After spending a couple of days in the French countryside, we gathered our courage and drove back into Paris to drop our hire car at Gare du Nord - we were most thrilled to discover that most streets around the station had been closed for a festival, causing us to circle and back-track several times before we could actually return the car. I think we spent 2 hours within a 200m radius of the station before finally being able to drive into the car park. It was therefore with great relief that we finally left the car and headed into Paris, where we checked into our lovely hotel in Marais, Saint Merry (a former monastery and part of the neighbouring church) - our hotel was in a little street of outdoor cafes and it was into one of them we quickly installed ourselves for a late lunch of foie gras and nicoise salad. The late afternoon and early evening were spent walking along the river in the beautiful sunshine and through the lovely grounds around the Louvre, where we stopped for a refreshing carafe of Rose.
The following day we had 4 hours to discover foodie Paris before heading home to London. Y had done some research and we'd found a selection of places we were keen to check out. We discovered a great area (highlighted pink on my map) which was overflowing with cafes, gourmet food shops and kitchen shops.
We loved Rue Montorgueil, a charming street littered with cafes (including Au Rocher De Cancale where we had our morning espresso), Italian style delis, bakeries, patisseries (Stohrer looks great) and some meat and fish shops.
At the southern end of Rue Montorgueil is a little side street (which links to Rue de Montmartre) with a very kitsch home wares and knick knacks store called Pylones where we bought this fabulous (in our eyes at least) sugar bowl! Also in this street is a small foodie shop called Detou selling dried mushrooms, Kusmi tea and different oils.
The area where Rue de Montmartre intersects with Rue Etienne Marcel, as well as side streets Rue J.J. Roussea and Rue du Jour has some great kitchen and catering supplies shops - from huge copper pots of every size, large balloon whisks and specialist kitchen equipment, to cute little toothpicks, Chinese cardboard take-out boxes and patty cake papers. Even if you're not looking to buy, a stroll through at least a couple of these shops is fantastic fun (if you are inclined towards food porn and its associated paraphernalia). The ones we checked out were: La Bovida - 3 levels of kitchen and catering heaven (in particular a gorgeous apple green Kitchen Aid!);
Dehillerin - a more warehouse feel and therefore infinitely more hard core!; Mora - a smaller shop cluttered with all sorts of goodies!
As you may by now be aware, Y & I inhale foie gras as though it were oxygen, and we had read about Foie Gras de Luxe (English translation: HEAVEN [albeit a heaven of the you-will-first-die-of-a-heart-attack-to-get-here variety]) on Rue de Montmartre. We checked out (being careful not to slip on our own drool on the way in) & loved this shop, however we fell head over heels (again the drool problem) for its close neighbour, Comptoir de le Gastronomie (also on Rue de Montmartre and next door to La Bovida). This is a gorgeous shop filled with foie gras, oils and meats. We browsed the store at about 11am and resolved to return later in the day to enjoy lunch at one of the pavement tables. We returned at 12.30pm to find several people had beaten us to it - there is however a small indoor seating area, which is just as lovely, especially if you're sitting at the window (like we were) and so can not only people watch, but ogle the food being eaten at the pavement tables.
Y had a delicious carpaccio of beef (which seemed ubiquitous on our travels, despite its Italian roots) but conceded her food envy for my delicious La Gourmande Salade - comprising a ridiculously scrumptious slice of foie gras of duck, smoked duck leg (and other yummy parts of a clearly very generous duck), a boiled egg (also from the duck?), on a pile of lettuce and tomato. Coupled with a glass of crisp white wine, this was the perfect way to end a lovely weekend (for which Y must take all the credit and me, none - that obviously includes credit of the Visa variety too ...)