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Parisien Food Memories

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Joined: 23 May 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Parisien Food Memories Reply with quote

Food and Paris are inseparable. After many years of wishing and many months of planning, I just returned from two weeks in Europe, including six days in Paris. As it was my first time in the city, there was much to see and expectations were high. Paris did not disappoint, and the memories of food will bring smiles for many years.

In recent years, I’ve adopted a philosophy for exploring a city: serendipity assisted by serious planning. I wander a city, turning left or right based on whim or an interesting sight. But when I want to eat (or shop) I want some options identified in advance.

To assist in my wanderings around Paris, I printed out various maps of the city and highlighted food-related options: restaurants, chacuteries, fromageries, boulangeries, and patisseries. The intent was not to visit or sample everything, but to provide options while wandering (what is the translation – licking the windows?). I also made advance reservations for dinner each night, figuring that after walking around the city all day, I would be too tired to find a restaurant each night.

The highlights:

Rungis: the wholesale food market which replaced Les Halles is outside the city, accessible only via the official market tours ( or via a private tour arranged in advance (the only option for us, as Rungis only offers one tour a month, unless you are part of a group). We were met by a car at 5 am to be whisked off to the multiple pavilions: seafood, the “triperie”, meat, poultry (and game birds), cheese, various vegetables and fruits, and flowers. Feeding about 10 million people, it is enormous. Crates of the freshest fish, destined for markets, shops and restaurants, was a relevation – the smell of the sea greeted us. The “triperie” is not for the faint of heart or vegetarians – mass quantities of everything internal to cows, calves, and pigs. Cheese, glorious cheese, from small crates of chevre to 50 kilo wheels. Fruits and veggies from the world and produce from local farms (beautiful lettuce, radishes, and apricots). Alas, tasting or purchasing was not part of the tour, as we were not buyers and could not justify buying an entire crate of girolles (but oh, if it had been possible…)

Buttes-Chamont – a beautiful park in the 19th surrounded mostly by residential neighborhoods which provide plenty of options to compose a lakeside picnic (augmented by chevre and fraises from the organic market on the Boulevard des Batignolles – thanks to a tip in the CZ cookbook). A bonus: because of the date (07/07/07), multiple wedding parties posing for photos next to the lake.

Le Temps Au Temps: this lovely little restaurant on the Rue Paul Bert in the 11th was a delight. Market fresh ingredients and interesting culinary interpretations from a husband and wife team. The highlight – a dessert of fresh strawberries and crumbled chocolate cake on a fennel compote with shredded mint leaves. Wow.

Lobster at Le Clos des Gourmets in the 7th. Perfectly roasted lobster meat with peas and bacon in a sauce based on lobster stock and plenty of butter.

Pastisserie Saduharu Aoki: a tiny shop in the 6th on the rue de Vaugirard, not far from the Jardin du Luxembourg with the most beautiful pastries – each one is work of art. Great music, good tea selection, and only 4 seats. The chocolate and cassis cake was sublime.

Promenade Plantée: an elevated linear park along the Avenue de Daumesnil, not far from the Gare de Lyon in the 12th, built on an old elevated railroad, partly running above the Viaduct des Arts. Another great spot for a picnic, while debating whether to buy a copper pot made in the Atelier des Arts Culinaires below (and yes, I bought the pot).

I could go on and on. But won’t. Thanks to Clothilde, this forum, Zagat, and Pudlo Paris (recently translated into English) for helping identify my culinary options.

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Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow MrMark--thanks for sharing--sounds like a wonderful experience!
Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sigh...! And now I'm hungry... again! O Monsieur Marc, all those brides... all those pastries... the Time to Time (great name for a resto!) and the copper pot... actually, The Copper Pot would also be a good name for a resto!

I am glad you bought the pot. Just think you could have agonised and then NOT bought it! Shocked Quelle dommage, n'est ce pas?!
Confusion comes fitted as standard.
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Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, MrMark, I enjoyed this, thank you--the minute I read the word "triperie" I braced myself for the little description I knew would follow Shocked ,
Do you know how much this resembles the original Les Halles--? Not much, I suppose.
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Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Cambridge, MA (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect Rungis is a bit more "antiseptic" than the old Les Halles, but I also suspect many of the foodstuffs are still just about the same and just as good as in the old days. You can find pictures of Les Halles (though I've never made a systematic search on Amazon or such) ... think middle of the night, huge piles of trash and boxes of goods, fog or steam drifting by, boisterous farmers and buyers bellying up to the bar for un express laced with brandy or a bowl of onion soup ... and when it was closed and construction of the current Forum des Halles began, supposedly nearby regions were overrun with rats that used to live on the scraps of Les Halles!
-- BG

The Chemist in the Kitchen (sometimes)
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Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MrMark I really enjoyed your findings and have saved them for future visits.
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