When I go to Paris, I really just want to eat. I have an ongoing list called “Stuff to eat in Paris” that I pull out every time I’m back in the soixante-quinze. (Because Paris is in department # 75 and French numbers are funny.) I enjoy hitting up much blogged-about hotspots and deciding if they live up to the hype, and discovering new gems by chance, like the Bar à Soupes in the 11th.
I was back in the City of Lights in June, juggling my love of food with my loathing of Paris prices. (It’s like if you attacked normal prices with helium. Because they’re inflated. No, I’m exaggerating. It’s not that bad.) You’ll notice that I spent a lot of time in the 10th, my current favorite arrondissement for doing stuff. (The 12th is my current favorite arrondissement for chilling, in case you were wondering.)
If you’ve ever lived in Paris, you’ll know more than a few of these!
This is a famous, famous boulangerie. It is beautiful on the outside, and even more beautiful on the inside. It’s kind of like a little slice of a palace, with golden details and mirrored ceilings. People wait in line before it even opens. And it’s not that they don’t make an exquisite pastry, because they do, without a doubt. And if you’re in the neighborhood and have a few euros burning a hole in your pocket, by all means, pay the iconic bakery a visit. But please get something unusual that you won’t find anywhere else to make it worth it. There’s no reason to pay over two euros for a croissant when you can get a perfectly buttery, flaky, delicious one at any respectable boulangerie for a euro or less.
How long has Le Comptoir Général been around? Is it passé yet? I loved its weird quirky melange of bar, gallery, restaurant, concept store, and cool hangout. From the street, the only sign of it is a small, unobtrusive plaque, like your dentist might have, so if you’re not looking for it, you’ll miss it entirely. However, this “secret” spot apparently has a line around the block on Friday nights, so do as we did and drop in on a Monday instead.
This was my favorite coffee that we drank in Paris that week. Maybe it’s because I like my coffee on the gentler side. I like the idea of trendy cafés, but in reality they give me unpleasant heart palpitations and migraines with their espresso concoctions. At Bob’s, you grab a mug and serve yourself their filtered coffee. They were kind enough to whip up a bowl of granola with milk for my dad, even though it wasn’t exactly what they had on the menu. And the place lives up to its name; Bob squeezes one hell of a juice.
I read about Le Sésame in a 24 hours in Paris guide on Design Sponge by Anne Ditmeyer of Prêt à Voyager, but what convinced me to go was the short video on their website. I was a little disappointed with what we had (muffins and coffee) but I would give it another try for lunch or a snack. The light blue walls, needlepoint decor, and #putabirdonit charm was half the fun.
If you know of anywhere in the Rhône-Alpes with real taquería tacos, please tell me where! For now, I get my taco fix when in Paris (or California). In Paris, tacos are a trendy delicacy, and it’s apparently acceptable to sell them for over 3 euros apiece (DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT IS IN DOLLARS?!) But it’s working – when we got to El Guacamole on a Monday night, they were already out of almost everything. What we got was very good, albeit too small for our grumbling tummies. My favorite was the tinga de pollo. I was confused when my margarita came – it seemed that they had run out of glasses and so had served it in a thimble.
I love noodles. I’ve never set foot in Asia, so I could be doing it all wrong, but there’s still something comforting about scooping up saucy noodles with chopsticks. (Cue insatiable noodle craving. When’s the next bus to Paris?)
I was expecting Les Pates Vivantes to be upscale fast food where you order at the counter and eat at a bar in the window. Not so – it’s restaurant (with tables and the whole shebang). Luckily, I’m not shy about asking for a table for one. There was a subtitled video showing the noodles being pulled by hand, and the dough stretched out so far that I started to wonder if the plate in front of me was actually just one long noodle.
Update: They opened up a location in Lyon not long after I wrote this!
The New York Times led us to lunch at Bistrot Valois. It was as unpretentious as the article suggests. Black and white tiled floor, outdoor terrace (looking onto a small place, not a trafficked street) and welcoming, easy-going staff. This was my dad’s favorite place of the week (and the last time he was in France, his favorite restaurant was cheffed by Paul Bocuse).
This little place is a gem. I found it by searching for “soup” on Yelp. They offer a choice of six or seven homemade soups per day, plus some sides and desserts. I felt like I was in someone’s aunt’s kitchen. No cranky Parisians here.
This pizza truck doesn’t drive around, it hangs out in the hidden courtyard of Centquatre (104), a center for artists in the 19th. It takes forever to get your pizza, but that’s because this operation is a one-man show, and he prepares each pizza by hand starting with rolling out the dough, Italian style. It’s about 10 euros for a lunch formule and the pizza is literally served hot from the wood-burning oven. (Yes, it’s a foodtruck with a wood-burning oven.)
What I missed this time…
This one’s another relic discovery from the Design Sponge guide. A Korean picnic sounds delicious! Have you tried one before?
My years in Chicago imprinted on me a love of barbecue, specifically pulled pork sandwiches and Sweet Baby Ray’s on everything. I’d love to know if this place is as drool-worthy as it’s cracked up to be!
You know that I love Mexican food, but this place looked too trendy for its own good. Bordering on pretention, really. Are you really charging 9 euros for two tacos? What’s in them, angel wings?
A classic French bistrot also recommended by the New York Times and pretty much everyone else.
How is it possible that I’ve still never been to Holybelly? Part of me worries that I’d be disappointed, since gourmet Brunch with a capital B is ubiquitous in Chicago, but at the same time, this place is so hyped up by everyone and I’ve never heard a bad thing about it. It was inconveniently closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the days we stayed in the 10th (how rude, Holybelly.) But I definitely plan to give it a try next time to see how it stacks up next to Lula and m.henry in Chicago.
If you’re thinking I went to Paris and skipped out on a Paris classic like falafel in the Marais, don’t worry! I lived in Paris for a year and I always try new restaurants whenever I’m in town. Usually they are on the budget-friendly side, because I like cheap eats.
Have you tried any of these places? Where are your favorite places to eat in Paris?