Continuing with my Paris series of blogs which started with A Sunday in Paris, I’m now focussing on my favourite part of the trip…Eating in Paris!
We had a lot of good food, as one would expect with Paris and ate out at least twice (if not three times) each day that we were there. Obvs!
Usually for breakfast, we’d pretend we were Parisians and sip coffee and eat croissant outdoors at a little brasserie/cafe somewhere. All that was missing was the obligatory cigarette (but neither of us smoke!). This was the best way to get the day started and see us through till lunch without being too full.
Each day we chose a brasserie-style place for lunch and usually had one course with wine and water. We’d then have a larger 2 or 3 course dinner with wine, before heading back to the hotel for a night-cap. We chose brasseries over bistros generally, as they are usually offer more choice and variety on the menu and are well priced with good portions.
We had no trouble in finding somewhere to eat each day and hadn’t planned anywhere to head to specifically. We wanted to just walk and see where we stumbled across and let our tummies decide.
We arrived dead on lunch time on the Friday, dropped our bags at the hotel (as check-in wasn’t until 2pm) and as the sun was shining, headed straight into the local area to find somewhere al fresco for lunch. We were located a stones-throw from the Champs Elysee but didn’t want to head onto the main boulevard just yet, so instead went off down one of the side streets. It was just hitting lunch time and with a surprising spell of heat and sun, the Parisians had had the same idea and places were filling up with tables outside on the pavements.
We saw two bistros sat opposite each other, spotted a table for 2 on the pavement at Le Beaucour with our name on it and jumped in. Sat amongst the Parisians, we glimpsed the menu and were instantly pleased with our choice. A glass of wine and caraffe of water later, we made our order…
I went for the Penne aux deux salmons (creamy penne pasta with salmon cooked in two ways: smoked and grilled). It was delicious, light, creamy and full of flavour. Washed down with a cold glass of Chardonnay whilst being drenched in the first glimpse of sunlight all year, was bliss! And for about 12 euros, really reasonably priced! It came with a basket of fresh bread too.
Mum had one of the specials of the day, which was basically a raw salmon tartar, salmon pate and a fresh salad. Unfortunately I was too busy devouring my pasta to take any more photos, so I apologise. But it was fresh, light and perfect for the almost-Summer weather.
That evening, we ended up walking around the area behind the Eiffel Tower and stumbled across a nicely busy brasserie, with friendly waiters and a great view of a busy Parisian road. We spotted Steak Frites on the menu and were sold. We both had steak as main, with a lovely Bordeaux to wash it down with. Mum had Creme Brulee for dessert and I had Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream. Yummy!
Now the best meal we had all weekend, was in my new favourite area of Paris…Place des Vosges. This is a beautiful square within the Marais district, with stunning buildings and plenty of eateries. It has more of a refined feel on the main square and we arrived around 11am. We’d had our eye on a particularly lovely looking restaurant all morning and had to refrain from bashing the door down as soon as the clock hit 12 noon!
Once it was an acceptable time to approach for lunch, we headed in. The place is called La Place Royale and although very grand and Parisian looking, they do a wonderful 3-course set menu for 41 euros. You get an aperetif (I chose a Kir), 3 courses from a selected menu, a bottle of house wine and coffees. Perfect!
And the food did not disappoint! We both opted for the Gnocchi Gratin for starters. This was surprisingly light, creamy (my favourite thing about French cooking) with a crispy cheesy top. Didn’t need the basket of bread at all (particularly with 2 more courses to come), but I couldn’t help myself from having a bit. We went for a bottle of Chablis as our wine (which is my new favourite at the moment).
Mum went for Grilled Salmon with vegetable ratatouille which was light, fresh and tasty. I predictably went for the Steak Frites again (cooked rare or saignant in French…worth remembering!) with bearnaise sauce. The steak was the ‘Butcher’s choice’, which that day was rump. But it was so tender and not fatty at all, it was more like a fillet. For a set-menu, they certainly don’ give you the cheaper cuts!
Then onto desserts. Now I’m much more of a savoury gal, but I couldn’t resist a Creme Brulee…when in Paris 🙂 I was pretty full by this point, so when this thing of beauty came out, I didn’t think I’d be able to manage it. But like with everything else, although rich and full of flavour, it was very light! With a perfectly brittle and caremelised topping. Bliss!
Mum went for a Chocolate Fondant which on the menu had a literal translation of ‘half-cooked’ chocolate cake. So we worked-out that it must mean a fondant and went ahead and ordered. How right we were! I might have had slight dessert envy to be honest as this was truly molten, gooey and delicious.
This was by far the best meal we had all weekend! The setting was STUNNING (we sat outside and watched the world go by), the service was exemplary (the waiter even humoured my attempts at pigeon-French) and the food was seriously good quality (as was the wine). I would certainly recommend you take a trip to this place and I’ll definitely be a regular here in my trips to come.
The only problem was…we didn’t have room for dinner that evening! Instead we just shared a bottle of wine and had some canapes at the hotel…can’t complain!
Where should I be eating next time I’m in Paris?