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So, you think you know Paris? There are hundreds of memorable streets and boulevards in the City of Light. But, for my money, Rue Montorgueil is the best. It is compact, only 3 blocks long, with a Metro stop on each end. In between you have dozens of the kinds of places that symbolize Parisian culture: cafes, high end restaurants, cheese shops, chocolate shops, wine stores, patisseries, a couple of neighborhood type groceries, all topped with classic Parisian apartment buildings. And, what makes it even more unique, it is a pedestrian-only street. For my wife and I, who have always stayed in smaller hotels in years past, it was a throwback to the Paris we first saw 40 years ago. In fact, this street is just off Les Halles, where the heartbeat of Paris was once found in the colorful and vibrant market district. The old Les Halles is now gone, moved to the suburbs. But, there are a few places where the old self-contained neighborhoods still exist, and Rue Montorgueil is the finest example. You won't see many tourists with cameras here. Most are a few blocks away at the Pompidou Center or a short metro ride away at the Louvre or Notre Dame. What you will find is Stohers, the oldest Patisserie in France, where baba au rhum was first made, and eclairs that are world famous. And, this is just one of many gourmet surprises. We just spent a week in an apartment on this street, and fell in love with Paris all over again.
by Samuel Fromartz “People can either be over-the-top romantic about Paris, or they think life is ridiculous here,” says David Lebovitz. “I try to strike a middle ground.” Lebovitz, an American, worked for 13 years in the pastry department at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, then moved to Paris to launch a second career as a writer, blogger, and occasional culinary tour guide. The author of six self-referential cookbooks, Lebovitz most recently published The Sweet Life in Paris, a collection of recipes and stories about life in his adopted city. During a day off from my tour of duty with Arnaud Delmontel (read “Time to Rise“), I wandered through Paris with Lebovitz to pick up some foodie tips. We met at Du Pain et des Idées (34 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42- 40-44-52), an artisan boulangerie founded by Christophe Vasseur, a fashion executive turned baker. For bread, Lebovitz’s other favorite boulangeries include Eric Kayser (85 Boulevard Malesherbes, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-45-22-70-30; plus other locations around Paris) and La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc (83 Rue de Crimée, 19th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-40-64-55). As we walked and talked, Lebovitz insisted we stop for an afternoon snack of chouquettes, palm-size cream puffs covered with sugar and baked until brown. We picked up 10 of them, studded with chocolate chips, at the pâtisserie Aux Péchés Normands (9 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-08-47-73). When I asked Lebovitz about the most pleasing pastry he’s had lately, he mentioned Alsatian kugelhopf, a semisweet confection somewhere between a cake and a bread, spiked with rum and almonds. It’s available at Vandermeersch (278 Avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-43-47-21-66). “The only problem is that they just make them on weekends, so I have to wait all week to get one,” he said. And his favorite morning pastry? The bostock, a disk of light almond cake topped with crackly almonds, which Lebovitz picks up at Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-40-75-08-75). Photographs by Brian Doben. This appeared in the premiere issue, 2009. Read “13 Tips for Visiting a Paris Boulangerie.”
When it comes to ice cream, there is still only one place in Rome. It has been the best since 1900. I love Giolitti not only for the great gelato, but also because it hasn’t changed since I was a little girl. 39/06-699-1243. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. Photo by Andrea Wyner. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue. Read about Pepi Marchetti Franchi’s favorite neighborhood in Rome.
The historic Androuet fromagerie has been sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses since 1909. Their shop on rue Mouffetard is staffed by friendly English-speakers who will be happy to explain and vacuum-seal your selections, including the utterly charming manager Patrick who grew up on a goat farm. He wrote a book called "Allo les Chèvres!" (Good Morning Goats!) and makes his own fromage fort (strong cheese paste) on site. 134 rue Mouffetard, 33/(0)1-4587-8505. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com
Now you can sample the cuisine of celebrated local chefs by visiting their walk-in wine bars. Braden Perkins eases his elegant culinary style at Verjus’s downstairs bar (47 Rue de Montpensier), where groups share small plates of succulent pork belly and veggie dumplings. This fall, chef Pierre Jancou, shown, reopens Vivant (43 Rue des Petites Écuries). Next door, Vivant Cave will serve charcuterie, daily specials such as rabbit and andouillette, and natural wines. Photo by Marie Hennechart. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
Frenchie is nearly impossible to get into, but the wine bar across the street provides a taste of chef Gregory Marchand’s housemade charcuterie and pasta, and small plates such as blackened mackerel and burrata cheese with peaches. 6 Rue du Nil, 33/(0) 1-4039-9619. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com
You'd think that having a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (a prestigious crafstman title) at the helm of a restaurant would imply steep prices but at Semilla, you're in for one of the best meals and best deals. The international influence is strong here, where Ferrandi-trained chefs serve up modern interpretations of classic French dishes in a stunning open kitchen. The crowd is mixed, the service is smooth and attentive and the bread, an important element to any meal in France, is rustic and hearty - baked fresh in the adjacent sandwich shop run by the same owners. But the most unique aspect to the menu at Semilla is the option of half-portions on a selection of dishes. It's tapas with a twist and suitable for all tastes - meat, fish or veggie. The left bank is far more interesting (and delicious) thanks to Semilla. Open 7 days a week. (Be sure to call ahead and don't miss out on the shiitake mushrooms!)
The Louvre is at once spectacular and intimidating, and for art novices, the sheer size of its collection may even prove anxiety-inducing. To avoid shuffling through each corridor aimlessly, it's wise to visit armed with an itinerary, or even a guide, to create a tour according to what you'd most like to see. Thanks to one New York expat, there's now a third option. Daisy de Plume (yes, a pseudonym!), art fanatic and entrepreneur, launched THATLou (Treasure Hunt at the Louvre) as a way to give purpose to touring the museum (and make it fun!). She runs a hunt open to the general public on the first Sunday of each month and several thematic hunts throughout the month. Beyond its value as a unique way to explore pieces of history, THATLou is a great way to meet new people. Note: some tours are bilingual, others are all in French. Consult the "Menu of Hunts" for more information.
The Paris café scene has always been compelling, but the actual café (coffee) is often forgettable. That's all changing, thanks to places like Coutume, Kookaboora and Telescope, where obsessive (and often mustachioed) baristas are redefining the French coffee tradition. Using freshly roasted beans and frothy Normandy milk, they're producing delicious fuel for the real raison d'être for any Parisian café—the people watching. Coutume, 47 Rue de Babylone, 33/(0) 1-4551-5047. Kookaboora, 53 Avenue Trudaine, 33/(0) 1-5692-1241. Telescope, 5 rue Villedo. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com.
When deciding where to stay on my first two week trip to Paris, I had some very stringent criteria. I wanted the local experience and felt that a flat was more likely to offer that. So I eagerly began my search for something in a very safe and central location. When I spotted such a flat on I'le Saint Loius, I was sold. The island is located in the middle of the Seine and just across the bridge from I'le de la Cite, the very center of Paris. I'le Saint Louis is the perfect location to explore all the wonders of Paris. What I didn't expect was the wonderful small village charm of the island. You can literally find almost everything you need on this tiny piece of real estate. Patisseries, boulangeries and fromageries abound. There are dozens of boutiques, cafes, creperies and bistros. The plethora of ice cream and gelato stores is enough to put one into a diabetic coma. The island even boasts its own exquisite church and the tiny colorful florist shop above. I'le Saint Louis became my home away from home for two glorious weeks, while I lived my Parisian dream. For two weeks I lived among both locals and tourists and came to know the shopkeepers by name. I have no doubt that staying on this little piece of heaven made my trip a more memorable one... It could do the same for you.
My friend, who lives in Paris, told me about this Boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idees, so in my latest visit to Paris in June, I had to go there and try it for myself. We bought cheese in a local outdoor market and then got some bread and cakes and headed for a picnic lunch on one of the benches near Canal St. Martin. If you love boulangeries, don't skip this one. Highly recommended!
...hiking along the mountainous coast of the Ligurian Riviera on a hot afternoon, through vineyards with the occasional shade of lemon and olive trees, with the promise of a gnocchi dinner at trail's end in a Mediterranean port--if this is 'roughing it,' then give me more! After sunset, sipping limoncello and looking up at the stars while grandparents play with their grandchildren in the background...
Here is one of Rome’s best restaurants: Al Moro is very traditional and is well known for the quality of its seasonal ingredients, including porcini mushrooms, wild strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus. 39/06-678-3495. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. Photo by Andrea Wyner. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue. Read about Pepi Marchetti Franchi’s favorite neighborhood in Rome.
A two-course lunch costs only 13 euros at this new gastropub. The menu changes all the time, but I like the pumpkin soup, the squid risotto, and the faisselle (fresh soft cheese) with maple syrup. —Matali Crasset 4 rue Lemon, arr. 20, 33/(0) 1-71-32-71-77. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image: Mari Bastashevski. Read more about Matali Crasset's Belleville neighborhood.
The great macaron debate may forever wage on but from the first time I tucked into a small box of Pierre Hermé's dimunitive cookies, perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside, I knew I'd remain loyal to his interpretation. Perhaps best known for his unique flavors - foie gras and chocolate, lemon and fennel, vanilla and basil among many others - it's his Ispahan croissant - with rose almond paste and crushed raspberry flakes - that really keeps me going back.
Booking a room at Le Relais Saint-Germain, managed by the beloved chef Yves Camdeborde, is the only surefire way to score a table at his bistro next door, Le Comptoir. Each hotel room is dedicated to a prominent author who was inspired by Paris, and guests enjoy a satisfying Basque breakfast. You’re also just steps away from L’Avant Comptoir wine bar, Patrick Roger chocolates, and other Saint-Germain food pilgrimage sites. From $344. 9 Carrefour de L’Odéon, 33/(0) 1-4427-0797.
Hire a boat out of Peniche, Portugal, when available, and travel six miles offshore to the pristine Berlenga Islands. Then hike, kayak, snorkel, and swim the day away. Pack a picnic lunch and feast on the beach. The perfect day in paradise.
There is nearly always a line at Angelina's on Rue de Rivoli, but you don't have to wait to enjoy her luscious pastries, certainly not when the Jardin des Tuileries beckons you from across the street. Step through the crowd, walk about to the glass, pick your fancy and head out to the garden to people watch as you enjoy your patisserie made in heaven!
Paris boasts an unusual elevated park, La Promenade Plantée, built atop an abandoned elevated railway viaduct in the 12th arrondissement. The Promenade starts a block east of the Place de la Bastille, just beyond the Opera Bastille, and stretches for 2.9 elevated miles. What a clever way to create green space in a neighborhood that badly needed more! The Promenade features many roses, trellises, shrubs, and trees and is amply provided with benches for relaxing. It is a unique experience to stroll along peering into third story windows while enjoying the flowers, foliage, and architectural detail up close. The work required to create this park is impressive. Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux designed the Promenade, which opened in 1993. The arcades of the Viaduc des Arts were renovated in 1989. The Promenade was the only elevated park in the world until the famous Highline in the Chelsea area of Manhattan copied the idea, opening in 2010. Chicago and Philadelphia plan to follow suit with similar elevated parks built on old railway viaducts. On a spring day, people from the neighborhood sit and chat, a jogger trots by, and office workers enjoy their lunches in the sunshine. At the Bastille end, arts and crafts shops are nestled in the viaduct arches under the parkway, called the Viaduc des Arts. After an elevated stroll, it is fun to window shop.
Winemaker Renato Ratti recently opened to the public his family’s 18th-century, 13-room villa in the Piedmont countryside. An old cellar stores decades’ worth of Ratti wines. Guided tastings can be arranged upon request, and bottles can be shipped home for guests. The owners may open a restaurant in the next two years. For now, they direct guests to La Luna nel Pozzo, in the nearby village of Neive. The tiny family-run spot serves excellent homemade pastas paired with local wines. The villa’s old tower has been turned into a three-floor deluxe suite with hardwood floors, frescoed walls, and a Turkish bath. Each floor has 360-degree vineyard views. From $185. 39/0140-962-021. This appeared in the March/April 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Villa Pattono.
Paris wine shops routinely host free tastings, often led by the growers who make the wine. Paris by Mouth publishes a calendar of tastings, but two shops can be depended upon to have something interesting on the weekends: Les Caves Augé and La Dernière Goutte. The latter has a mainly French clientele but, because it's run by Juan Sanchez, a Cuban-American who has been in Paris for more than 20 years, the winery prides itself in helping English-speakers discover the wonderful wines of France. Les Caves Augé, 116 Boulevard Haussmann, 33/(0) 1-4522-1697; La Dernière Goutte, 6 Rue de Bourbon le Château, 33/(0) 1-4329-1162, ladernieregoutte.net. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com
My wife and two friends were tired of "museums" so they mistakenly decided to go shopping while I went to the Rodin Museum alone. It was breathtaking, the flowers were all in full bloom, the art on display inside was rare and beautiful, but the sculptures outside were displayed the way art should be seen. Here in three planes is the original design by Eiffel for the Tower, Rodin's Thinker, and mid ground with the Eiffel Tower in the background. The gardens were just perfect, and I was sorry for my friends who'd decided to go into a department store to shop instead.
Shops and bakeries are introducing spruced-up versions of classic Parisian foods. Here are the best addresses to try traditional and eclectic takes on three iconic French treats. 1. CROISSANT The Classic: The flaky pastries from Poilâne are made with rich French butter and fired in a wood-burning oven. 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 33/(0) 14-548-4259, poilane.com The Twist: Sadaharu Aoki sweetens his pastry layers with green tea powder. The black sesame éclair is also delicious. 35 Rue de Vaugirard, 33/(0) 14-544-4890, sadaharuaoki.com 2. BAGUETTE The Classic: Sébastien Mauvieux, who supplies President François Hollande with his daily bread, won the honors for best baguette in Paris at this year’s Grand Prix. 159 Rue Ordener, 33/(0) 14-262-7670 The Twist: Baker Gontran Cherrier uses squid ink to turn his baguette black before rolling it in sesame seeds. 22 Rue Caulaincourt, 33/(0) 14-606- 8266, gontrancherrierboulanger.com 3. MACARON The Classic: Ladurée has lured cookie enthusiasts since 1862 with traditional flavors such as chocolate and salted butter caramel. 16 Rue Royale, 33/(0) 14-260-2179, laduree.fr The Twist: Pierre Hermé surprises customers by sneaking asparagus and foie gras flavors into his creations. 72 Rue Bonaparte, 33/(0) 14-354-4777, pierreherme.comIllustration by Michael Hoeweler. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
A blend of neo-Gothic and art nouveau, the enchanting Livraria Lello bookshop dates to 1906 and is rumored to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Rua das Carmelitas 144, 351/222-002-037 This appeared in the January/February 2012 issue. Photo by Sergio Azenha/Alamy.
Portobello Road is a colorful stretch of shops and stalls selling bric-a-brac and antiques. Part trendy neighborhood, part flea market. On Saturdays, thousands of people flock there for bargains. I recommend going on a weekday. You can have the place practically to yourself to mill around. Grab fish-n-chips to go and find an authentic souvenir.
This summer, I spent a few days in Barcelona. Of course, any trip of mine is always highlighted by the many restaurants I visit. In Barcelona, I ate at these 6 outstanding tapas bars, each offering a different vibe and a different attitude. Bar Mut: Must try: The egg yolk carpaccio and the grilled octopus Tasca el Corral: Must try: Chorizo al diablo (flaming chorizo with agua ardiente), Manchego cheese and cider. Set del Born: Must try: Pata negra ham and the special way they prepare patatas bravas Segons Mercat: Must try: Beef filet with port wine and foie sauce Bubó: Must try: The desserts from Bubó pastry and chocolate shop next door! Tickets tapas bar: Must try: Everything! http://willtravelforfood.com/2011/08/17/tapas-bars-barcelona/
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The Bedroom, and The Potato Eaters are just a few of the masterpieces on display as part of the “Van Gogh at Work” exhibit. Paulus Potterstraat 7, 31/(0) 20-570-5200. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
I tell all my friends to stay here. It’s a great location, right off Piazza del Popolo. The hotel is not part of a chain. It’s family owned, which is charming. 39/06-361-0841. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. Photo by Andrea Wyner. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue. Read about Pepi Marchetti Franchi’s favorite neighborhood in Rome.
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