Rookie error if you ever thought about going on a full-fledged detox while in France. It’s time to go beyond the conflict duck and foie grae cliche and discover what to eat in Paris by feasting where the locals go.
First of all, you would be a fool. Cruel? Maybe I am but I think it would be crueller if you denied you taste buds and body some of life’s simplest pleasures in the form of French food and wine. These Frenchie pleasures aren’t just limited to the cliché of feasting on cheese and baguettes (although delicious) either, it goes beyond that – oui oui!
To get a clear idea of what to eat in Paris, here I give you a rundown of all the French food pleasures I had the hard job of consuming one afternoon.
A day of French pleasures
I went on a tour with food guide overlords, Eating Europe and they introduced me to a side of French cuisine that went beyond my belief that French people live off eating ducks and steak tartare all day.
A modern twist on a French favourite
The food tour first kicked off in the 10th arrondissement right opposite the Canal-Martin. This area is a people-watching paradise as come during the day, many come to have their little picnics or much-needed respite from the daily grind. One thing to aid them is this someone’s ingenious idea to establish a restaurant-café bar dedicated to France’s one up on the humble cheese toastie – a croque-monsieur.
For those that need a gentle reminder on what these are, it is best described by the creators of the croquet-monsieur reinvented 2.0, Fric Frac. Except, not only did we get to indulge in this cheese-ham-béchamel threesome in bread, but we also got to try a vegetarian version too. And for those avocado lovers, it is purely a verdant delight! Fric Frac is like the Ben & Jerry’s of unusual croquet-monsieur combinations but they just work – even if they are inspired with the culinary skills of Vikings and Aztecs.
Bring on the red
Away from the main drag to a suburban red and blue wonder house of cheese and wine. Epicerie TSF is popular with the locals as they dish out fully loaded baguette at reasonable prices. Instead of loading up on just baguettes, we sat inside and loaded up on a selection of cured meats from the Savoie region and a few glasses of red. I mean, there was a wall of French wine staring at us so of course, I had to give into temptation. The was even a ladder on standby so you could imagine that there was quite the selection of fine wine to choose from – cheers to that!
Trapped in a cheese dungeon
Walking through the streets of Paris after a glass or two can always aid in making an afternoon that extra bit more enjoyable – not that it wasn’t already. Maybe our crowd was deemed unruly as soon enough, we were whisked into the dungeons and away from public view! Oh no! Actually, oh yes! This dungeon or in reality, the 17th-century cellar (not bad hey?) not only had more wine, it had cheese too! It was a French goldmine of cheese from all corners of France. And since I had some people in my tour that were anti-cheese (Really? You are in France honey), I got to reap in the rewards at Paroles De Fromagers by eating their share and then some. Really did struck gold on that one!
Testing those little balls of carbs
Now, this insight may blow your mind a bit – or maybe I am just being a bit too dramatic here; it is not all about bread, duck, cheese, croquet-monsieur consumption in France. Couscous is an integral part of the French diet and thankfully, it’s a healthy one too. The French have embraced this seemingly blank canvas North African staple to enjoy on a regular basis. We were then taken to a hole-in-the-wall type cosy restaurant, L’amalgame to have a true Moroccan handmade couscous feast, paired with harissa, chickpeas and grilled meats. The flavours literally ka-powed in my mouth. What was even more impressive than the flavours was finding out that they made the handmade couscous in-house.
As this was a eat, walk, eat, talk, eat tour, we got some insights into the areas that we strolled through. Our guide discussed topics from the unfortunate terrorist incidents that occurred in recent times (November 2015). He also discussed the treatment of Jews in the area during World War II while strolling by relatively unknown historical landmarks. This information was hard to swallow but really gave some insight into the area we were exploring through.
Time for dessert!
We couldn’t have the tour ending on a sad note so we went to one of the happiest places that Paris could provide us – a Yann Couvreur Patisserie. Headed by renowned pastry chef Yann Couvreur, this 11th arrondissement neighbourhood patisserie blessed our culinary senses with the most delectable bites. Think thick, caramel eclairs and lemon meringue squares worthy of a picture frame. Everything in this corner shop patisserie was looking perfect, but it was even better when the dessert was in my hands. I was ready to embrace a colourful sugar high!
Rookie error if you deny yourself to try some of these Parisian pleasures because that would be the ultimate sin.
What amazing French food did you eat in Paris? (and we ain’t just talking baguettes here!) Share below!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Eating Europe tours and only got paid in food to attend the tour (lucky me!). All thoughts and opinions are my own.