Tag Archives: walk

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 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)


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: vadrouiller

vadrouiller (v.) : to ramble, wander

When a French person thinks of the verb vadrouiller, they probably think of the movie La grande vadrouille – one of the funniest French films I’ve ever seen (Je suis très fan de Louis de Funès – I also recommend his L’aile ou la cuisse).  But for me, rambling about just for the sake of flânant – that is my favorite activity.

And so I bring you a list of favorite streets to stroll.

Part III: Mon meilleur…Paris à pied

Sandwiches at Focacceria, Rue Rambuteau

1) Rue Rambuteau/Rue des Francs Bourgeois (3e)

This street is hardly a hidden secret among Parisian walkers.  Every Sunday, this neighborhood (the Marais) becomes a zone piétonneironically making it harder to get around than on the days cars are allowed.  Personally, I tend to fréquenter this quartier on weekday mornings or afternoonsas some of my favorite sandwich shops and sweet treats line this rue.  Places to stop in?  Huré (bakery; 18 Rue Rambuteau) or Foccaceria (Italian sandwich shop, Rue Rambuteau) for sandwiches.  Pain de Sucre (sweets; 14 Rue Rambuteau) for guimauves.  Whether you’re a lover of la mode, la bouffe, ou l’architecture – this ramble has something for every goût .

2) Rue de Charonne (11e)

This is perhaps one of my odder choix, but I always found this long and winding road to be a rather interesting walk, passing through several distinct neighborhoods.  At the Bastille end, a number of trendy shops and restaurants can be found, and as you wander towards Père Lachaise, you’ll get a good sense of what I like to call “Paris authentique“.  Places to stop in?  Morry’s (bagel shop; 1 rue de Charonne), The Lazy Dog (design store; 25 rue de Charonne), Il Piccolo Otranto (Italian specialty store; 122 Rue de Charonne), Le Bistrot du Peintre (Art-Nouveau café; corner of rue de Charonne & ave Ledru Rollin)

Christmas Decorations, Rue Saint André des Arts

3) Rue de Buci/Rue Saint André des Arts (6e)

Hiding between Saint Germain dès Pres and St. Michel is this lovely little pedestrian route.  Starting off with a charming pavée market on the Buci end, the road narrows to accommodate increasingly frequent voitures as you head up André des Arts to the St. Michel fountain.  While this might be a very typique and well-traveled route, it has quite a bit of promise for even those tourist-avoiding types.  Places to stop in? Malongo Café (Italian coffee; 50 Rue Saint-André des Arts), Crêperie Saint André des Arts (crepe restaurant; 56 Rue St Andre des Arts), Passage Saint André des Arts (a pedestrian-only passage between Rue Saint André des Arts and Blvd St. Germain)

4) Rue Saint-Honoré (1e)

For those who prefer to see the chic-er side of Paris, a jaunt down Rue Saint-Honoré les ferait plaisir.  Housing high-end and trendy boutiques (like the célébré Colette), it puts the Champs-Elysées back in it’s over-blown, over-exploited place.  Places to stop in?  Colette (concept store; 213 rue Saint-Honoré), Marché Saint-Honoré (market/shopping center; Place du Marché Saint-Honoré), Palais Royal (monument/gardens; Rue Richelieu/Rue Saint-Honoré)

Picnicing Parisians, Quai de Jemmapes

5) Quai de Jemmapes/Quai de Valmy (10e)

Ok, this is kind of tricherie – because here we’re talking about two quais of the Canal St. Martin.  In warm weather, this is my favorite stomping ground – with kitschy, quirky, and unique stores, shops, and restaurants lining both sides of this charmant waterway.  I highly recommend following the canal all the way up to the Bassin de la Villette to check out the house boats, bateau-bars/restaurants, and another edgy and interesting Parisian neighborhood.  Places to stop in?  Chez Prune (bistro; 36 Rue Beaurepaire/Quai Valmy), Artazart (design/book store; 83 quai de Valmy), Le Verre Volé (wine bar; 67 rue de Lancry/Quai de Valmy), Antoine & Lily (boutique; 95 Quai de Valmy)


La grande vadrouille > The Big Ramble/The Great Stroll

Je suis très fan de Louis de Funès > I’m a big fan of Louis de Funès (a famous French comedian)

L’aile ou la cuisse > The wing or the thigh

flânant > strolling, walking without an end-point

Mon meilleur…Paris à pied > My best…Paris on foot

zone piétonne > pedestrian zone

fréquenter > frequent

quartier > neighborhood

rue > road

guimauves > marshmallows (different than American marshmallows, which the French call chamallows)

la mode, la bouffe, ou l’architecture > fashion, food, or architecture

goût > taste

choix > choice

Paris authentique > Authentic Paris

pavée > cobbled

voitures > cars

typique > typical (in a quaint way)

chic > chic, stylish

les ferait plaisir > will please them

célébré > celebrated, renown

tricherie > cheating

charmant > charming

bateau > boat

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