Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to Eat in Paris

My days and nights are being spent writing.  Writing writing writing, for Rêve.  Laura, Elizabeth and I had a series of topics we wanted to cover before this trip, but as I write and think, there are always more things that need to be covered, more tips to add, things that I think readers should know.  This week I wrote a piece on how to travel around Paris with your teens, inspired by the time I lost my two 17 year old nephews in the Louvre.  That was a real eye-opener, and it made me think of a series of practical tips. And when teens need to eat approximately every two hours, in a city where you can easily spend $50 on a light breakfast for three and that barely gets you to 10am, where do you go?  The question is less where than how, and I’ll tell you how.  Me, I prefer a simple coffee, croissant, newspaper, and a view in the morning.  This is at my favorite café in Paris.  Like many Parisian creatures of habit, I never get tired of going here.  I’ve been going for 20 years, and I love it each time~


I like to eat out in Paris, and I have a few recommendations as well as a few wine bars.  But because I love to cook, I can’t resist access to a kitchen.  My favorite market in Paris is the one on Avenue President Wilson (Wednesday and Saturday mornings), which was convenient to me when I lived in the 16th.  We shopped there, then had coquilles Saint Jacques à la Parisienne (of course)~


Another night we had a whole fresh North Atlantic sole (à la meunière) at home, and it was fun because not only did we have a nice meal, I gave an impromptu cooking lesson and also showed Raquel and Julia how to serve a sole à table.  Knowing how to separate the waste from the filets in the manner of a Parisian waiter is a nice skill to have, and one very chic Parisienne I know says it’s her favorite way to impress a date, as the waiter brings the cooked whole fish and you say no, allow me.  So while it’s nice to have that experience out, I am just as happy to do it in the kitchen for friends in Paris.  There are restaurants to go for more sophisticated and complex fish dishes, but the sole is easy for home.

For a late morning or afternoon snack, nothing beats a slice of Poilane bread, with crème fraiche, sliced gravlax and a dab of faux caviar.  With a small salad, I’ll call this lunch, between museums or photo jaunts~


Or for the sweet tooths, try it this way, toasted, with a spoon of fromage blanc from the market and a drizzle of French honey.


Spread it around a little to mix the flavors, this is perfect with a little coffee~


I made Raquel and Julia tomato & gruyere tartines; so good, to tide everyone over until dinner and to help stretch the food budget~


Or just with a little Roquefort.


Julia’s favorite was apple tarte.  Skip the tartines, she went right for this, and I made several large ones during the week with the pre-made puff pastry crust from the grocery store.  Hot from the oven with a large dollop of crème fraiche, it’s hard to beat the taste.  I wonder if people believe me when I say that everything tastes so good in France?  Julia understood after a week there….the bread is fantastic, the apples are ten times as fragrant as ours, I can’t explain why, and the crème on top of the tarte is unlike any crème we have in the States.  And it was 1 Euro for a large tub.  OK we cheated a little and bought it at Monoprix instead of the open air market, but it was still very good and over the week we ate it all.


Paris is all about value decisions.  Is the glass of orange juice here really worth $10?  The glass of wine worth $20?  That depends on who, what and where.  One thing I can tell you is that every first time visitor to Paris is positively shocked by the price of eating out and very few of them are on an unlimited budget.  Before you go, it’s good to have a few strategies in mind for how to keep everyone fed without going broke. That’s what you’ll find covered in the book.

Back to writing…have a great Thursday~


  1. I love how you think of the practical side of travel; the group does so much better with regular breaks and full tummies. Such good ideas for quality meals/snacks and balancing them between at-home relaxed socializing and the treat of dining out. I really want to try making the apple tarte. We have filberts so I may steal your idea of powdering them into the crust. :-)

  2. I had hot chocolates in Paris and paid a pretty penny for them but they were so yummy, we both had two each, milk was steamed and delicious.

  3. Dear Andrea I am so excited about Reve! All of these treats look so delish and I cannot wait to taste the Coquillles Saint Jacques!

    Art by Karena

  4. Beautiful post Andrea

    Everything you post inspires soulfully.


  5. Oh I miss Paris. My teen aged boy who grew up eating crepes will tell you that his favorite crepe stand is still at Place St Augustin (8 arr) and white building. He has been going there since second grade and where ever we stay in Paris, he tries to go there every other day for a banana and nutella crepe.

  6. I feel the need to uncork a bottle of wine to go with this post!

  7. Maybe our paths will cross in Beaune...

    1. Petti! I keep commenting on your comments! Email me andrea at !!