Paris…Treating the Taste Buds

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First we eat, then we do everything else.—M.F.K. Fisher

Before I begin, let me proclaim that I am not a chef, or a writer of culinary persuasion, or an expert of any kind in the food services.  I am however one who loves to eat and try new foods.  This is about some of my favorite things I tasted in Paris.  My wife and I spent a week in this iconic food city and we ate well.

One thing about our food experience we did not count on, was the effect of the temperature on our appetites.  As I had mentioned in a previous blog, we were in Paris during the first week of July and it was hot and humid.  Because of this we weren’t in the mood for a lot of heavy and rich food.  However we still found things on the menus that were quite good but a little lighter than we anticipated we would eat during the week.

PASTRIES…just wow.

We never met a pastry in Paris that we didn’t love, so we loved pastries every day.  We had chocolate au pains at Coquelicot in Montmartre.  We had a really good croissants, cheese bread, and almond triangles from Poulain near the Eiffel Tower on Boulevard de Grenelle.

WORTHY MEALS…in Paris, really??

The first day we met some friends at Chez Casimir for Sunday brunch, near Gare Nord.  This was a wonderful beginning to our eating itinerary.

I had a delicious crostini topped with smoked salmon at a small cafe near Hotel Invalides. I’m sorry I can’t recall the name of the cafe, but really…just pick an outdoor table anywhere and sit down, a great meal awaits.

I mentioned the chocolate au pains at Coquelicot, well their Quiche Lorraine was also very good.

We had a very relaxing stop at St. Georges Square and sat at an outdoor table for a light meal. My wife had a crepe and I had an assortment of cheeses and breads at A La Place St. Georges.

I had the best sushi in my life on rue Balard at COKIsushi.  They had a sweet soy sauce that was made on sight.  I was not able to get the recipe for the sweet soy, but it is worth a return trip just for the soy.

Probably the tastiest dish eaten was served at Bistrot Beaubourg in Pompidou center.  I had a simple plate of fresh sardines on tomatoes with olive oil and basil.  My wife felt it was a little too fresh and went with chicken. The service was not the best here, however.  I realize the cafe culture allows the patrons to sit and relax, a foreign concept to most Americans.  This waiter just ignored us even when we got his attention that we were ready to leave,  but it was an ignoring that didn’t seem rude.

We had a very good dinner one night at Cafe Eugene near our hotel. My wife had a tomato and basil gazpacho, which was very tasty.  I had duck confit atop mashed potatoes and arugula.

One day we grabbed some quiches, some marinated salad, and macaroons for a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Near the Eiffel Tower, we had a good meal at Le Petit Suffren. My wife had been looking for chicken crepes and finally found them on the menu here. I had another simple dish of mozzarella on tomatoes with pesto.

My dining goal in Paris was to find some cafes and bakeries in various sections of the city and circle them on a map.  If we happened to be in those areas of the city when it was time to eat something, we would search them out.  This worked on some days and other days we didn’t feel like searching. I felt like we didn’t go wrong in any place we stopped to eat, everything was very good.  My wife had one dish that was “just ok”, which is her way of saying she should have had something else.  I had no regrets.  You can’t go wrong eating in Paris, unless you are searching for average food.

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Best tasting meal of the week.

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This place served my favorite dish.

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A La Place St. Georges.

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A good cafe near the Eiffel Tower.

Paris…Montmartre and Sacre Coeur

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I love Paris when it sizzles.—Cole Porter

Believe me Paris was sizzling this day, temperature-wise anyway.

We dedicated almost a full day to wandering through Montmartre, a beautiful section of Paris on a hill north of the city center.  Since we were staying in the south of the city center, in the 15th Arrondissement, it took about 45 minutes on the bus.  My wife had a few issues with riding underground crowded trains, so we stayed up top in the sunlight.  We enjoyed the bus ride since it allowed us to see more of the city.

We stopped for breakfast at Coquelicot, a wonderful little bakery and cafe on rue des Abesses.  We both had a chocolate au pain and I also ordered Quiche Lorraine and an Americano.  This was a delicious start to our day in Montmartre.

We headed up to Sacre Couer.

We climbed the many steps, that are quite lovely and enveloped in shadows in July.  The line was very long to enter Sacre Couer, so we stayed outside to enjoy the beautiful view of the city from this high hill above Paris.

We walked over to the other, lesser-known cathedral in Montmartre, Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.  This is one of the oldest churches in continuous use in Paris.  It was established in the third century by Saint Denis, who has a legendary story himself.  The current cathedral was finished in the 1800’s following many reconstructions, the final one after being destroyed in the French Revolution.  This smaller cathedral has a few intimate chapels with wonderfully colored stained glass windows.  In one of these small chapels, I stopped to pray and felt the wonderful presence of God’s Spirit.  One of those few times in my prayer life where I felt so close to the Creator.

We strode through the many street artists selling and painting portraits and the various shops atop Montmartre. We took in the views and the narrow, uncrowded alleys before we worked our way down the Street of Martyrs.  We stopped in at Henri le Roux chocolates and got a small assortment of tasty treats for later. A word to the wise here, if it is hot, as it was this day, eat your chocolates as soon as possible and don’t carry them with you.  Ours melted somewhat, though they were still just as delicious.


We ambled down toward the city center and found a nice outdoor table at A la Place St. Georges on the St. Georges square. My lovely wife had crepes and a chardonnay and I had a plate of assorted cheeses and breads and a really good red wine. We rested here in this lovely cafe for a while and decided to head back toward our hotel.

We disembarked our bus ride at the Trocadero, for the best view of the Eiffel Tower. We sat by the Seine before making the 30 minute walk along the Seine back to our hotel. It had been a very good day.

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Sacre Couer

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Gargoyle on Sacre Couer.

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A small, sunlit dome on Sacre Couer.

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One of the chapels of Saint-Pierre de Montmartre.

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Artists working in Montmartre.

The following are scenes in our wandering around Montmartre.

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Dutilleul passing through the wall.  Very cool.

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We ate outside at A la Place St. Georges.

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A really good view of  the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero. I assume these gates aren’t normally there. But they made a good foreground to this photo.