Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Le Marais by Mouth

In the course of researching restaurants in Paris, I found the blog Paris By Mouth that seemed to have good recommendations on the best places to eat in the city. I noticed that they also offered food walking tours of different areas of the city. I decided to splurge a bit and signed us up!

We were given instructions to come to a little bakery/cafe in the Marais at 10:00 am sharp. We decided to walk there from our hotel so it took about 30 minutes and it was lovely to see the city waking up on a Saturday morning. Once we arrived at the cafe, we met the other people in our group of 8. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, most of them were young couples like ourselves and all of the girls were celebrating their birthdays.

Our guide was an adorable American woman who moved to Paris about 10 years ago after a life long love affair with French food and wine. She took us to a variety of shops and eateries and explained in detail about the different foods and drinks that we were sampling. It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon getting to know the Marais and swapping tips with other food-obsessed travelers.

Below is an overview of the places we went, all of which are worth a visit:

Poilâne bakery at 38 rue Debelleyme, 75003
This bakery served delicious pan au chocolate and is world renown for their true-to-tradition way of preparing the bread. Be sure to order a cafe creme, because if you don't already know, cappuccinos don't exist in Paris! Well, actually...they might at Starbucks.

Jouannault cheese shop at 39 rue de Bretagne, 75003
This place was off the chain on a Saturday morning. We sampled various types of cheese, including a Roquefort, Brie with truffles and Comte. Our guide explained that Roquefort is literally aged in rocks and thats where it gets its name.

Caractère de Cochon at 42 rue Charlot 75003
A wonderful couple runs this shop and they had a great time telling us (in English) about where the different charcuterie comes from and why some countries have hard meats (Germany) and why others have lighter ones (Spain). It all has to do with the wind patterns and the way the meats are aged. Pretty interesting stuff.

Marché des Enfants Rouge
About half of the places we went to were located around this adorable market that I am sure I would shop at every weekend, if I lived in Paris. Its definitely worth checking out for the beautiful, fresh food and there are several places that you can stop to grab a bite to eat.

Goumanyat spice shop at 3 rue Charles-Francois Dupuis, 75003
If you are interested in taking home some souvenirs, this is the place to get them! This store is a cook's dream, stocked with every single spice or cooking additive you could imagine.

Jacques Genin chocolate shop at 133 rue de Turenne, 75003
This place is run by a very eccentric man who takes perfectionism to the extreme, so much so that he only serves his signature pastries once every 3 months. By some stroke of luck, we happened to be there on one of those days and got to try famous bicycle wheel (I forget how to say it in French) and it was amazing.  Even if its not one of the special pastry days, you still have to go to this place to try the amazing candies. I had a mango flavored carmel that changed. my. life.

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