Posts tagged paris

Rue Cler

If you read my Travel ABC’s, you know one of my favorite things to do while traveling is to explore the local markets. It gives you an authentic slice of local daily life and it’s often the best place to buy great foodie souvenirs and handcrafted goods to take home.

That’s why when I was in Paris, checking out a few of the local markets was high on my to-do list.

I did my research and was recommended to go to the market on Rue Cler, in the 7th arrondissement.

There, I was greeted by an abundance of fruit stands, charcuteries, patisseries, fromageries, flowers shops and boulangeries:

One of the pretty little flower shops on Rue Cler.

Wine galore.

Gorgeous roses for sale.

I still regret not buying this tart.

More wine!

These cherries were 30€/kilo and are imported from my home of Washington State!

Yes, those are turtles made of bread!

And more flowers :)

After perusing the shops and stalls, I stocked up on cheese and baguettes and made my way to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic.

My idea of the perfect afternoon.

(The Rue Cler market is open from Tues-Sun 8:30am-Noon.)

Paris’s Palette

I didn’t go to Paris expecting to see much color. In a uniform city (there’s a strict 6-story max building code) often with a backdrop of a drab, gray sky, I didn’t imagine color would be bursting at its seams like it does in Morocco or Greece. 

But, if you keep your eyes open, you’ll find it:

You’ll find it in the manicured lawns of Versailles, in clusters of grapes, in neat rows of trees and in well-kept gardens.

You’ll find it in the bright, summer sky, in upholstered palace walls, and shabby-chic apartments.

You’ll find it in high-fashion storefront displays, in Berthillion ice-cream and upon quiet doorsteps.

You’ll find it in silky fabrics, in rain-kissed honeysuckle and flashy cars.

You’ll find color in Paris. It’s evasive, but it’s not understated.

Brasseries & Bistrots: The 2 B’s of Paris

(A brasserie in Ile St. Louis)

Brasseries

Forget the Michelin-starred jewels of Paris’s culinary crown. A brasserie (meaning brewery) is sophisticated without being stuffy. These are much more than the simple beer taverns of Paris’s past. Brasseries are where the French go to eat well at a reasonable price, and where tourists should go for an authentic peek into Parisian life. 

Picture a brightly lit space, leather banquettes, Art Nouveau decor and a menu of French classics: steak tartare—raw minced beef often seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, capers, raw egg and freshly ground black pepper, choucroute—sauerkraut and sausages, and a wide selection of wine and beer.

Tips: Order a carafe of house wine to avoid the often-pricey wine lists. Expect to pay around €30 per person, and remember the brasseries are open all day, late into the evening.

(A bistrot in Paris’s St. Germaine neighborhood)

Bistrots

If you’re more home-cooking than haute cuisine, the bistrot, a Parisian institution, is right up your alley. A bistrot, often featuring a small menu and an extensive wine list, is an undeniably unpretentious place to gather and eat good, simple food.

(Boeuf bourguignon for dinner.)

Meaty classics like coq au vin—chicken braised in a red wine sauce and bœuf bourguignon—beef braised with red wine, give you a sense that you’re dining in your French grandmother’s kitchen, rather than cosmopolitan Paris. However, many young chefs are challenging the classic bistrot image and opening avant-garde bistrots featuring exotic ingredients.

Tips: Bistrot menus are often written up on chalkboards; in French only. Do yourself a favor and memorize simple words like chicken, beef, fish, etc. to get a better idea of what you’re ordering. Better yet, write down some dishes you want to try while you’re in Paris and find a bistrot that serves them.

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Have you experienced Paris’s dining scene? Where’s the best bistrot or brasserie you’ve been to?