During oyster season from October through April (any month with an “r” in it), locals flock to Le Baron Rouge a low-brow wine bar in the 12th arrondissement. Customers use just about any available space (the tops of recycling bins, the roofs of parked cars, the shoulders of their friends) to balance plates of oysters, which they’ll flavor with a squeeze of lemon and wash down with a glass of chilly Sancerre wine. 1 rue Théophile Roussel, 33/(0) 1-4343-1432
Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com.
12 of Paris' Best Places to Eat, Drink, and Stay
The world's most visited city isn't resting on reputation. Paris's strongholds of culture and gastronomy continue to evolve. Top chefs are opening casual new wine bars, and pastry wizards are folding exotic ingredients into their dough. Parisbymouth.com writer Meg Zimbeck takes us on a tour.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Classic: The flaky pastries from Poilane 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 eclair is also delicious. 35 Rue de Vaugirard, 33/(0) 14-544-4890, sadaharuaoki.com
The Classic: Sebastien Mauvieux, who supplies President Francois 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, ...
Europe’s first Shangri-La hotel is in the former mansion of Prince Roland Bonaparte. Molded ceilings, Eiffel Tower views, and the two-Michelin-star restaurant, L’Abeille, are all fit for modern aristocrats. From $815. 33/(0) 15-367-1998. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
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
Chef Flora Mikula just opened Auberge Flora near the Bastille Market (which runs Thursdays and Sundays). Three themes—vegetables, nature, and bohemia—define the décor, which complements Mikula’s Provençal cooking. From $157. 33/(0) 14-700-5277. Image courtesy of Auberge Flora. 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
Tasting the city's best baguettes is one thing, but wouldn't it also be great to learn how to make them? Award-winning baker Benjamin Turquier, shown, runs the bakery 134 RdT and placed in the top 10 in this year's annual Best Baguette in Paris competition. He teaches baguette-making courses for private groups in both French and English. You learn about every step of the process and actually produce your own baguettes to taste after class.
134 rue de Turenne, 33/(0) 1-4278-0472. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com.
The streets radiating from rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis are booming with destination restaurants and bars. This isn't postcard Paris, but it's a lively (chaotic but safe) reflection of the diversity found in France today. Mixed in among the African hair salons, Turkish kebab stands, and cheap joints for Moroccan couscous are a growing number of great restaurants including Albion, a recent opening by two Brits that has won the hearts of French critics.
80 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 33/(0) 1-4246-0244. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com.
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.