STOP…hammer butter time! Right in the heart of the European winter, we had finally arrived in Paris aka the wondrous land of pastry and butter and I couldn’t have been happier. We were seated next to an ‘excessive talker’ who made the flight feel way longer than it should be. I don’t mind sporadic conversation during a flight, but I dunno, if someone has their eyes closed, does that mean they’re in the mood for non stop conversation? NO MAAAM. Plus, the flight was already delayed by 3 hours. At one point, I swear the endless chatter continued in my dreams and then I woke up to find that I was in fact, having a Planes, Trains and Automobiles moment. I did however, find solace in my noise cancelling headphones. Whoever invented this is a genius.
As we stepped out of the airport doors, I had to blink twice as a snowy blizzard was happening right before my eyes. Never seen anything like it. Barcelona seemed more like the Sunshine Coast compared to this, I thought. Fortunately, we booked a hotel transfer and our friendly driver came hand in hand with those giant sized umbrellas, the sturdy kind that can withstand more than just my uncle passing wind.Now this was one of those posts where I said to myself, “Self, where the heck do I start?” That question didn’t help. So I back-tracked a little and asked myself what information I wanted on Paris but couldn’t really find that easily. I wanted to know what the locals loved to eat, how to get it and where to stay so I can live like a local without having busloads of tourists to front everytime I step foot outside the hotel. I wanted to be surrounded by good food, art, history, culture, nightlife but still be central to all the attractions and transport. Hell, I wanted it all. Did I get it? YES MAAM.
Research is the key. Hours upon hours was spent on gathering enough information on where to stay and what to eat. I didn’t want to spend my time aimlessly wandering the streets, eating at tourist traps and only doing typical tourist-type things. Apart from listing where you can pamper your taste buds, I’ve also noted down a few places where you can chill after a massive meal.
Where to stay that oozes all kinds of cosy
Deciding on a place to stay wasn’t easy. There were so many options and recommendations from friends, it was easy to get lost in it all, but we stayed focused on finding an apartment rather than your traditional hotel. Thankfully, we came across Paris8 Apartments ( MAP ) Initially, Saint Germain was our first choice but decided to stay in the Marais. The area is unique, with its street art and culture, hidden gardens, history, a great nightlife, close to transport, central to the attractions along with a diverse range of restaurants made it an easy choice. Going off the pictures, the apartment was hot but seeing it in person, wow. Situated next door to an art gallery, the spacious one bedroom apartment is fit with a sizable kitchen decked out with stainless steel appliances, cutlery that I wanted to take home, two bathrooms – the second with a huge a rainfall shower head and most importantly, heating bbbrrr. They did an amazing job with the refurbishment, I couldn’t tell that I was staying in a 700 year old building! I was having all kinds of Les Miserables moments. For reals. Oozing all kinds of cosy, I truly felt Paris. The only fault was dragging you luggage up two flights of narrow stairs!
#1 First Bite is the deepest
It may have been a hella cringy thing to do, but as soon as we unloaded the luggage, we ran downstairs and grabbed a croissant at the local boulangerie, Gwen Choc ( MAP ) Nothings compares to your first true bite of croissant.
This became an obsession and part of the daily routine. The ladies that run the boulangerie are real friendly and so passionate about what they do which of course, enticed us to try nearly everything during the trip.#2 Parmentier Crepes Research pays off man. Paris is like the land of cigarettes crepes. Most recommended place was Creperie St Honore ( MAP) . Oooh, this place was gold. I went for the ‘Parmentier’ filled with potatoes, yolky egg, gooey cheese and sour cream. Despite walking nearly an hour to get there, it was still freezing so gulping this down gave me the warmzies. Fwoooaaar…
#3 I wasn’t leaving until I had a nutella crepe!
#4 Beef Bourguignon at Au Bourguignon du Marais As soon as I booked the flights to Paris, I immediately thought of Beef Bourguignon so off we went to hunt and gather up where to find the most authentic as recommend by locals and came across Au Bourguignon du Marais ( MAP ) and booked it straightaway. Luckily we did as the place was packed. Conveniently located 15 minutes away from the apartment, we were greeted with a candlelit tables, warm bread and our first taste of butter on Paris soil. It was bliss. I could have just had the bread. Of course, the Beef Bourguignon was their signature dish and rightly so, it was slow cooked meat at its tender best and eating it in Paris of all places just made it that extra special. #5 Foie gras. Enough said. Do it. #6 Sweetest Berries at Rue Mouffetard (Latin Quarter) Markets One thing that was evident : Parisians rarely don’t buy any fruit, cheese and fresh produce at the supermarket and why would they when their markets are some of the best I’ve seen. You’ll find artisan bakeries, cheese, fresh seafood whilst you smell the aroma of roasting chickens. I couldn’t help but buy a punnet of fresh berries and a good hunk of cheese from regions I won’t even attempt to pronounce every chance I got. It was total bliss walking around town munching on the most juiciest and sweetest berries I’ve ever tasted. No exaggeration. YASS! MORE YASS!
#7 A secret seafood rendezvous at Huitrerie Regis
After getting over some pastry indigestion, lunch was not on my mind. In fact, I needed tea to calm the belching. Then, out of nowhere came Huitrerie Regis. ( MAP ) One look inside this quaint boutique eatery, my eyes started to bulge out Ren and Stimpy style. Without hesitation, we walked in and sat ourselves down.
Forget about the menu. Just take a look around and see what everyone else is having. The menu isn’t that expansive anyways so I’d suggest going for the seafood platters. On the tier were a variety of oysters sourced locally from Arcachon Bay, Normandy, the Loire Valley and Brittany that were flavourful, they hardly required a sqizz of lemon.
I know I may get yanked for saying this but I actually enjoyed the prawns more. They were so beautifully poached, I went absolutely bizerk guzzling down the wine that matched it ‘too’ well. We were so happy to randomly find Huitrerie Regis for this seafood pitstop. Loved everything about this place.#8 Did I have seven canelés? Really, did I?
Ahurr, yes. Can you blame me? I went on abit of a canelé hunt and no doubt, the best were from Carton. ( MAP )#9 Too many berry pastries from Paul ‘maison de qualite’
Don’t stop till you get enough. This was my berry pastry motto throughout my time in Paree. Ever since tasting the berries at the markets, I was hooked. I wanted everything with berries in them and had grown attached to the berry pastries at Pauls . Perhaps it was good thing as it helped to build my immune system during the ‘OMG I can’t feel my face’ weather.The first picture below is the first I had whilst queuing up for the Catacombs (which you should definitely visit by the way!)More gloved pastry action…it was freakin cold! Interlude…say aaahhhh
Believe it or not, I did stop now and then to look up and appreciate the stunning views across Paris. Everything looked like art. Teehehe. This cutie waiting outside a boulangerie #10 It ain’t all about the cliches- L’as du Fallafel
I committed to hitting up all the ‘what you gotta eat in Paris’ cliches first off the bat and then gradually ate what the locals ate from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. Tucked away in the narrow streets of the Jewish Paris district was L’as du Fallafel ( MAP ).
I’ve never been a big fan of the fallafel and hardly ate it back home in Melbourne, but people were queuing in the snow for it so I just had to see what the big fuss was. We decided to bear the blizzard and bought time watching what others were ordering so when we were up, we were prepared for these crisp, garlicky gem of gems. They’re messy as hell as the cushy pita bread is also filled with red cabbage, cucumber, hummus but nonetheless, so much fun to eat as you try to keep it all together bite by bite. I am a convert but unfortunately, have not found anything as great since! Oh, we had seconds and also tried the lamb which was also #pow.
Best meal that week!
Where to chill and lock YO love