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A Food Tour of Paris’ Montmartre

Montmartre, Paris’ 18th arrondissement, symbolizes a variety of things to different people: some love the artistic vibe, (none other than Dali, Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh, to name just the painters, lived in the neighborhood,) while others enjoy the tranquility, (the narrow and often pedestrian streets tend to make the neighborhood quieter than other areas of Paris. ) Some know Montmartre for its Pigalle “red light district,” others for the Sacré Coeur Basilica, which majestically watches over Paris from the very top of the hill. Still others have begun to dream of visiting Montmartre after having seen it in the popular movie “Amélie.”

Montmartre's Sacré-Coeur Basilica and Folies Pigalle: Two of the neighborhood's main tourist attractions

To me, Montmartre rhymes with friendship. Our close friends in Paris all live in Montmartre or very near to it. We’ve had countless parties, lavish dinners, and drinks in the area, and we’ve come to know it through the eyes of our friends who would never trade their arrondissement for any other. Up until now, when we would travel to Paris, E and I would always stay in the 2nd, attached to the Montorgueil area, because that’s where we lived for five months in 2009. The last time we visited Paris, we grew tired of always having to endure the long subway ride or pay expensive taxi fares to climb up to Montmartre and visit our friends. Therefore, we decided that the next time we were in Paris, we would try to stay there instead.

In an effort to get to know (and love) the neighborhood like the locals do, I’ve enlisted my friend Fred to show me his favorite shops, the places where he himself goes to buy his groceries. He’s been living in Montmartre for more than six years, and he’s the perfect guide–he’s a true gourmand who cooks with the natural abilities and instincts of a professional chef. He has made some of the best meals we’ve enjoyed in Paris, and I know exactly how much the quality and origins of the products he uses matter to him. Like most Parisians, he goes to many different, small, specialty shops instead of going to one large grocery store, and many of the merchants he regularly visits know him personally, by name.

An unusually quiet Place du Tertre, at night.

Most of the shops we visited are gathered along the main streets of Montmartre: Rue Lepic, Rue des Abbesses, and Rue de Caulincourt. Walking from one of these shops to another is easy and fun, especially if you stop once or twice along the way to have coffee or a drink in one of the many neighborhood cafés – on the terrace, bien sûr. All year long, rows of tables and chairs facing the cobblestone streets of Montmartre provide the best venues for people-watching in Paris. What’s more, the terraces are even heated throughout the winter.

I’ll take you through the best gourmet shops of Montmartre hoping you’ll one day have the chance to go and live like a Montmartrois for a week. Warning: you probably won’t ever want to leave.

Looking for the giveaway? Scroll down, details at the end of the post!

Gourmet Grocery Store: Marché des gastronomes

  • Go for: Their amazing selection of fine Iberico (Spanish) ham. You can buy a whole leg, they’ll package it for you in an easy to carry cardboard suitcase.
  • You’ll also find: Fresh fruits and vegetables,international and French specialties, gourmet gifts such as prettily packaged oils, spices, salts and jams. They also have a nice selection of fine wines.
  • Where: 9, place Pigalle (M- Pigalle)
    Phone: 01 80 06 85 56
    www.lemarchedesgastronomes.com
  • Opening Hours:
    Monday from 5 to 9 PM, Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 9PM.

Gourmet Grocery Store: Marché des gastronomes

Gourmet Grocery Store: Marché des gastronomes

Spices and Condiments: Le comptoir colonial

  • Go for: Their amazing selection of spices, including rare varieties like whole white cardamom, nigella seeds and over 30 different kinds of peppercorn.
  • You’ll also find: Freshly-pressed olive oil from Provence, a large selection of bottled oils and vinegars, mustards, savory preserves, spice blends, whole cocoa beans, tea, coffee and some freshly prepared snacks like marinated olives and anchovies, tapenades, hummus, etc.
  • Where: 22, rue Lepic (M- Blanche or Abbesses)
    Phone: 01 42 58 44 84
    www.lecomptoircolonial.com
  • Opening Hours:
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday  and Saturday: 8:45AM to 13PM and 16 to 20PM
    Thurday: 16 to 20PM
    Sunday: 10:30AM to 13:30PM

Spices and Condiments: Le comptoir colonial

French Specialties: L’épicerie du terroir

  • Go for: French classics like foie gras.
  • You’ll also find: Charcuteries (cured meats such as salami),Calissons d’Aix (a traditional candy made of ground almonds and candied fruit paste), nougat, Mariage Frère teas.
  • Where: 26, rue Lepic (M- Blanche or Abbesses)
    Phone: 01 42 62 94 66
  • Opening Hours:
    Non-stop everyday and Sunday mornings.

French Specialties: L'épicerie du terroir

American-Style Bakery: Berko

  • Go for: Their collection of cute and delicious mini-cupcakes. Cupcakes are a relatively new trend in Paris and there are few bakeries that sell them. Berko does them with a great attention to detail and amazing flavors.
  • You’ll also find: Mini-tartlets and superb cheesecakes. There are a couple of tables to enjoy the sweets on site with a cup of coffee.
  • Where: 31, rue Lepic (M- Blanche or Abbesses)
    Phone: 01 42 62 94 12
    www.berko.fr
  • Opening Hours:
    Tuesday to Sunday, 10AM to 7:30PM

American-Style Bakery: Berko

Oysters: La Mascotte

  • Go for: The best selection of the freshest oysters
  • You’ll also find: A restaurant where you can enjoy the oysters and other seafood specialties.
  • Where: 52, rue des Abbesses (M- Abbesses)
    Phone : 01 46 06 28 15
    www.la-mascotte-montmartre.com
  • Opening Hours:
    Restaurant opening hours:
    Monday-Friday: 12 to 15PM, 19PM to midnight
    Saturday-Sunday: 12PM to midnight
    The take-out counter may be open non-stop on weekdays; call to ensure they are before you go.

Italian Specialties: La Bottega di Piacenza

  • Go for: Italian cheeses like aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino-Romano or Mozzarella di Bufala.
  • You’ll also find: Everything Italian: cured meats, sweets, wines, fresh and dried pasta, take-out dishes.
  • Where: 53, rue des Abbesses (M- Abbesses)
    Phone: 01 44 92 90 99
  • Opening Hours:
    Everyday from 9:30AM to 14PM and 3:30 to 9:30PM.

Italian Specialties: La Bottega di Piacenza

Bread: Le Grenier à Pain

  • Go for: Paris’ best baguette, as attested by the prize baker Djibril Bodian won in 2010 in the yearly contest organized by the city (La meilleure baguette de Paris).
  • You’ll also find: Any other kind of bread, deliciously flaky (and buttery) croissants, pains au chocolat (chocolate croissants), incredibly flavorful savory breads like olive & emmenthal foccacia, sandwiches, and quiches.
  • Where: 38, rue des Abbesses (M- Abbesses)
    Phone : 01 46 06 41 81
    Also: 127, rue Caulaincourt (M- Lamarck-Caulincourt)
    Phone: 01 42 62 30 98
    www.legrenierapain.com
  • Opening Hours:
    Everyday from 7:30AM to 8PM. May close earlier on Sundays.

Bread: Le Grenier à Pain

Cheeses: Par ici les fromages

  • Go for: Their excellent advice and beautiful selection of cheeses.
  • You’ll also find: Butters, crème fraîche and other dairy products. They also sell English cheeses like the Stilton (harder to find in Paris).
  • Where: 47, rue Caulincourt (M- Lamarck-Caulincourt)
    Phone: 01 42 52 79 02
  • Opening Hours:
    Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30AM to 8:30PM
    Sunday: 9:30AM to 1:30PM

Cheeses: Par ici les fromages

Haute Couture Pastry: Arnaud Larher

  • Go for: Their intricate cakes and pastries. Arnaud Larher was named “Meilleur ouvrier de France” (Best Craftman in France), a very prestigious award.
  • You’ll also find: Colorful macarons and chocolates.
  • Where: 53, rue Caulincourt (M- Lamarck-Caulincourt)
    Phone: 01 42 57 68 08
    www.arnaud-larher.com
  • Opening Hours:
    Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM to 7:30PM

Haute Couture Pastry: Arnaud Larher

Butcher: Boucherie Bourdain

  • Go for: Friendly service and a large selection of fresh meats, including French specialties like offal or wild birds.
  • You’ll also find: Traditional cured meats, terrines, rillettes, smoked salmon, whole roasted chicken sold with potatoes cooked in chicken fat. Yum!
  • Where: 129, rue Caulincourt (M- Lamarck-Caulincourt)
    Phone: 01 46 06 17 90
  • Opening Hours:
    Everyday but they may close early on Sunday. Call to inquire.

Butcher: Boucherie Bourdain

Wine shop: Les Caves du Roy

  • Go for: Their large selection of Absinthe, the French distilled and highly alcoholic beverage that was once banned for allegedly inducing hallucinogenic visions. No worries, Absinthe is now legal (albeit still very strong).
  • You’ll also find: Passionate advice, awesome French wines, special tastings and oenology classes.
  • Where: 31, rue Simart (M- Jules Joffrin or Marcadet-Poissonniers)
    Phone: 01 42 23 99 11
    www.cavesduroy.fr
  • Opening Hours:
    Monday: 3 to 8:30PM
    Tuesday to Friday: 10AM to 13:30PM and 3 to 8:30 PM
    Saturday: 10AM to 8:30PM
    Closed on Sunday.

Wine shop: Les Caves du Roy

A note about staying in Paris: the best way to see the city as if you were living there is by renting an apartment. This gives you the chance to rub shoulders with real Parisians instead of tourists and to cook your own meals should you feel like taking advantage of all the great shops I just introduced to you–for more than just buying souvenirs.

During my many visits to Paris, I’ve made inquiries to many different rental agencies, but the one I always return to is Paris Attitude. They have a wide range of apartments in all of Paris’ arrondissements, for all budgets, and in all sizes. Their apartments are very well maintained, and many have been renovated. Their Web site features a wealth of information, including dozens of pictures of each and every rental. I’ve never been disappointed by Paris Attitude; the service is efficient, and the rental process isn’t complicated. Don’t hesitate to try renting an apartment and experiencing Paris as a Parisian does the next time you travel to Paris. I’m sure it’ll allow you to see the city in a completely delightfully-new and different light.

David Lebovitz Giveaway!

By some stroke of luck, pastry chef, blogger and author David Lebovitz was having a book signing session in Paris the very night I got there. He’s been a great source of inspiration to me so I couldn’t miss the chance to meet him in person. Though the encounter was brief (many people wanted to meet him as well!) I managed to get a copy of his latest and very popular book, Ready for Dessert, signed for one lucky Food Nouveau reader! Since Christmas is just a couple of days away, I decided to also giveaway my first edition copy of The Sweet Life in Paris (which is like new). I liked this book so much that I got myself a new copy signed by David :)

David Lebovitz busy signing one of his books. The beautiful woman in front is Heather Stimmler-Hall from the blog Secrets of Paris, who was also there to promote her latest book, Naughty New York.

David Lebovitz at a book signing event.

To win: Leave a comment saying why you’d like to go to Paris. If you went to Paris before, tell me what you liked best about the City of Lights. Don’t forget to enter your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. Contest is open to readers worldwide.

Bonus entry: Like my Facebook page and get a bonus entry! Leave a comment on the Facebook page or mention Facebook in your comment on the blog so that I know you went there.

Two winners selected at random will be announced on December 31th, 2010 at noon.

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

Two David Lebovitz books to giveaway: The Sweet Life in Paris and a signed copy of Ready for Dessert.

Yum

132 Responses to A Food Tour of Paris’ Montmartre

  1. I love your suggestion to rent an apartment to truly experience the heart of Paris. I wish there were small shops like you have shown here in the states. Can’t wait to make it to Paris to experience all of this!

  2. First time on the website. I am addicted & now I must go to Paris if for no other reason than to see Montmartre. Reason should be obvious: THE FOOOOOD! :D

  3. Came looking for cherry gelato recipe, stayed browsing Food Nouveau & found myself in Paris from my dining-chair! Oh to revisit Paris via tantilising culinary journies… so happy to have found you :) Next best thing to being there is to be taken to Paris via my tastebuds. Look forward to your next blog/FB entry.

    • I feel lucky you stumbled upon Food Nouveau via my gelato recipe! I hope you come back often, I have enough inspiration and post ideas to drive me through the whole of 2011!

  4. I would like to go to Paris to revisit Chez Omar, which was one of the most fun evenings I had ever had. Oh, and also to get some of those Nutella filled crepes from the street vendors!

  5. No other city besides Paris is known for her romantic Seine River, Eiffel Tower and passion. For me, it's really all about the desserts, the macarons, berthillon, that really makes me want to go to Paris!

    • And all those fancy pastries and cakes! It's a feast for the eyes as much as for the tastebuds. I hope to go back to Paris over the summer to enjoy a Berthillon gelato by the Seine!

  6. I love Paris, have been there twice. I love everything about it, buildings, food, atmosphere, I would walk til I dropped and then take a cab back to my rental apartment. Have not been to the 18th yet!

  7. I was lucky enough to see Montmartre on my last trip to Paris and I can say I understand the appeal. However, I wish I had this little guide with me at the time–would have made my visit that much better.

  8. I want to go to Paris for the food and the shopping. But mostly the food! Your posts make my mouth water…

    research.librarian (at) yahoo.com

    • Food is definitely the number one reason why people want to go (or go back) to Paris! Happy I made you dream of this delicious city for a second or two.

  9. The last time I visited Paris, I was in love, so the sights and foods of Paris ran a distant second. Now, Paris seems to me like Christmas morning for children – glittering, twinkling, intoxicating, and above all, delicious.

  10. If Paris were a celebrity, I would be a scary stalker groupie. I was fortunate enough to visit Paris again in July of this year, taking my husband who had never been. I debated whether to explain to him why Paris is the most fabulous city in the world, or why I love the French, or why it is my life's dream is to move there someday. I decided to keep mum and said nothing, trusting that Paris would come through for me. And of course, it did. He fell in love with the food, the neighborhoods, the art, the museums, the history, and of course, the stylish Parisiens.

    I am still planning to move to Paris…just have to figure out a way. Thank you for this post, and for the chance to win a book. My email is fifiseven at yahoo dot com.

    And I've done the FB thing. Merci!

  11. I've been to Paris with my parents when I was very little, 3 or 4 perhaps and I hardly remember anything from that trip. The memories that stay in mind mind are about those huge crepes with nutella, bananas, cocount and probably rum, bought in small crperies on the streets, so messy but so yummy. The second thing I remember is the St Michael Fountain whish was close to our appartament and I always asked my parents to pass by, so I could see it once again – I was really fascinated with the angel statue, with no particular reason. IIt was so long ago and now Paris is only those two pictures for me. Would really like to see it again.
    PS
    With your blog I've finally managed to make my macarons
    PS2
    Have "liked" Your blog on Facebook as well

    • Good for you that you have those great Paris memories even if you went there so young! It's proof that this city does leave a strong impression on everyone who has the chance to go. I think it's one of the few places where kids enjoy just wandering around, there's so much to see!

      I'm really happy that my post helped you successfully make macarons! Now you have to go back to Paris to compare yours with the masters' :)

  12. I would love to go to Paris because I want to experience another culture through food, fashion, atmosphere, etc. Just the people. I love how diverse our world is and Paris is on the top of my list of places I want to travel to. Thanks for the amazing giveaway :)

    mrsjohnson1982 at yahoo dot com

  13. My favourite part of Paris was Disney Land! *shy*

    It was such a happy place!

    The next favourite would be the eiffel tower with the great view from the top. I can't say the same about the queue to get up there though..

    I've "liked" your facebook page!

    • Don't be shy! I never went but I'm sure it must be very special. The Eiffel Tower is definitely one of the highlights – one of the few tourist attractions around the world that's really worth waiting for. I have been up there twice, the second one at night and being in the towel while it twinkled at the turn of the hour was one of the most magical experiences of my life!

  14. Lucky, lucky, lucky you! I mean, I'm ridiculously jealous that you got to visit Paris and eat so many wonderful things.. but to meet David Lebovitz on top of that? Quelle chance!
    Thank you for sharing your friend's favourite shops. I've yet to visit Paris, but I'm hoping to fix that sometime in the next year or so… and this list sounds like a good starting point for the non-stop eating that is sure to follow. :)(I mean, isn't the amazing food the biggest reason for visiting Paris?)

    • Judging from the numerous comments I got on my post, food indeed is the first reason why people love Paris! You definitely have to go, and keep your eyes open for opportunities to meet David and other great Paris bloggers – they organize many meetups and book signing sessions throughout the year!

  15. Paris will always be my favorite city in the world! I need to go back for a month just to explore the city more. Everytime we go we see something new…sigh
    Thanks for sharing your images of Montmartre it is a beautiful area!
    I love the rue Mouffetard area, on our first trip we stayed near there and will always love it!
    Cheers
    Dennis

    • I have also lived close to la rue Mouffetard once and loved it! It's very similar to the Montorgueuil area, which is my favorite place in Paris. The city's biggest problem, for us visitors, is that we never get to see EVERYTHING we want to see, thus we all just have to go back again and again… It's a beautiful problem, isn't it?

  16. There are 3 reasons why I would LOVE to go to Paris:
    1. The Art (I am an art major)
    2. The sights (I would take photos of them)
    3. The food (I would eat until I could eat no more)

    Paris is wonderful…soon, soon I will grace Paris with my presence! Until then, I dream about it!

  17. I'd like to go to Paris to eat a ridiculous amount of butter and macarons. Plus seeing some sites and improving my french wouldn't hurt either. I've never been and would love to just get lost and eat! David's blog makes me crazy some days… :)

    I like you on FB too

  18. What I like best about the City of Lights? Even 10 years after leaving there for Toronto (I KNOW – am I crazy???), I still feel like I am at home when I return each year. We always rent apartments and have had great success with Paris Attitude also! Happy holidays!!

    • And Happy New Year to you Mardi! As I know you've had the chance to travel so much and live in many different places, I'd say it's telling that Paris is still one of your favorite places! It's true that living in Paris is a unique experience, but in my humble opinion, Toronto is lovely too :)

    • Luckily, there are many pastry shops selling macarons on our side of the ocean now! Though I have to say that I've often found them disappointing – good but not as refined as those you find in Paris. I often make them at home. If you ever need tips for make them, have a look at my step-by-step post, I've had great feedback on it, I think it helped many to achieve macaron perfection! Here's the link: http://bit.ly/fmhMDC Good luck!

  19. When I arrived in Paris for the first time this past June, I felt at home. No worries about transportation or language–just love. Love for everything Paris. When I left, I felt a great loss. There were so many things I didn't get to do. If I could go back, I would plan nothing and experience everything. I already "like" you on Facebook, by the way. Thanks for bringing Paris to me every day. (Sorry this is sappy. Must be the holiday talking.)

    • Don't feel sorry for being sappy! I loved your message, I feel exactly the same every time I come back from Paris. I'm happy to know I'm not the only one! I wish you have the chance to go back to enjoy the city once more and revive all the beautiful memories you brought back from this magical city.

  20. I loved Paris when I went in the summer of 2009. I loved the little shops, bakeries and pastries shop that are everywhere in the city. I'm planning a return trip to the city of lights this coming year for my 30th birthday. What a way to spend your birthday!!! I'm planning to hit every chocolate shop in the city:)

    Jenifer

    • I have spent my own 30th birthday in Paris in 2009…!! I have to say, there's no better place to celebrate. Two of my friends were with us, we had dinner in a fancy French restaurant then strolled around the city and stopped to have a drink or two. I'll remember it for the rest of my life and I'm sure it'll be the same for you! Enjoy :)

  21. I want to go to Paris to eat! Macarons taste tests, croissant taste tests, cheese taste tests. . . what more could I want?

    I "liked" your Facebook page!

  22. Two years ago I went to Paris with my best friend and I have to say everything we saw, ate or did was fabulous! I felt like the city was an explosion of cultural and culinary delights! We really enjoyed the Denon Wing in the Louvre, picking out teas at the old-world Mariage Freres, eating macarons at Laduree, strolling through Luxembourg Gardens and drinking hot chocolate at Angelinas. I especially loved the gardens at Musee Carnavalet and the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at Musee Cluny. If I were to go back for the day,
    I would go back to the Musee Marmottan to look at the Monet paintings and then go eat ice cream at Berthillon!

    • Not many comments mentioned Paris' incredible museums, happy you did! There are so many of them, featuring such great exhibitions! I wanted to go and see Monet's exhibition at the Grand Palais, it seems incredible, but I couldn't make it. One big regret! So much to see, so little time…

  23. I've been to Paris 3 times now, and each time my favourite things was happening upon little tucked away neighbourhood restaurants. Between Vietnamese, Moroccan and French food, there was always something just perfect for my mood.

    • It's true that Paris features an amazing selection of restaurants serving international cuisines! Not true of many other European capitals. If you get tired of croissants and foie gras, no worries, you'll find something else :)

  24. WOW – thanks for the post. I just returned from Paris shortly and reading your post brought back sweet memories! I'm so happy to hear you got to catch DLebovitz – I'm a little jealous too. I borrowed SWEET LIFE IN PARIS from my local lib and then went to get my own copy after I returned the book. It's one of my favorite books and I was referencing everything DLebovitz had advised when I was visiting Paris. It's awesome how I found your post through DLebovitz's FB pg! There were so many things I loved about Paris but one thing that stands out compared to where I live, is that the vibe and atmosphere in Paris is just simply tranquil and exciting at the same time. So many delicious dishes to eat, my stomach was never hungry the second I woke up. There were still so many places I didn't get to visit even after spending 12 days there, that I can't wait for my next visit. I will definitely have to start saving for the next trip after christmas!! Thanks for holding this contest, it's very generous of you :) Happy Holidays!

    • I'm very lucky that David was kind enough to share my link! I'm happy it gave me the chance to meet new readers like you. Happy Holidays to you – and a very happy 2011! I wish you get the chance to go back to Paris!

  25. My friend Anne told me about your blog, and I just love it! Here is my contest entry: I have only been to Europe twice – once to Paris by myself, and once to Paris with Anne, who took me to fulfill a "Bucket List" dream we both had of going on a David Lebovitz chocolate tour. Because couldn't afford David's tour, we made up our own, and it was wonderful!! Here is a video featuring the "Seven Different Kinds of Chocolate In Paris" that we sampled (candy, cake, croissants, macaroons, hot cocoa, gelato, and dessert). http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1722374

    • Looks like a great adventure! What a great idea to build you own tour. You definitely included all the best Paris has to offer! Thanks for sharing the video link but I couldn't watch it, possibly because of privacy restrictions.

  26. paris? why paris? because it's paris!!! it's always been the destination, and all i read (you, david, orangette, online) makes me long for a visit.

  27. I achieved my lifelong dream to visit Paris this summer, along with my mother and daughter. We were fortunate to stay in a wonderful apartment in the 5th arrondissment, and had beautiful weather as well. I am now compiling a "next time I go to Paris" folder, and slide many of your suggestions in the file! I would love to take a cooking class the next time….and take one of your chocolate tours. PLEASE choose me. :-) J'adore Paris!

    • I love the 5th arrondissement, it's a quiet part of Paris, not too touristy, but with many great sights. One of my favorite things in Paris is to stroll around le Jardin du Luxembourg, then choose one chair around the fountain and sit and read for hours, just enjoying the park. It has an instant calming effect on me! A cooking class in Paris is a great idea, there are so many yummy options!

  28. I have never been to Paris but I would love to both for the museums and the food. I want to eat cheeses that I'd never experience otherwise, eat a macaron from Pierre Herme, and drink lots and lots of champagne.

  29. This is what's great about Paris. It doesn't matter which arrondissement you're in– there are always places like this in your neighborhood. There's nothing really unique about any of the places you list here. You could find equivalents in nearly any arrondissement, and any half-an-arrondissement, in the city. There are those top spots that are worth traveling for, but it's remarkable how high the local quality is, if you spend the time to check things out. And it goes beyond food– shoe repair, tailors, flowers, etc. For all of its annoying bureaucracy and pointless formality, the every-neighborhood-is-a-village aspect of Paris is what makes it such a livable place.

    • I completely agree. Wherever you stay in Paris, you can totally discover your very own favorite neighborhood shops. I also love all the little specialty shops, I think it makes shopping in Paris very unique.

  30. Love your blog and the wonderful pics of Paris. Planning my first trip there in September 2011. What an inspiration your blog post is!!! Thank you-I will forward to my traveling companions!!!

  31. I will never forget my own wanderings around Montmartre, discovering shop after shop of culinary wonders. I made so many purchases to bring back to friends during that particular holiday season, but for some reason the one that I remember most vividly is a fabulously beautiful assortment of sugared fruit jellies, glistening like gems in their wonderful shapes – perfect sugarplum-like treasures that I have never been able to find in the US. So gorgeous, one did not wish to consume them, but once one was devoured having a second or third was impossible to decline.

    I look forward to visiting your face book page again, having liked it today.

    • Pâtes de fruits is my Mom's favorite. Every time I bring a box back to her (my favorite are from Fauchon), I have a really hard time not to pick one up for me as well! These little wonders are pretty expensive, I think they're better given as a gift! I save my money for Pierre Hermé's macarons :)

  32. There may quite possibly be too many things to love about Paris to choose just one. But, on my most recent visit, my favorite moment was sitting on the cement wall above the Seine with my best girlfriend chatting away about the struggles she's faced in the last year and shedding not a few tears of gratitude for her recovery from cancer. It started as a simple stroll to the Isle San Louis for ice cream and ended with watching a most amazing sunset over Notre Dame. Paris moments are hard to beat… and it will take many, many more visits for me to even get close to experiencing the many things I still want to see, do, and taste!

    • What an incredible and unforgetable moment! Thank you for sharing. Sunsets on Notre-Dame from the Rive Gauche simply have no equal. I'm happy you shared such a beautiful moment with your friend.

  33. I was fortunate enough to spend two weeks in Paris in December '07 and was there for Bonne Annee. An awesome, awesome experience. I visited and stayed with a friend that was attending Le Cordon Bleu at the time and stayed in Bezons west of the city. With my friend being a culinary student, we experienced Paris in a way no guide book could illustrate. Early morning baguettes, delicious foie gras, amazing teas and my favorite…Parisian macarons! We did a few touristy things like Versailles and Le Tour Eiffel, but also did many off the map things like walking Montmartre, Trocadero and many small boulangeries and patisseries described here and in some of your other articles. Your advice to visit Paris by becoming part of it is absolutely true.

    Your recipe for macarons brought me here, but your great writing style and passion for the city I love has kept me. (that's saying a lot considering I'm from the Bay Area and love my hometown of Oakland and the beautiful San Francisco across the Bay)

    While researching macaron recipes, I came across yours and David Lebovitz'. Your step by step breakdown has me the most excited. I've also gathered some info from his blog as well. Winning the books would be awesome, but win or lose, I'll still be a regular reader here.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! Sounds like you were fortunate enough to enjoy Paris in a very unique way. I think it's great to mix visits to major attractions and off-the-beaten-track activities. I mean, who can go to Paris but avoid the Eiffel Tower?

      I hope you'll have great success in making your macarons. Come back and tell me about it!

  34. I studied in Paris when I was in college, and although it's hard to choose just one favorite thing about the city, mine has to be Les Puces at St. Ouen (flea markets), especially the Marche Vernaison. Awesome vintage/antique linens, furniture, books, art, decor, and jewelry, knicknacks, etc.. We would go every Sunday and spend hours meandering through the alleys and peeping in all of the stalls…. Wonderful place to get lost.

  35. Oooh! I'm definitely saving your list for my next trip to Paris. I went about 10 years ago with my now ex-husband, and I really want to go back with my fiance. I'm sure it's very different now. I want to rent an apartment, so this list will be perfect!

    I loved walking around the little neighborhoods and exploring out of the way places. It was October when we went, and my favorite memory is when we accidentally woke up at 3 a.m. and got showered and ready before we realized what the time really was. We decided to go out on walk and found a bakery that had just opened where we bought pastries for breakfast. I'll never forget walking through the crunchy sycamore leaves eating a warm pain au chocolat while dawn broke over Paris. Heaven!

    I "liked" your page on Facebook too! I'm so glad I read about you on David Lebovitz's Twitter feed!

    • I love your break-of-dawn story in Paris! Wandering around when the sun is just about to rise, being the first in line at the pastry shop, walking around and feeling like you own the city: MAGICAL! I wish you get the chance to go back really soon.

  36. The first and only time I went Paris was in 2003 and it was only for 36 hours. 6 hours in I got a cold. Which means I got really familiar with the interior of my room.

    Needless to say, it's time to go back.

  37. What can I say about Paris that hasn't been said already. The more you go there, the more there is to see and experience :) Thank you for the post and wonderful photos! Now I'm off to "like" you on Facebook!!

  38. … was in Paris in 1993. Memories – gathering roast chicken, cheeses, wine and pastries for a picnic.
    Have read so many things on yours and Lebovitz's blogs that I am ready to go again with more to see and enjoy.
    Did I mention that my birthday is December 31 with everyone celebrating?
    Liked you on Facebook and mentioned the post.
    Joyeuses fêtes!

  39. I'd love to return to Paris to sample all the patisserie and viennoiserie that I didn't yet know enough to try when I was there before!

    Gorgeous pictures; I'm ready to start packing.

  40. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Paris and then made it back for a weekend two years ago. It is one of my favorite cities, and of course I liked the typical things: the food, cafes, Musee D'orsay, etc. My favorite thing, though, was a purchase of 1 kg of Sel de Guerande from Poilane bakery. It cost me about 3.50 euros and was the best souvenir!

  41. I love this post and being introduced to your blog. Lovely writing, amazing pictures.
    I am a professional chef, and as much as I hate to admit it, never been to Paris. My trips to Italy have greatly shaped my cooking style (as well as growing up the in Bay Area and being shaped by the amazing food here), and my next goal is to get to Paris and catch up.
    Winning the books, would be a great start. I have been a great fan of David's for a long time. (also joined your Facebook page)

    Thanks again~!

    • There are so many inspiring cuisines around the world, I don't blame you for not having the chance to see everything yet! I myself have never been to San Francisco and I know how great of a foodie city it is. I hope to visit in 2011! I wish you have the chance to visit France too.

  42. I would LOVE to go to Paris to taste all the yummy pastries, and a real French baguette :) I would also love to spend a couple of days just touring the lovely "Foodie" shops and markets…. Thank You!

  43. Love Paris! Spent 2000/2001 New Years Eve in Montmartre and had a lovely early morning walk back across the city to our rented apartment in the St. Germain area.

  44. Oh, Paris. I haven't been there in 20 years. Then it was all about museums and landmarks. Now I'd spend a lot of time exploring neighborhoods and markets and shops and eating. And go to Dehillerin. And the Louvre.

  45. I've been to Paris several times and always fall in love again when I am there! It's an overnight train ride away, a bit too far actually. Favorite? Hard to say but perhaps my favorite memory is arriving late afternoon, grabbing a bottle of wine and a slice of quiche from the local shops and sitting with my husband in the park behind Notre Dame and celebrating my birthday.

    • How lucky are you to live so close to Paris! I love the little park behind Notre-Dame. Many people look at the front of this cathedral only but I personally think it's even more beautiful and magical from the back. Another of my favorite spots to enjoy Notre-Dame is on the Quai de la Tournelle, close to La Tour d'Argent. We've had many apéros right there with our friends, watching the sunset behind the cathedral… just magical!

  46. My husband and I spent 5 days in Paris last month, guided by David's recommendations in A Sweet Life, and I've been making macarons and caramels (David's recipes) obsessively since we returned. I can't wait to go back and see the many places we wanted to visit but missed because you can only eat so much in 5 days!

    • True that 5 days is a very short time to enjoy all of Paris! But it's enough to give you the taste to go back, isn't it? I hope you get this chance in the near future.

  47. You have a new fan in Copenhagen. :-) I also "like" you on FB. We foodies must stick together!

    I was in Paris more than 20 years ago – just out of high school. Beautiful place – but the language?! I didn't understand a word even though I took French. I haven't been back since. Now I am getting ready to go back: I will not speak a word, but I will point and eat my way through chocolates, cakes, bread and cheeses.

    I would love to win the signed desserts book. I am reading the other book these days, so actually I am already in Paris with David…

    Merry Christmas!

    • Food is one international language! No need to speak when you share its pleasures. I would love to visit Copenhagen! The city appeals to both my foodie and designer personalities. Like you, I probably will have to point my way through the city but I'm sure it would be a very enjoyable trip.

  48. Saw this post through a link of David Lebovitz and am I glad. I am headed back to Paris this summer (my favorite city in the world) and am carrying this article with me. What do I like best about Paris? It might be easier to say what I don't like. Aesthetically, it is beautiful. I love to wander along the Seine or sit in one of the many parks. I love Pere Lachaise Cemetery (need to make a pilgrimage this time to Marcel Marceau's grave). But one of the best pleasures is strolling the many markets and looking at the gorgeous displays of fruits and vegetables. My last trip, I rented an apartment so was actually able to buy at the markets and cook in the afternoons or evenings.

    • Food is such an important part of Paris' appeal, the best way to enjoy it fully is indeed to have you own kitchen and be able to enjoy your market finds!

  49. Lovely blog! Every time I visit Paris, I find something new to explore, whether it be a neighborhood, a food purveyor, or a scenic park. What I like best is the focus on (food) having the best flavor/presentation to heighten the experience. Looking forward to getting even more tips from your site! (I also just 'liked' your Facebook page)

    • Thank you for visiting! It's the same for me, everytime I go to Paris, I need to discover something new. I go back to some of my favorites but try to get to know new neighborhoods as well, just like I did this time in Montmartre. I always leave the city thinking of the next places I'll go when I come back.

  50. I would love to go Paris and travel throughout the all of France, experiencing the city as well as the villages and chateaus – so that I may taste all the many wonderful palates France has to offer.

  51. My mother is from Paris so I go back every couple of years to visit family. There is nothing in this world I like better than sitting in my grandparent's garden eating and drinking for hours on end sharing stories and joking with each other. Just outside of the 18th arrondissement there's a little shop I'd recommend called Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes. Its on Rue de Rochechouart across from my mother's best friend's house. Maybe good evenings have been spend over food from there!
    Can't wait until July when I get back to Paris!

    • Lucky you! Having the excuse to back to Paris regularly is just perfect! I don't know Aux Papillotes Gourmandes, I'll for sure check it out next time I go! Thanks for the tip :)

  52. Thanks for the gorgeous post about Montmartre. It's one of those funny tings that happen, I'm in St Pete Beach with my mother right now – I live in Toronto. This morning I was thinking about the Christmas I spent in Paris with my daughter and son-in-law about 8 years ago.

    On Christmas day Jon and I went for a walk, not expecting anything other than cafes to be open. We found a craft market near the Canal St Martin. I asked one of the vendors why a market on Christmas day and she said really there wasn't much else to do.

    Thinking about that made me think about the first time I took my daughter to Paris. She was 7. We were staying in a hotel in Montmartre – before I discovered the joys of vacation rentals.

    It was our first day and we walked around a bit and then sat in a cafe to have lunch and people watch. After a few minutes of looking around Meg said "it's nice here, like Quebec City only bigger."

    And now, after reading this post, I want to go to Montmartre and grocery shop.

    Said so on Facebook too!

    Cheers,

    Sam

    • How funny is it that your daughter compared Paris to Quebec City! It's true that Quebec has inherited some of the French charm. Still, I can't say that it beats Paris, of course! The Canal St-Martin area is one neighborhood I would love to explore more. Many great indie and artisan shops, a great vibe and it's off the tourist track. We've spent an afternoon by the Canal a couple of years ago, playing pétanque and drinking Pastis. Very nice memories.

  53. I live in San Antonio and the food delights are limited. I tend to wait to try new things when I get to travel, which is rare. A few years ago I finally tried my first dim sum in Chinatown in San Francisco. Paris would be a food dream of macaroons, cheese, meats and farmers markets that I could wrap myself in.

    • And I'm sure you would come back wanting to make some of the delicacies you tasted in Paris at home! I wish you get the chance to go in the near future.

  54. I am here in Paris on vacation. I love to wander around the city without concrete plans and just enjoy the beauty all around me!

    • It's a great time of the year to visit! The city is quiet and magical with all the Christmas lights and events all around. I hope you enjoyed your trip!

  55. Oh my gosh, this is a great giveaway!
    I would love to go to Paris, I truly hope I can go someday. It seems to be such a romantic city, and who would like to visit Paris holding hands with their loveys?!
    Another reason I would love to go to Paris is because I love food, and I love to cook! I love good ingredients, and I really like chocolate and cheese (not together), and from all my friends who have been to Paris (and one French friend who loves her cheese too) I always hear that the best cheeses and chocolates are in Paris, so I must go some day and try the Parisian chocolates, cheeses and all the good food they have to offer!
    Then, if those weren't reason enough, I just really like Julia Child and reading her books, especially "My Life in France" just made me truly, truly want to go France and Paris. The same thing happens when I read David's blog and he talks about the chocolatiers, the wonderful macaroons, the cheese shops, and all the wonderful things he find in France… oh dear me!
    Nice giveaway, fingers crossed here I could win one of David's books! His blog and books are great! (I love his ice cream book! who doesn't?!!)
    Ana

    • My problem every time I come back from Paris is the weight of my luggage! How many extras I've had to pay to bring all of those delicious souvenirs back home… Always worth it! I hope you get the chance to go and discover all the city has to offer.

  56. I love to go to Paris because I love food and architecture. I just love the feel and atmosphere of Paris. We like to stay in Montmartre as we can head off the day to shop and then at night we just fall out of our hotel in Montmartre and find great restaurants and nightlife. Your column makes me want to go back now!

  57. Thanks for the excellent tips!

    It's been a long time since I last visited Paris, more than 30 years in fact. The two places I remember best are the Art Nouveau Paris Metro station and Sacré Coeur. I'd love to return and spend a few months just for the bread, wine, and cheese.

    • I was very lucky that my friend accepted to take the time to show me around! Having a guide is one great way to enjoy the city, there's so much to see and know… it allows you to learn more, more quickly. Maybe my friend will start offering his tours of Montmartre to more lucky visitors… I'll keep you in the know!

  58. We were in Paris once and absolutely loved it. Our favorite thing was finding a tiny restaurant around the corner from our hotel in the 3rd – it didn't have a sign but we could see through the sheer curtains that it was a restaurant.

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