. re: souphie

                                  Just did the simplest pricing/comparison of Mère de Famille and Seurre. Their jam is around the same price: 7.50 to 8 euro for a 500g jar. I have not tried the Mère de Famille jams, but the Seurre jams are excellent: lots of fruit, not so much sugar.

                                3. re: Parigi

                                  gimme a break! i did say just look and as far as i know they are tourists. ;)

                                  thanks for the correction on the rose line. i recall that the one i mentioned is on the side of the street nearest the palais royale so i would have put them on the wrong side. there is another near there but i'm not sure or its location.

                            2. We stayed in the 5th recently and aside from the markets Parigi mentioned, we also liked being convenient to good bakeries (a Maison Kayser and La Parisienne), and Pierre Herme wasn't far away.

                              1. Just an update, I booked an apartment in the 4th Arrondisement on Rue des Tournelles, just between the Bastille Metro station and the Place des Vosges. Besides the twice weekly market at the on Blvd. Richard Lenoir and the daily Aligre market, are there any non-restaurant Foodie sites I should be on the look out for in the area, especially those that I can frequent during my stay. (Fromageries, boulangeries, patisseries, and sources for chacuterie in particular!)

                                Though I won't want to do anything too elaborate or time-consuming, since I'll have a pretty nice kitchen what are some of the more interesting shops in the area? What produce items should I be particularly on the lookout for that will be in season in early September (besides the mushrooms and muscat de Hambourg grapes that Parigi has already mentioned)?

                                Also to expand this thread, are there any particularly favorite cafes or bistros in the area of the Bastille Metro? And I'm not sure how familiar this term would be outside of obsessive espresso-head circles, (of which I'm a card-carrying member), but are there any "3rd wave" espresso shops in Paris? Does the concept as such even exist in Paris?

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: cgfan

                                  "are there any "3rd wave" espresso shops in Paris?"

                                  OK pls don't get too x-filey on me now.
                                  My fave café "Gocce di Caffé" is in one of the historic passages couverts - Passage des Panoramas - and is run by a Roman who gets his beans from Rome and make his old wave cappuccino the Roman way.
                                  Your rental's location is very nice.
                                  - Marché Enfants Rouges is a fun lunch place.
                                  - Izrael, a very good spice store on 30 rue Francois-Miron.
                                  - A boulangerie on the street where Jim Morrisson died has very pretty homemade marshmellow. -- o yes rue Beautreillis.

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    :-) I'll check them out if I can! Anything like it near the Bastille?

                                    1. re: cgfan

                                      The last 3 addresses are all near Bastille, which is next to the Marais.

                                      1. re: Parigi

                                        Oh now I see it. For some reason my browser earlier didn't show anything past your "Gocce di Caffe" recomendation. Great list!

                                        (Jim Morrison died? :-) )

                                        1. re: cgfan

                                          There is persistent sighting of him working as a maître d in all those phantom Americans-only rooms that Paris restaurants are supposed to have, alternating shifts with Elvis and JFK.

                                  2. re: cgfan

                                    What's third wave espresso?

                                    I like Le café de l'industrie a lot.

                                    1. re: souphie

                                      Well it's an imprecise term, and at times contentious, whose meaning is probably best understood from the American point of view, with 1st wave being represented by coffee by the big industrial makers such as Folgers, MJB, etc, 2nd wave being represented by the growth of Starbucks and the availability of espresso drinks everywhere, and the 3rd wave being represented by the admittedly super-obsessed folks such as Intelligentsia (Chicago and beyond), Blue Bottle Coffee (Bay area), Espresso Vivace (Seattle, was very early in the movement), Caffe Luxxe (Los Angeles), and Grumpy Cafe (Manhattan) amongst many others.

                                      While even at its very best the 2nd wave struggled to match Italian espresso, much of the focus was on commercial success and growth while a great effort was also being spent on educating a customer used to paying much less on instant coffee. Finally in the 3rd wave one can argue that it has been exceeded.

                                      The 3rd wave is particularly marked by an openness regarding the sourcing and composition of their beans and blends, the maintenance of direct relationships with the actual growers in the growing regions, the growth in dedicated folks who see being a barista as a career, and a commitment to extensive training, education. and research in optimizing and maintaining excellent espresso extraction. The equipment inspired by and the techniques developed by the "3rd wave" cafes have even spread to other countries, most notably Australia, U.K., and the Netherlands.

                                      It's a very open-minded community and has been lately "importing" many brewing ideas (and equipment) from Japan, where the focus has always been on brewed coffee over espresso.

                                    2. re: cgfan

                                      What a lovely location, cgfan! Yes, you can walk to all those places suggested. Even Passage des Panoramas is perfectly walkable from rue des Tournelles, while a bit farther (northwesterly) than the others.

                                      The "waves" as you describe make no sense in France. Espresso, café-crème etc have all been made for decades in workingmen's cafés, boho spots and posher places. The main change would first have been some places specialising in Italian blends (French coffee can be robusta-based and bitter), then large international chains coming onto the scene with their sugary concoctions.

                                      As for shopping, your best bet in the paradise you'll be staying in is simply browsing the markets and shops. Trust me, you'll be fine.

                                      1. re: lagatta

                                        lagatta, many thanks! Your response gives me a lot of confidence that I need not worry finding my fill of gems. I guess what I tend to worry about is without an a priori knowledge of where to go I can be as close as 1 block from a real paradise but not know it for not having gone down the correct street!

                                        One similar experience from my last time in Paris was having discovered the Viaduc des Arts. Being thoroughly mesmerized by the incredible shops there I didn't realize that just above me was the Promenade Plantee, a feature I had read about before but didn't occur to me to locate until I got back home.