Last month, the boy and I went on a quick tour of Europe; visiting Brussels, Amsterdam, London and Paris. On our third day in Paris, we decided to explore the city through our stomachs. We linked up with the No Diet Club and they took us to some of the best food spots in Paris.
We took the metro and met up with our tour guides, Claudia and Antony, rented bikes from Bucloune and we were on our way with empty bellies and high hopes for the day.
We cycled through Le Marais, a historical area where you can see some of the buildings from Paris’ aristocratic history. The area also is near the right bank of the Seine River, where on this day there was a lot of runners, bikers, and people getting some sun while the children played around.
On our first stop, we visited Edwart Chocolatier and had a chocolate experience that changed the way I think about and eat chocolate. (It didn’t help that the guy helping us was very cute). We were asked a few questions about where we were from, what type of chocolate we prefer, and he gave us a sample based on our responses. I was given a dark chocolate with curry and spice undertones. The guy explained it so much better than I can, but I just enjoyed tasting it. The boy got milk chocolate on more milk chocolate. Our second round, he cleansed my palate with something a bit more floral and the boy got chocolate with coffee in it (but he said it still only tasted like chocolate on chocolate).
Our next stop was Pain Mie Carré, a bakery that mixes Japanese baking methods with French breads. The owners are from Japan and offered us samples of traditional Japanese bread (oh so fluffy and chewy!!), and bread with French flour. We also sampled cheese toast, a ham and cheese sandwich with jambon de bayonne, the BEST HAM EVER!, and traditional French toast, which is called pain perdu. Everything was amazing, but we were just excited to flex our Japanese. After eating all the bread and testing out the Japanese toilets, we hopped back on the bikes and headed to the Les Halles district.
Les Halles seems to hold all the markets in Paris. We biked through a flea market, down alleyways of shops and cafes, and past the best smelling pastry shops. We passed gyoza places, seafood stands, and the oldest pastry shop in Paris, Stohrer all to get to Glace Bachir, a Lebanese ice cream shop.
Before this day, I had never heard of Lebanese ice cream. We got a small explanation of how it’s made and began sampling the signature ice cream from this place. Their signature ice cream is Atcha, which is sort of like vanilla and topped with chopped pistachios (UH-MA-ZING!). We also sampled basically every flavor they have, but our most favorites were warde, which is this rose flavored one, and fraise, which they had in strawberry and apricot.
Cycle, cycle, cycle, and we again found ourselves at another sweets shop. We stopped at Bo & Mie to sample their signature lemon Madelines. We also grabbed some croissants with raspberry inside of them for later. But after this came the real treat….POUTINE!
Now for those of you who don’t know what poutine is, it’s basically fries, covered in gravy, topped with cheese curds. Now while I love all things concerning fried potatoes and gravy and cheese – I was initially turned off by this. I felt that fries were sacred and should not be messed with under any circumstances. That is, until I came across this Canadian delicacy during our time in Ontario a few years ago.
Poutine is basically all of God’s finest creations all in one bowl (with the exception of butter…wait, do they have an option that is topped with melted butter??) It even comes topped with meat of some sort. I’ve had it with bacon, brisket, even fried chicken. YUM!
Anyway, this place was called Maison de la Poutine and it was the most amazing meal I’ve had while we were in Paris (and we ate some good food). We were able to try three different kinds – plain with just cheese, bacon with maple syrup, and spicy beef (my fave). With having three different kinds to choose from we all just dug in with our forks and went to town.
The bacon with maple syrup was a strange combination, but it worked somehow. The gravy served as the perfect compliment to the spicy beef (which wasn’t really spicy) and was basically like a slow cooked roast on top of perfectly cooked french fries and melted cheese chunks. This created the perfect mouth feel and warm fuzzy feelings inside. I can’t say enough about the poutine, but we had so much more good food, so I’ll stop.
After the poutine we thought we were done. We biked through Le Passage des Panoramas (basically an alleyway with cafes, shops, and restaurants) and found our way to this eclectic pastry shop called Boulangerie Utopie. This shop specializes in making breads and pastries using activated charcoal. We sampled some of their charcoal baguette and gorged on different sweets. The boy and I ate a piece of the fluffiest cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life (and that’s saying a lot because Japan knows how to make fluffy stuff). The amazing part of the trip was eating the charcoal macaron stuffed with a cherry filling with black sesame cream. It was topped with black cherries and I can’t even describe how perfect this was.
With a sugar high secured and we’re back on the bikes headed to Le marché couvert des enfants rouges, which is the oldest food market in Paris. This place is a culinary haven for foodies. While shopping for your weekly groceries of fresh fish, smelly cheeses, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, you can pick up Japanese bento boxes, Lebanese sandwiches, gluten-free cookies, Moroccan tagine and more. Here, we sampled cheeses and fruits and picked up a few for later on.
We walked back to where our bikes were parked and headed to our final destination, Oplato. In the Bastille area of Paris, we tucked into this tiny bistro and shared a charcuterie with our new friends. A charcuterie plate is a platter of smoked and cured meats like prosciutto, ham, or sausages and cheeses. Add some olives, veggies, and some good French bread and you’re set.
It was explained to me that a charcuterie platter is shared among friends at the end of a work day with wine or at a someone’s home. It’s a way to be communal and gather around good food and drink. It was the perfect ending to this amazing day with Le No Diet Club.
If you’re ever in Paris, I recommend taking this tour. This was one of the few tours that we’ve taken where we were sad to leave. Claudia and Antony were amazing guides, they are passionate about food and it shows in every place they shared with us. Plus, they were awesome with the boy and engaged with him whenever they could.
What I really enjoyed was seeing Paris via cycling while visiting some eclectic and unique neighborhoods I would have missed walking around or by taking the metro.
If you’re interested, you can find more details about their tours on their website. They are opening a tour in London soon!
If you’re also interested in some food places as well, here are some places we went to outside of this tour and others that were shared with us that we weren’t able to fit in. I hope you enjoy Paris through your stomachs the way we did.
Le Ruisseau – Didn’t make it here but every review I’ve seen on this place says they serve the best burgers in Paris. Try them out and let us know what you think.
Big Fernand – Ordered from here through UberEats and it was amazing.
Glace Bachir – Lebanese ice cream. Try ALL the flavors. You can even get some for takeaway to eat later.
BO & MIE – Definitely get the madelines and the croissants filled with anything really.
Stohrer (oldest pastry shop) – Didn’t get to try this place, but Kaevin who was on the tour with us told me that it’s the oldest for a reason. Just know it’s a little pricey.
Scoop me a cookie – Insomnia Cookies has NOTHING on this place. Do you hear me?!?
Boulangerie Utopie – They have weekly charcoal specialty treats. This is definitely a must-try. The cheesecake is also amazing and they had this apple tart thingie that made me drool.
Maison de la poutine – POUTINE!!!!!!
Nick’s pizza – Dope pizza spot.
Patati Patata – Basically a huge potato with cheese and whatever else you can imagine to put on it.
Street Bangkok – Thai street food in Paris. Nuf said.
Frenchie to Go – This place has so much amazing food, I could spend a full day just eating everything. We only had breakfast here and tried to get back there for lunch and/or dinner. I’ve heard people rave about the pulled pork sandwich and the reuben. TRY THEM!
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