I could actually make this post about twenty of my top Parisian eats and drinks. At least. This is a city for all the senses. It’s a feast for the eyes, of course. But taste is arguably the way to truly understand Paris, the capital of haute cuisine. And to fall further in love with this city — food being the way to the heart and all. By treating yourself to some of the city’s most classic taste sensations, you’ll well appreciate why food is such a passion here, why Parisians live to eat rather than eat to live, taking the time to sit down and savour every morsel of deliciousness. So, never go to Paris on a diet! You’ll walk it all off anyway. Another warning: I’m vegetarian, so don’t expect any talk of tartare from me. But I do promise you soul- and stomach-satisfying experiences from the below …
Hot Chocolate at Angelina
One of my most beloved ways to start a Parisian day is with breakfast at Angelina, the beautiful Belle Époque tearoom on Rue de Rivoli. I love soaking in the golden air, nibbling on bijou pastries, and imagining the likes of Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn dining here before me. They were fans of the famous chocolat chaud à l’ancienne (old-style hot chocolate — basically melted chocolate), and rightly so. So delicious is this drink that I grab another to-go on the way out, and sip it over in the Tuileries as I sit on one of the signature green chairs, watching the world and the occasional duck float by.
Cheese on Toast at Café de Flore
I know this at first sounds a little … well, ordinary … But believe me, this is not your average cheesy toast. Café de Flore excels at serving heart-warming comfort food, but just a chicer version than what you’d whip up at home. And so this dish melts perfectly semi-ripened rounds of goat’s cheese on crunchy sourdough tartines courtesy of Poilâne, the cult Parisian bakery.
Ice-Cream from Berthillon
So mind-blowingly vivid are the flavours at this legendary ice-creamery on the lovely Île Saint-Louis, you might feel a case of synaesthesia coming on, imagining that you’re eating colours or sweet melodies. Or perhaps your ice-cream or sorbet choice will trigger a sensorial journey back into childhood, to that time you went strawberry-picking as a child, and let the sugary sun-ripened juice dribble all over your face and hands. Make sure to go to the salon de thé counter on the main road for the best flavour selection.
The Dessert Tray at Les Deux Magots
If it’s not quite apéro hour (which I approximately time from 4.55pm), I figure that it’s probably afternoon-tea time — not that French pastries need wait for any particular moment, of course. On this wonderfully old-school silver tray you’ll find a selection of classic French sweet treats from Pierre Hermé (including the raspberry-and-lychee macaron marvel that is the Ispahan) and Gosselin (such as a Saint-Honoré, the flamboyant swirl of cream and cream puffs). My only problème with this situation? Oh là là … Which to choose?!
A Cheese Assiette at Carette
A lazy, sunny Sunday wandering around the Marais is a must. All the shops are open, for one. And the park in the middle of the exquisite Place des Vosges vibrates with life and happiness, as Parisians picnic and play on the manicured grass. Sometimes I join them, feasting from a box of Carette macarons. But I usually can’t resist Carette’s lovely parkside terrace, so that I can order the wonderful cheese plate (it’s so pretty you’ll hardly want to touch it). That paired with a glass of rosé … talk about la vie en rose.