Tag Archives: shopping

reality bites: “quatre jours” (continued, journée 3)

quatre jours: four days

Journée 3 : Paris chic et gourmand (Chic and foodie Paris)

Shopping for cheese at La Fermete, Rue Montorgeuil

1. Rue Montorgueil (2e)
Start the day at the nothern end of Rue Montorgueil; this historic market street is home to the supposed best éclair in Paris, among a number of other famous and lauded fromageries, boulangeries, épiceries, et bistros.  For breakfast, I’d suggest to poke your head into Eric Kayser for a morning pastry.  The brioche au chocolat blanc is literally one of my favorite things to eat in Paris.

2. Saint Eustache
When you reach the southern end of Rue Montorgueil, pop into the church on your right – Saint Eustache.  Don’t forget to check out the unique heart shaped windows, and when you leave out the front door, look for La Droguerie, a colorful tricotage shop.

Copper pots at E. Dehillerin

3. Magasins de Cuisine (1e/2e)
As you leave Saint Eustache and pass by La Droguerie, continue to suivre Rue Coquillière to the point where it intersects with Rue du Louvre.  On this corner stands E. Dehillerin, one of the oldest kitchen/restaurant supply stores in Paris, and a personal favorite shop of Julia Child.  In fact, this whole neighborhood is filled with lovely cooking stores, appropriately surrounding the former site of Les Halles (the famed central Parisian market).  Turn left out of E. Dehillerin, and follow Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Rue Montmartre, where you will find several other worthwhile cooking stores, including Bovida and Mora.

A Parisian passage couvert

4. Galeries et Passages Couverts (2e/8e)
After you’ve spent an hour or two playing le gourmand, follow Rue Montmartre north until it becomes Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre (this switch occurs when you traverse Boulevard Poissonière).  On the left-hand side, at 31 bis, you will find the Passage Verdeau.  This is one of a handful of gorgeous covered passages/galleries that remain from the mid-19th century, when the upper-crust of the rive droite found it safer and chicer to shop indoors.  Only 20 or so of the original 150 passage remain, and they are truly some of the most spectacular, interesting, and overlooked attractions in Paris.  (For a list of the most beautiful passages, click here or check out this website with a map of the passages (in French)).  From Passage Verdeau, you can follow a series of passages until you find yourself near the Opéra.

5. Palais Garnier et Galleries Lafayette
When you’ve exhausted the succession of passages heading ouest from Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, head towards the Galleries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.  This historic department store is one of the oldest in Paris, and the main building has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling (over the perfume section) that is not to be missed.  Anyone craving a good peek at the Eiffel Tower – or who just wants to get their bearings – should head to the toit, where there is a lovely view of the Opéra de Paris
(Palais

Palais Garnier, as seen from the roof of Galleries Lafayette

Garnier)The Palais Garnier is your next stop after Galleries Lafayette, a historic building known among tourists as the setting for the Phantom of the Opera (and a visit to the building will only reinforce your wildest theatrical fantasies).  The place does feel downright haunted, and you cannot help but imagine the lavish soirées and opening nights of centuries passed.  A self-guided tour is well-worth the 9€ entry fee, if you have the time. 

6. Madeleine et macarons
From the Opéra, descend southwest along the Boulevard des Capucines, to Place Madeleine.  Pop your head into the church, which has an impressive altarpiece (if you feel so inclined), or continue sans arrêt down Rue Royale to La Durée, the most famous macaron shop in Paris.  Sweet tooths should definitely sample a smattering of mini-macarons; my favorite flavor is cassisviolet.

Children playing in the Palais Royal courtyard

7. Saint Honoré et Palais Royal

While you nibble on macarons, quickly poke your head down to Place de la Concorde, renown as the spot where Louis XVI (and other important historic figures) lost their têtes to the guillotine.  Head back north on Rue Royale, and swing right on Rue Saint Honoré, the most chic shopping street (no it’s not the Champs Elysées) in modern-day Paris.  Home to stores such as the much-lauded concept store Colette, this street also runs adjacent to several historic squares, including the Place Vendôme and the must-see Palais Royal.  Make sure to take a tour through the arcaded garden and courtyard of the latter monument, which houses such institutions as the most-prominent Parisian antiques dealer and the oldest (continually operating) restaurant in Paris.

8. Et après?
The nearby Louvre is actually lovely in the evening, whether for a jaunt through the courtyard or a proper visit to the musée.  The Louvre des Antiquaires is also à cô– a veritable wonderland of antiques that could intrigue even the most bored of museum-goers.  Or if you’re feeling outdoorsy, perhaps it’s time to vadrouiller through the Jardin de Tuileries.  Those in the mood for a cocktail (or a nightcap) might enjoy a stop at le Fumoir, and the nearby Rue de l’Arbre Sec is a hot-bed of culinary hit-makers, housing some of the very best restaurants in Paris (if you haven’t made reservations, try for a spot at Le Garde Robe, a small bar à vins).

(Journée 2Journée 4)

—vocabulaire—


fromageries, boulangeries, épiceries, et bistros > cheese shops, bakeries, grocery stores and bistros

brioche au chocolat blanc > white chocolate brioche

tricotage > knitting

suivre > follow

le gourmand > the foodie

traverse > cross

rive droite > right bank (of the Seine river)

toit > roof

soirées > parties

sans arrêt > without stopping

macaron > a typically Parisian dessert – meringue sandwich with jam or cream like filling

cassis-violet > blackcurrant-violet

têtes > heads

musée > museum

à côté > next door

vadrouiller > ramble

bar à vins > wine bar

 

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verbiage: “dépenser”

dépenser : to spend (money)

The first time I studied abroad in Paris, I took a two-week intensive French course (it was obligatoire) and amid running wild around the city searching for landmarks and preparing exposés, I picked up some handy and memoriable Parisian sayings.

One of my favorites among these is “La rive gauche est pour étudier, la rive droite, pour dépenser“.  (The left bank is for studying; the right bank, for spending).  I personally have always been more attracted to the boutiques and crafts-houses than the grand boulevards and department stores, so I do most of my (limited) shopping in the 11e or 4e or even on the left bank- malgré the aforementioned adage.  But randomly, when I decided to flâner north of Les Halles the other day, I finally found a right-bank reason to happily dole out a fat wad of euros or fling around my carte bleu.

IMG_3287It all started when ma mère who is visiting from the Etats-Unis asked if I wanted to visit the cooking store that Julia Child used to frequent.  It was deux pas from my favorite yarn store (La Droguerie, behind Eglise St. Eustache), so I obligingly agreed to seek out what I assumed would be nothing more than a tourist trap (given the recent release of Julie & Julia in Paris).IMG_3292

But E. Dehillerin was anything but.  Rempli with beautiful casseroles, moules, (and I won’t even begin to discuss my joy at seeing an entire section dedicated to fouets) – this was cooking heaven.  IMG_3293Except I don’t own my apartment and have no clue where I’ll be moving to next, so it was actually rather depressing to dream of all the amazing plats I might make if I had a cuisine stocked by E. Delhillerin (and the temps to do so, of course).  However, I could see why Julia would’ve liked this store, with it’s homey, straight-forward, and almost hardware store-like atmosphere.  Plus, I really liked that normal people like me were shopping right alongside the pros (you could buy a deli-meat slicer in the same aisle as the whisks!)

Cependant E. Delhillerin alone (glorious as it was), couldn’t cement the neighborhood north of Les Halles (despite LH’s history as the former central market) as a cooking mecca in my esprit.  It was the happy discovery of quatre other equally delightful shops in the same quartier that made me so darn excited.  Right on or near Rue Montmartre, (nearest metro : Etienne Marcel), I stumbled into La Bovida, Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie, Mora, & G. Detou.

They could all have their own equally interesting posts, so here’s the quick breakdown for the impassioned foodie:

  • La Bovida, on the corner of Rue Montmartre (no. 36), is extremely clean, modern, and easy to navigate.  HelpfulIMG_3296 shopkeepers, and three different floors- everything from dried épices to wedding cake decorations and every metal and glass piece of cookware imaginable to man.  They also had a book (with explicit pictures) of cooking techniques- the easiest to follow that I’ve ever seen.
  • IMG_3297Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie (34 rue Montmartre) is also a restaurant, but this warm and stocked little shop had everything from unusual wines to a massive leg of Iberian ham- think le luxe.  I personally sprung for a vin jaune from the Jura region (Franche-Compté) – definitely would’ve been a great compliment (or ingredient) in a cheese fondue or soup.
  • IMG_3300Mora (13 Rue Montmartre) reminded me the most of a high-end cooking store back in the States.  A beautiful, modern wood storefront and easy-to-navigate layout.  I almost bought an egg-poaching contraption (I have yet to maîtriser the art of an attractive poached egg that stays together in boiling water…much like Julie in Julie & Julia) but I thought better of it and headed to the extensive baking section where I paged through a bouquin called “L’amour des macarons” (Love of macaroons- note: these are Parisian macaroons, not the [also delicious] coconut blobs we make in the states).
  • IMG_3310G. Detou (58 rue Tiquetonne) is the furthest from the other stores and has the most “boutique” feel.  It’s name is meant to sound like “J’ai de tout”, (literally, “I have it all”), so there were some pretty big expectations to meet.  I’m not really sure such a small store could really have EVERYTHING, but considering they specialized more in foodstuffs than cooking supplies, they really did have an impressive selection.  I noticed primarily an extensive chocolate section, dried cranberries (which I haven’t really seen in the grocery store), and a large variety of unique or rare baking products.

So there you have my 2nd arrondissement pantry & kitchen stocking roundup!
And for those of you feeling a bit déprimé after wandering around these gorgeous stores (who doesn’t want to buy a 12-piece spatula set and a meter-diameter paella pan for their home kitchen?)- je te conseille to check out the nearby Rue Montorgueil, a historic pedestrian and food district where you can buy everything from a delicious roast chicken (my pick) to the “best chocolate filled éclairs in Paris” (according to Figaroscope).

—vocabulaire—

obligatoire > mandatory, required

exposés > oral presentations

malgré > despite

adage > saying

flâner > to wander, stroll

carte bleu > French bank card

ma mère > my mother

Etats-Unis > United States

deux pas > two steps

Rempli > filled

casseroles > pots

moules > molds (for tarts, etc.)

fouets > whisks

plats > dishes (in the sense of a prepared dish of food, not glass or ceramic serving dishes)

cuisine > kitchen

temps > time

Cependant > However

esprit > mind

quatre > four

quartier > neighborhood

épices > spices

le luxe > luxury

vin jaune > yellow wine

maîtriser > to mastered

bouquin > book (slang)

déprimé > depressed

je te conseille > I would advise/recommend you

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Filed under foodaphilia, verbiage