Du Pain et Des Idées , 75010

I woke up in a cold sweat this morning as it dawned upon me that I am yet to write about Du Pain et Des Idées on this blog. It’s a rather shameful confession, I must admit.

Christophe Vasseur is one of the best bakers in Paris. His shop, Du Pain et Des Idées, is where the geeks go. It’s very common to see people queueing – even in freezing temperatures – to get their hands on his baked goods.

If you’re the kind of person who gets excited when you hear words such as organic flour, sourdough starters and super-long fermentation times, this will become your mecca.

Must try: the croissant au beurre (of course!) and the Pain des Amis… oh and pick me up an escargot chocolat-pistache while you’re there! It’s the most divine thing I’ve eaten recently. No kidding.


Essential Information 

Address: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Telephone: 01 42 40 44 52
Website: Du Pain et Des Idées 
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 6.45am til 8pm. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

L’Auberge Bressane, 75007

IMG_20151109_222235670

It’s not that there is a dearth of high-quality restaurants in this part of the 7th. You only have to stumble a couple of paces in any direction before you land upon L’Arpege, La Fontaine de Mars or L’Ami Jean… not to mention Jean-François Piège or David Toutain or Il Vino…

It’s just that Auberge Bressane hits the spot at every single level.

Auberge Bressane, as the name would suggest, specialises in Burgundy cuisine. Think creamy sauces, soufflés and lots of chicken dishes with the signature Poulet de Bresse.

It’s a traditional restaurant; the tablecloths are emblazoned with the regional flag and images of the fleur de lys, the menu is also beautifully illustrated and the wine list proffers a range of Burgundy crus to die for.

Our table of four had: a dozen snails, foie gras, and a couple of Comté cheese soufflés. These were followed by coq au vin, the apparently famous chicken in a vin jaune sauce with morel mushrooms (which I highly recommend!!) and hearty partridge dish. Dessert (not that we needed them!) consisted of a caramel soufflé, apple and calvados soufflé, crêpes suzette and the most enormous baba au rhum I have ever seen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everything was absolutely delicious and the portions were more than generous. Even the chips (fries, if you’re from the other side of the Atlantic) were on point. Could not fault a single thing.

Our waitresses also fully deserve a special mention. They were the embodiment of professionalism all the way through the evening. They were very happy to patiently explain the dishes to us in English, the wine service was spot-on and we never had need for anything. Serving soufflé or flambée-ing crêpes suzette at the table was not able to faze them one bit either.

Speaking with one of the waiters outside as he was on a cigarette break, he told me that he couldn’t remember how long he had been working at L’Auberge Bressane… but it was at least five years on and off. That showed.

 

It’s not easy to find snails, frogs legs and coq au vin on the menu of the trendy restaurants anymore.* Those staple dishes fell victim to the bistronomie movement a few years back. L’Auberge Bressane is a great choice if you are looking for a classic French gastronomic experience. It suits both entertaining visiting parents and romantic dinners.

As you can see from the menus above, the prices are not for everyday eating (main courses between 25 and 40€ and wine from 30€ to upwards of 300€)… but this restaurant would be perfect for a special occasion, birthday or anniversary.

*Check out Café des Musées if you happen to be on the rive droite / Marais area. They also offer a traditional menu but without the same professionalism (or price point!) of L’Auberge.


Essential Information

Address: 16 avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 75007
Telephone: 01 47 05 98 37 
Website: Auberge Bressane
Opening Hours: Open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, except Saturday lunch. 
Reservations: Recommended. Call a couple of days in advance. 

Bocamexa, 75005

IMG_20150826_154331841_HDR

One of my great discoveries recently has been the Mexican restaurant “Bocamexa” at the bottom end of rue Mouffetard. I had walked past several times, always appreciating the delicious smells coming from the kitchen, when finally I rally myself and a friend to go and check it out.

In short, it was wonderful! The restaurant itself is no frills, but the space is bright and colourful. The menu consists of solidly Mexican dishes (there’s no fancy fusion here!) Burritos, tacos or quesadillas – that are composed in front of your very eyes. It’s fast food… but it’s also fresh and tasty.

The really great thing is the fact that they keep serving all day (known as “service continu” in French) seven days a week. You can grab a bite at 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon and no-one is going to raise an eyebrow.

We grabbed a burrito each (they were enormous AND spicy – perfect!) and sat outside on rue Mouffetard to enjoy a few rays of sunshine and pretend we were no longer in Paris. Average cost of a burrito – ten euros.

IMG_20150826_154325909

P.S. The restaurant is part of a wider Mexican-French alliance. Check out the website below to find out about the cultural events that they organise.

P.P.S. The Señor Boca food truck is also part of the Bocamexa family.


Essential Information

Address: 127 rue Mouffetard, 75005
Telephone: 01 73 77 28 22
Website: BocamexaFacebook
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am til 10pm. 
Reservations: not taken. 

Pozzetto, 75004

DSC04733

On the rue du Roi de Sicile in the lower part of the Marais, not a million miles away from Hotel de Ville, is an address that ought to be in your little black book.

Pozzetto are masters of artisanal Italian gelato. Unlike competitors Berthillon and Amorino, they only have a small menu of just twelve flavours to choose from. This is because they make their ice creams fresh and on a very small-batch basis.

I personnally find their sorbets rather sweet – and I know I’m not the only person in this boat – but their ice creams are fantastic. (Better than Berthillon, maybe! Yep, I went and said it!) My personal favourites are the fior di latte and the chocolate Gianduja flavours.

They also sell great coffee (Italian, obviously!) and a selection of gastronomic delicacies from the other side of the Alps.

DSC04740


Essential Information

Address: 39 rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004
AND 16 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003
Telephone: 01 42 77 08 64
Website: Pozzetto, Facebook
Opening Hours: from midday to midnight (but check on their Facebook page because they do change often) every day
Reservations: not taken.

Café Pépone, 75018

I have walked past the Café Pépone on rue des Abbesses hundreds of times without ever giving it even a moment’s thought. The pre-prepared sandwiches, giant Nutella pots and stale macarons did not get my tastebuds at all excited. That was, until I saw a great big Pozzetto sign and a newly refurbished seating area!

It’s only been a couple of weeks that the Café Pépone have been selling gelato from Italian specialists Pozzetto but it’s a great development for an area which had previously been rather lacking in artisanal ice cream.

Try the fior di latte and chocolate gianduja flavours.

It will set you back 3 euros 60 for the petit pot. A sweet treat that now that the summer is nearly upon us, your stomach will surely thank you for.

Certainly, the best option for ice cream in Montmartre!


Essential Information

Address: 10 rue Lepic, 75018
Telephone: 01 42 55 60 15
Website: Google+
Opening Hours: from 11am until 11pm every day
Reservations: not taken.

Le Café des Musées, 75003

Café-des-Musées2

So many people ask me where you can find steak-frites in Paris. Or where are the best escargots in the city?

For longer than I would care to admit, these questions had me scratching my head…. I have lived here for so long that I’m no longer craving these classic dishes. The restaurants where I tend to go are the more modern, trendy ones which change their menu every couple of weeks (if not more often than that even!) As a result, I can’t rely on them having a steady supply of foie gras, steak tartare and magret de canard (duck breast) to feed my out-of-town guests.

All is not lost. The Café des Musées on rue de Turenne is now my trump card!

Open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, and sporting a great classic French menu of all of the above, it’s now the first address to come rolling off my tongue.

(N.B. There’s also normally at least one vegetarian main course on the menu too.)

A main course will set you back about 20 euros, and once you’ve added on a starter and a healthy pichet of wine, you’re looking at about 35 euros per person. That’s a pretty reasonable price, especially given the quality of the food and far better here than at the surrounding tourist traps.

Service is brisk yet friendly. You’ll be elbow-to-elbow with your neighbour at the adjacent table…. but then that’s what you wanted, didn’t you? The true Parisian experience!

 


Essential Information

Address: 49 rue de Turenne, 75003
Telephone: 01 42 72 96 17
WebsiteCafé des MusésGoogle+
Opening Hours: Open lunch and dinner Monday – Sunday. Yes, really!
Reservations: Recommended – call a day in advance to be sure of getting a table.

Bob’s Bake Shop, 75018

bob

The area between La Chapelle and Marx Dormoy, up in the north of Paris’ 18th arrondissement is a funny place. As well as being right between an Indian community (at La Chapelle) and a mini Chinese community (on rue de Torcy) it is also sandwiched between two sets of train tracks. Ten years ago, it was not a place you would have felt comfortable after dark but nowadays, just like in many other places in Paris (think Pigalle, Batignolles and Belleville) it has seen a rapid gentrification.

Nowhere is this more evident than the Halle Pajol complex on the esplanade Nathalie Serraute. It first started, in late 2013, with the bar Les Petites Gouttes. Bob’s Bake Shop opened up shortly afterwards and it is now complete with a Youth Hostel, library and awesome co-working space. The esplanade is fantastic in the summer as everyone spills out onto the terrasse to soak up the sun.

Bob’s Bake Shop plays, for me, a key part in the energy of this new quartierMarc Grossman has been living in Paris since 1999; he opened Bob’s Juice Bar in 2006 and it was an instant success. Subsequently, opening Bob’s Bake Shop in 2014 provided him with a large kitchen from which Bob’s Food Etc can make enough bagels, bialys and pies to supply all of Paris! Talk about building an empire!

Back to the Bake Shop, Marc once said “we’re not a coffee place. The focus is on bagels and we need to keep doing that right. With coffee. We’re not here to do tricks.”

Large enough to seat 30-40 people (plus ample outside seating if the weather is clement) this is a relaxing place to meet up with friends. Music playlist is US-orientated – think: Stevie Wonder, Barry White and Motown classics.

All the bagels are hand-rolled. As of February 2015, a basic bagel with cream cheese would set you back 3 euros 50; a PB&J bagel: 4 euros or the (somewhat healthier option!) avocado bagel: also 4 euros.

More substantial sandwiches (e.g. hummus and grilled carrots, kalamata feta and grilled veg, tomato relish and cheddar cost 7 euros. Smoked salmon and cream cheese for 8.)

Clearly this is a great option if you are looking for a vegetarian food in Paris which fits even a tight budget.

The Bake Shop is open from every day (seven days a week!) from 8am til 4pm. Can I just casually drop in how AMAZING this is!! Thank you, les anglo-saxons, for realising that some people need coffee before 10am!

If you’re looking for a coffee shop where you can sit, undisturbed, and work for a couple of hours, this is a local favourite. There is reliable free wi-fi, plenty of space and unlimited Belleville Brûlerie filter coffee for just 2 euros.
N.B. Just a mention: the bagels aren’t ready until around 10am – so (at least at the time of writing) you can’t pop in before work to grab a bagel for lunch. Breakfast options include granola and fromage blanc (3,50), fruit salad (2,50), or something Chia-seedy that I walked away from immediately! 😛

 


Essential Information

Address: 12 esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 75018
Telephone: 09 84 46 25 26
Website: Bob’s Food Etc.Facebook
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 8am til 4pm.
Reservations: not taken. 


Golosino, 75005

 

The rue Mouffetard is known for many things… but to find a good Italian pizza joint along this cute, narrow cobbled street n’est pas évident. It was only because of a tip-off from Thomas at DOSE, the neighbourhood coffee shop, that I even gave a second glance to the Square Vermenouze, situated just off the main shopping strip.

Golosino is a very casual eatery. When I arrived (a little early, but I was starving!) the server and the chef were deep in concentration over a game of chess at the pass.

golosino3

The restaurant is just one open-plan room. The kitchen (read: pizza oven) is towards the back wall. On the right is the chalkboard, the service station and the till. Then, against the wall on the left is a counter with between 8 to 10 bar stools where you can perch whilst waiting for or eating your pizza. On this particular day, reggae music playing. The decor is cute. There are touches of Italy everywhere. It is 100% legit.

The speciality here is pizza but if you feel like something else. there are also pre-prepared pasta dishes available to take away. To satisfy a sweet tooth, I spotted some tiramisu and various other assorted Sicilian specialities such as cannoli.

golosino4

A few minutes later, an enormous pizza is put in front of me. I had gone for the pizza Golosino, with artichoke and cured ham. It smelt amazing. It looked amazing. And did I mention the size? I started to worry if my eyes hadn’t been more ambitious than my stomach on this occasion. Actually, the pizza was so good that, in the end, I had no problems finishing it in one sitting. The base was just a touch under-cooked – but I like it like that.

Pizzas at Golosino start at 8€ and most are priced around 10.50€. There’s no obligation to order anything else – there are large carafes of tap water on the counter for you to help yourself to – so the whole meal works out very cheap. It would be great for any single travellers who want to fill their stomachs for not very much moolah. No bones about it, this is definitely a great little address to have up your sleeve in case you’re caught short for pizza.

And just quickly, I wanted to share with you this little sign I spotted next to the kitchen:

golosino1
“Beware of the Boss – he’s crazy!”

 

 

 


Essential Information

Address: 4 square Vermenouze, 75005
Telephone: 01 45 35 93 80
Website: GolosinoFacebook
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday lunch and dinner. Saturday evening 18h-22h30. Closed Sunday. 

DOSE Dealer de Café, 75005

One of my favourite spots on the rue Mouffetard, this coffee shop caters to students who don’t want to be cooped up in a library, to the young, hip and trendy who want speciality roasted coffee beans, and to passers-by as well with it’s To Go window.

Rather surprisingly if you know anything about the independant coffee shop scene in Paris, it’s two young French guys who are at the helm.

They have nailed the magic formula:

Good Coffee + Friendly Service + Free Reliable Wifi  = a great local coffee shop.

Prices are very reasonable (1,50 for an espresso to go) and there’s a loyalty card, if you think you’re going to be coming back.

IMG_20141121_094241442_HDRa

 

P.S. Thomas, one of the founders, used to work for the Maison des Trois Thés, so the tea selection (in the Bonne Mamon jam pots) is remarkable.


Essential Information

Address: 73 rue Mouffetard, 75005
Telephone: 01 43 36 65 03
Website: DOSEFacebook
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday from 9am til 7pm.


La Mosquée de Paris, 75005

tea

Escapism. It really is a wonderful thing to clear the mind. To sit quietly by yourself, in a place outside your comfort zone (by that I mean, not your local coffee shop.. y’know, the one with the free-wifi, where you sit in that same spot by the window…)

Time turns to a standstill. You are acutely aware of your surroundings. Psychologists would call it becoming mindful. More present. Going to the Mosque is not something you often find me doing, nor recommending that others necessarily make a point of doing, but from time to time, it’s just the ticket.

The Mosque – roughly speaking – is comprised of three parts: the prayer rooms, the extensive scholarly library and then the restaurant, tea room and hammam, which are open to the public. I haven’t been to the hammam yet (still one of these things that I haven’t checked off my to-do list) but my friend and fellow British expat Nikki Bayley has:

One of my favourite spas in the world is La Mosquée in Paris, it’s… a series of beautiful marble-tiled rooms, each hotter than the next, where you steam and soak, take an icy-cold plunge and then steam and soak some more. It’s a traditional cultural ritual and I found it surprisingly reassuring to be in a room of (mostly half-naked) women of all ages, shapes and sizes. However, it can be a baffling experience; there are no instructions. You get handed slips of paper which you exchange for a ‘gommage‘ (a body scrub) or massage but there’s no real system of how or when that happens. And although, yes, … I was a tad alarmed by the brutal scrubbing I got from an elderly Arab lady (which I genuinely feared would leave me nipple-less), I really enjoyed my afternoon there.

(See Nikki’s full blog post on her blog The Maple Life here.)

I’m sure it would not come as a surprise to learn that the aspect qui me parle le plus (that’s most appealing to me) is the tea room.

You sit outside in a courtyard, under a gazebo-style awning. There’s a fountain in the middle. Trees. Birds. (N.B. Just for peace of mind, try and bag a table that is not directly underneath one of the branches!) The tables are a beautiful deep sapphire blue that photos simply do not do justice.

A smartly-dressed waiter circulates with a tray of mint teas. Catch his eye. Each thimble will set you back 2 euros, which you pay there and then. Each thimble will also give you easily twice your recommended daily allowance of sugar!

If that’s not enough, there are a selection of North African pastries to choose from – baklava, m’hanncha etc – most of which are priced at 2 euros too.

Even after just half an hour here, you’ll have completely forgotten the hustle and bustle of “regular” Paris just outside.


Essential Information

Address: 39 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 75005

Telephone: 01 43 31 368 20

WebsiteLa Mosquée

Opening Hours: (tea room) 9am until 11pm every day.


 

P.S. The hammam is strictly women-only and is open all day, every day, apart from Tuesday.