Tag Archives: marais

reality bites: “quatre jours” (continued, journée 2)

quatre jours : four days

Journée 2 : Paris, en Noir et Blanc (Paris, in Black & White)
The rive gauche, Notre Dame, Île Saint Louis, and Hôtel de Ville (aka the Parisian myth we love to love)

1)     Saint Germain des Prés (6e)
Start your day early with a chocolat chaudat Les Deux Magots.  This is the best people-watching in the city, and my very favorite morning boisson.  After an hour or two of relaxation, give up your spot to another Parisian dreamer, and stroll down the Rue Bonaparte.

2)     Saint Sulpice
Follow Rue Bonaparte to the church of Saint Sulpice.  I adore the fountain outside, as well the masterful sculpture of Mary in the very back of the église. Then continue south on Rue Bonaparte.

The Medici Fountain

3)     Jardins du Luxembourg
Follow Rue Bonaparte to the Jardin du Luxembourg.  This lovely jardin is home to the French Senate, and has a few lovely corners worth exploring.  My favorite spots are the pétanque courts, whereold men gather for their afternoon gossip; the central pool, where children sail toy bateaux; and the dramatic Fontaine de Medicis.  Leave the gardens via Rue Soufflot, and climb the hill towards the Panthéon.

4)     [The Real] Quartier Latin (5e)

After checking out the famous Panthéon (don’t bother going inside), walk around the back of the building on the left side.  For those who like churches, Saint Étienne du Mont is a lovely little church, housing the remains of Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris.  When you exit out of Saint Étienne du Mont, head south, along the back of the Panthéon, until you reach Rue Descartes.

5)     Mouffetard
Head south on Rue Descartes, until you reach a small square.  By this time, you might be ready for lunch, and Rue Mouffetard (Rue Descartes becomes Rue Mouffetard after the square) is the perfect place to grab a bite.  Crèpe lovers should check out Chez Nico, while sandwich lovers will find many options (including an open-air boulangerie on the left-hand side of the street that has excellent sandwiches).  Descend Rue Mouffetard until you reach another roundabout.

Mint Tea & Hookah at Café Maure (La Mosquée de Paris)

6)     La Mosquée
From here, an optional detour to my favorite marocain restaurant/tea room might be a welcome pause.  For those who want to check out Café Maure, head left on Rue Censier, then left again on Rue Monge, which you should cross to reach Rue Daubeton.  Follow Rue Daubeton until you reach the corner at Rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire.  For those so inclined, I highly recommend the mint tea, Moroccan pastries, and hookah at the little outdoor café through the white archway on this corner.

7)     Maubert Mutualité
After (or without) the stop at the Mosquée de Paris, head north along Rue Monge until you return to Boulevard Saint Germain. At the intersection of R Monge and Blvd S-G, there will be a cluster of little shops and potentially an outdoor market on the miniscule street “Ter Blvd Saint Germain”.  All the shops here are quite good, but Fromagerie Laurent Dubois is one of the best in the whole city – as the famous fromager holds the title of meilleur ouvrier de France (MOF).  But be warned – this is no “self-serve” cheese shop.  Ask for help, and your wish will be their command.

One of the most dramatic Photo Opps inside Notre Dame

8)     My essential “Saint Germain Loop” (6e)
After checking out the cheese, head left along Blvd Saint Germain, until you reach Odéon.  Poke your head into the nearby Cour du Commerce St. André, if you can find it, for a lovely view of a charming cours pavé.  Then head back along Blvd Saint Germain until you reach Rue de Buci, on your right.  Head towards the Seine on Rue de Buci, and admire the outdoor market/pedestrian street.  You will eventually run into Rue Saint André des Arts, which will lead you towards Place Saint Michel.  If you’re craving a coffee along this route, check out Café Malongo.  Otherwise, proceed directly to the Saint Michel fountain, where you will conclude your Saint Germain jaunt.

9)     Notre Dame (4e)

Cross the river at Pont Saint Michel, and continue East along the river until you see Notre Dame on your left.  Head into the church for a quick tour (c’est gratuit).  The drippy, long taper candles on your right after the entry are my favorite bougies in a French cathedral.

Pont Saint Louis

10)  Île Saint Louis

When you leave Notre Dame, walk around the left side to the back of the cathedral.  Admire the famed flying buttresses as you walk towards the church’s gardens (where there is a fairly clean bathroom, should you need it).  Head over the small Pont Saint Louis, a spot well-noted for the omnipresence of charming street musicians, onto the Île Saint Louis.  Once of the oldest and chicest voisinages, this island holds a charm all its own.  Duck into the many shops (noting that some are more touristy than others), and make sure to try some Berthillon ice cream.  The historic Berthillon shop is open Wednesday-Sunday, but the ice cream can be found at several other shops on the island.

Amour, Rue François Miron

11)  Marais

Once you’ve taken a good look around Île Saint Louis, cross the river at the Pont Marie.

Head north along Rue des Nonnains d’Hyères until you reach Rue François Miron on your left.  Head east on R F-Miron, keeping an eye out for two unique wooden buildings – among the oldest in Paris.  A favorite Parisian photo-op is the drainpipe to the right of these twin buildings – where the word Amour has been wittily painted onto the sidewalk.  If it isn’t too late, you might also be able to poke your head into Izrael, Epicerie du Mondetowards the end of Rue François Miron on the left.  You’ll also find another fine stop for the church-loving tourists, Saint Gervais, with its stunning vitraux.

Hôtel de Ville

12)  Hôtel de Ville

As you leave Saint Gervais, you’ll be facing the back of the stunning Hôtel de Ville.  Walk around this building on the Seine side, to gain the most dramatic views.  This gorgeous mayor’s office is one of the most impressive buildings in town, and if you’re lucky, you’ll near it around dusk, when it’s beautifully lit.

13)  Et après?

The neighborhood around the Hôtel de Ville is not my favorite for eating, as it can be quite cher.  Hop the metro to the nearby Bastille district (many good restaurants can be found near the metro Ledru-Rollin, check my Paris Guide (11e/12e) for more info).  But if you’re going to take the metro, tonight is also a good night to check out some of the noteworthy restaurants of the 7e or 15e, (which are also closer to the Tour Eiffel – with a little luck, you’ll catch her sparkling on the hour).

(Journée 1; Journée 3)

vocabulaire

chocolat chaud > hot chocolate

église > church

jardin > garden

pétanque > bocce/lawn bowling

bateaux > boats

marocain > Moroccan

Mosquée > mosque

fromager > cheese monger/maker

meilleur ouvrier de France (MOF) > “Best worker in France” – a contest that covers everything from baking to tile-laying, recognizing the very “best” craftsmen in France

cours pavé > cobbled courtyard/alley

Seine > the river that runs through Paris

c’est gratuit > it’s free

bougies > candles

Amour > love

vitraux > stained glass windows

cher > expensive

Tour Eiffel > Eiffel Tower

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reality bites: “quatre jours”

quatre jours : four days

For whatever reason, every article I read seems to cite quatre jours as the appropriate amount of time to spend in Paris.  Mon avis would be five days minimum, as I think it takes about 3-4 jours to move beyond all the things a person doit voir, and to actually begin to enjoy oneself.

Cependant, a close friend asked me what she should do in Paris in…(shocker)…four days.  So I suppose that, rather than fighting it, c’est le moment to draft my own four day itinéraire.  If you follow my lead, you won’t climb the Tour Eiffel, but you’ll absorb a bit of the city’s beauty and culture quotidienne.

These four days can (and should) be exchanged and rearranged to one’s liking.
Fais attention à
the hours and days that certain sites are open (markets, museums, etc.).

**All addresses can be found on my Paris guide**

Place d’Aligre

Journée 1: La culture BoBo
(“BoBo” stands for bourgeois-bohème.  See: a hipster/artsy/off-the-beaten path vibe)

1. Place d’Aligre (12e)
On commence à Place d’Aligre, one of the most-loved Parisian markets.  (Daily, except Monday.  Best to visit 9am-1pm)
Check out the varied commerçants in the covered market and surrounding lanes.  I highly recommend grabbing some bread or pastry at Moisan and some cheese from the covered market  If you’d rather go sweet than savory, the nearby Blé Sucré has amazing flaky pastries and sacks of bite-sized sweets.

pain libanais (au thym)

2. Place de la Bastille (11e)
If it’s a Thursday or Sunday (7am – 2pm), and you’re not marketed-out, I recommend a quick jaunt over to the rowdier Marché de Bastille (11e).  If you’re still hungry grab some pain libanais or olive fougasse.  This market is a bit more cher than the outdoor vendors at Place d’Aligre, but the products are top-notch, more varied, and well worth the gander.

3. Vélib (11-10e)
Work off your morning munch with a vélib ride.  The bike path along Boulevard Richard Lenoir is one of the safest in the city – and has enough bike stations along the length of the route to ensure that you’ll find a place to park.  If there isn’t a bike immediately available at Place de la Bastille, head north on Blvd RL towards Bréquet Sabin.  (I also highly advise the purchase of the Paris Pratique map-book, which has little purple “V” dots noting the location of all the bike stations in the city.  But it’s also a better map than anything you’ll get for free at your hotel, etc.  You can also access an online map of all the vélib stations here).

Canal Saint Martin

4. Canal Saint Martin (10e)
Once you’ve got your velib, follow Boulevard Richard Lenoir north to the Canal St. Martin.  Park your bike at Rue Alibert if possible, and check out the boutiques on the Quai de Valmy/Quai de Jemmapeslike Artazart or Antoine et Lili. (And there’s always the famous Pain des Amis at Du Pain et des Idées).

5. Haut Marais (3e)
After checking out the neighborhood surrounding the canal, head back towards Place de la Republique.  Leave P de la Rep via Rue du Temple, and head towards the Square du Temple (3e).  Hip shopping can be found all along Rue de Bretagne, and near the Carreau du Temple.  Spice lovers shouldn’t miss Goumanyat, and Photographers/Designers should check out Ofr.  Once you’ve léché quelques vitrines around the Rue de Bretagne, head down the Rue Vielle du Temple.

Marais living

6. Marais (4e)
Follow the Rue Vielle du Temple to the Rue des Francs Bourgeois.  Head left, and you’ll soon hit the gorgeous Place des Vosges, where Victor Hugo once lived. (In fact, it is said that he wrote Les Misérables about the community that frequented Rue des Francs Bourgeois) .  Exit the Place des Vosges out the SW corner, through the garden of the Hotel Sully.  You’ll now be on Rue de Rivoli.  Head right, and when you reach Metro Saint Paul, head right again, towards the Rue des Rosiers.

7. Quartier Juif (4e)
Rue des Rosiers is at the heart of the Jewish quarter, where golden loaves of challah and legendary falafel shops compete for customers.  If you’re in the mood for what the New York Times called Europe’s best falafel – check out L’As du Falafel.  Near the falafel shops is the unassuming “Vintage” store -also worth the gander, if you’re into 5€ dresses and other frugal finds.

The view of Montmartre from Centre Pompidou

8. Centre Pompidou (4e)
From Rue des Rosiers, exit west, back onto Rue Veille du Temple, and head north.  When you reach Rue des Francs Bourgeois, head left (the road will turn into Rue Rambuteau).  If you skipped the falafel and are craving something to grignoter, Rue Rambuteau is filled with wonderful shops.  Two favorites are the sandwiches at Hure Boulangerie and the guimauves at Pain du Sucre.  Continue west until you see a colorful, modern building that seems to be made of pipes.  That is Centre Pompidou.  Head around to the far side of the building to reach the entrance.  Those who aren’t interested in visiting the Modern Art collection (or in paying for a museum) should still head to the top floor for ma vue préférée de Paris.  To get the view for free, head to the elevator just left of the main entrance/line.  Tell the guard you want to grab a drink at the cafe on the top floor.  He will send you upstairs, where you can’t access the galleries, but you will have a glorious view of the Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame and Montmartre.  If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive right around le coucher du soleil.

9. Et après?
For dinner and nightlife, consider taking métro line 11 from Rambuteau to Republique and then heading towards Parmentier.  For dinner, I’d check out the very reasonable, old-fashioned bistro Au Pied de Fouet.  Then head to a bar on Rue Oberkampf or Rue Jean Pierre-Timbaud.  My personal favorite is the live music at Alimentation Generale.

(Journée 2; 3 et 4 à venir)

—vocabulaire—

mon avis > my opinion

minimum > minimum

jours > days

doit voir > must see

cependant > however

c’est le moment > it’s the moment

itinéraire > itinerary

Tour Eiffel > Eiffel Tower

culture quotidienne > daily culture

fais attention à les horaires > pay attention to the hours

BoBo/bourgeois-bohème > middle-class/bohemian (children of wealthy persons who choose to live a hipster lifestyle)

on commence à > we begin at

commerçants > vendors

pain libanais > lebanese flatbread (I prefer mine with thyme, salt and lemon)

fougasse > a fluffy web-like bread stuffed with olives, bacon, anchovies, or other odd bits

cher > expensive

vélib > bike

pain des amis > bread of friends

léché quelques vitrines > “licked a few windows” (licking windows = window shopping)

grignoter > nibble

guimauves > French marshmallows, which are fluffier and all-natural (unlike chamallow, which are like American marshmallows)

ma vue préférée de Paris > my favorite view of Paris

et après? > and after?

journées deux, trois, quatre, à venir > days 2, 3, 4 to come…

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foodaphilia: “blé”

blé (n.m.) : wheat.

Yesterday was my sister’s last day in Paris, so we went all out in search of the perfect food.  At her suggestion, we followed the chemin of David Leibovitz, a former pastry chef at the famous California restaurant Chez Panisse and a current Parisian/foodblogger.

IMG_2893Our matin started with DL stop #1 : a patisserie called blé sucré (7 rue Antoine Vollon 75012).  He claimed they have the best madeleines in Paris, so we thought we’d grab our petit déjeuner and a bag of these famous treats to eat à plus tard.  I opted for a crackly, still-warm pain au raisin while my sister grabbed an escargot de brioche with caramelized sugar on top.  To say the least, we were satisfied.

We then hit up two different marchés, at Place d’Aligré and Ave President Woodrow Wilson, to see the best that the moderate-to-cheap & high-end markets had to offer.  I personally preferred the covered-market, small-neighborhood charm of Place d’Aligré.  The market at Ave President Wilson had far too many Louis Vuitton bags, and the guy making my favorite manouché à thym charged me 50 centimes more than my usual vendor at Bastille (Richard Lenoir market).

IMG_2920

Our stomachs were soon grumbling again, so we hit up Leibovitz’s to-do list for round 2.  This time, we headed to Breizh Café (109 Rue Vielle du Temple, 75003) for the “best crèpes in Paris”.  I have to say, this was spot on.  I have visited Bretagne before, the region renown for their galettes de blé noir, and more than topped every crèpe I’ve eaten in my life.  Our first course was a galette with bleu d’auvergne, miel, & noix, a crispy, light, and savory appetizer that turned out to be the best part of the whole meal. IMG_2949We followed up with a chevre frais et salade crèpe & norvegienne (saumon fumé,oeuf miroir, crème fraiche & gruyère)– both savory and filling with the same unbelievable crispness that the appetizer revealed.

Okay, NOW we were way way full.  As well as a bit pompette since we split a large bottle of traditional Bretonne Cider.  But with our caramels de beurre salée in tow (they came for free with the check!) we were definitely happy customers.

A few bookstores, a spice shop, & a photography museum later, it was time to eat again.  We had bought some food to cook dinner at the markets, and were well supplied with  3 types of fromage including Italian grana, our experimental course of oursin, choux de bruxelles, and plenty of left-over bits from fougasse to saucisson to make up a ridiculously hearty meal.   And that was before we even got to the madeleines.

Now, I’ve made madeleines before, and I thought that David Leibowitz, en tant que pastry chef would know these things backwards…but I have to say, after dreaming about these things all day, the experience was anti-climactic.  Perhaps it’s a matter of goût personnel but the lemon glaze on these petites galettes was not my favorite detail.  I prefer my madeleines to be firm and just slighty croustillant on the outside with a delicate and airy, moist inside.  Perhaps they have to be eaten just out of the oven, but malgré our amazing breakfast pastries from blé sucré, I wouldn’t really recommend their madeleines.

I actually tried dipping them in thé tonight–but still…I didn’t have the redemptive, clarifying experience that Proust‘s writing suggests.

—vocabulaire—

chemin > path

matin > morning

patisserie > pastry shop

petit déjeuner > breakfast

à plus tard > later (on)

pain au raisin > raisin bread, typically wrapped like a snail shell

escargot de brioche > a snail-like spiral of moist, egg-based dough

marchés > markets

manouché à thym > Lebanese thyme bread, dense herbs/lemon/olive oil heated on a flat pita

centimes > european “cents”

crèpes > flat, thin, french “pancakes”

Bretagne > Brittany

galettes de blé noir > buckwheat crèpes (the word galette is used for savory, as opposed to sweet versions)

bleu d’auvergne, miel, & noix > blue cheese, honey, & walnuts

chevre frais et salade > fresh goat cheese and mesclun lettuce

norvegienne (saumon fumé,oeuf miroir, crème fraiche & gruyère) > Norwegian: smoked salmon, sunny-side up egg, a french style of thick cheese that holds up well to heat (crème fraiche) & gruyère, a mild, savory french cheese)

pompette > tipsy

caramels de beurre salée > caramels made from salted butter

fromage > cheese

grana > a crumbly italian cheese similar to pecorino romano in flavor

oursin > sea urchin

choux de bruxelles > brussel sprouts

fougasse > a doughy bread often filled with olives, bacon, etc.

saucisson > sausage

en tant que > “being that he is”/”as a” (closest translations in this situation, a phrase used for emphasis)

goût personnel > personal taste

petites galettes > small cakes

croustillant > crunchy/crusty

malgré > despite

thé > tea

Proust > Marcel Proust, a French writer most well known for his recounting of an experience where eating a madeleine dipped in tea caused him to remember events from his childhood he had thought were long forgotten.

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