notre visite a paris!
november has been a busy month – last weekend i was in glasgow and the week before that david and i went to paris for a few days. the trip had been in the pipeline for a while as i was keen to spend more time there than i’ve previously managed and wanted to get to know some of the different arrondissements in a bit more detail, rather than just flit between them in search of tourist or food delights.
we decided to stay in montmartre in a fabulously romantic apartment. to make the most of our time we took advantage of the services offered by the lovely rosa jackson. she developed an itinerary for us, which took away my need to plan which shops and markets to visit and where to stop for food and drinks. it was actually wonderfully liberating to put myself in the hands of someone else in this way and i’d thoroughly recommend you try it if your time is precious and your standards high. inevitably i did do a little research as well…
having arrived late the night before, our first mission was to find breakfast and as rosa suggested, we visited the rose bakery. this french-owned british café provided a very gentle start to the day. relaxed service, causal surroundings (concrete floors, scrawled murals on the wall) and a plate of delicious bread and butter to nibble on as we perused the menu. david chose porridge and i had waffles with fruit compote. the waffles were slow to arrive (not a bad thing as it meant i got to sample david’s porridge more than would have otherwise have been possible) but they were worth the wait. truly delicious light crunchiness which i quickly smothered with the maple syrup and the slightly tart fruit compote provided.
we spent much of our time exploring montmartre. a particular foodie favourite was lion, a gorgeous shop where david bought some foodie christmas gifts (sam, there’s one with your name on it…) as well as vanilla jam and olives noirs de lyons. there is a selection of delicious smelling teas tucked away at the back of the shop – make sure you don’t miss this and definitely open a few jars and inhale deeply.
we also spent a very happy half hour in a l’etoile d’or chatting to denise acabo about the wonderful chocolates which she stocks. on the advice of david lebovitz we treated ourselves to bernachon chocolates and cbs caramels from le roux (cbs means caramel-beurre-salé) , all of which were fabulous and it is only the caramels that remain (helped by the fact that (my) david isn’t a fan).
our explorations were fuelled by pastries from both la renaissance-delmontel (which we returned to for its wonderful baguette au levain) and les petits mitrons whose tarts were more rustic in appearance than those from renaissance ones but disappeared equally rapidly!
we also had the opportunity to indulge our interest in wine with a “grand 7” tasting at o-chateau. hosted by the very charming olivier we had a fun evening despite his many cheeky asides about the english rugby team and the british approach to alcohol, particularly our tendency to always finish the bottle!
it was also reassuring to hear from an expert just how difficult it is to choose french wine. i think the basics can be summarised as: learn the regions which produce a style of wine that you like; don’t bother trying to memorise the name of the winemaker as there are so many (you’re highly unlikely to see one that you know again so stock up if you do find something you love); and learn how to read the labels so you can identify wines which have aoc status and are bottled by the wine-grower.
as well as visiting sacre coeur we explored the montmartre cemetery which is fascinating and well worth a visit.
rose bakery - 46 rue des martyrs, open 10am-5pm
la renaissance-delmontel - 39 rue des martyrs, open 7am-8.30pm except tuesdays
lion - 7 rue des abbesses, open 10.30am-8pm
a l'etoile d'or - 30, rue fontaine
les petits mitrons - 26 rue lepic, open 7.30am-1.30pm, 3-7.30pm