I used to say that I could never hack it as a vegetarian because I love hamburgers too much. I know this is true because a no-meat eating phase I dabbled with when I was a teen ended rather abruptly when my craving for a cheeseburger got the better of me; after 10 months of going without, I sunk my teeth into that grilled patty blanketed in ooey gooey cheddar perfection and I never looked back.

I’ve become a little bit less carnivorous as I’ve aged, and now I say that if I had to give up meat for some reason, I probably could. But I don’t think I could ever go vegan, for the simple reason that I’m not sure I could live in a world without cheese. From sharp Cheddars to pungent Stiltons and Roqueforts that look like forgotten science experiments to nutty Gruyeres and creamy Bries and Camemberts, I love them all. After 20-some-odd months in largely lactose-free Asia AND given that I tend to subscribe to the “the stinkier the better” school of thought when it comes to cheese, I eagerly looked forward to the party in my mouth that Paris would surely bring.

Of course, hard as it is to believe, there is plenty more to French food than bread and cheese. However—and I don’t think this is a news flash—Paris is rather expensive, especially when it comes to dining out. So, with our budget in mind, we didn’t sample the cuisine as widely as we otherwise might have and tended to self-cater most of our meals to keep costs reasonable. Thankfully, with bakeries on practically every corner (featuring the best bread in the world), and a mind-boggling assortment of cheeses, meats (including my beloved rillettes—essentially chopped meat (anything from rabbit to pork to goose) cooked slowly in its own fat, resulting in something that tastes way better than it sounds!) and—of course—wine on offer at impossibly low prices, defaulting to living room picnics (and outdoor ones when the weather cooperated) was not only an easy way to keep our food budget in check, but a delicious way to experience the simple flavors of France as well.

Camembert
I promise we didn’t eat this entire wheel of Camembert in one go!

Also, shopping for food as the French do is a cultural eye-opener. One of the most charming things about food shopping in France is how many specialty shops there are; although most North Americans are now used to simply heading to the one-stop grocery store, this is not the French way. One night when picking up ingredients for a simple dinner with our CouchSurfing hosts, we popped into no fewer than five shops (butcher, cheese shop, wine shop, vegetable/produce shop, bakery). And of course, these catch-all terms that we use in English are further sub-divided as well—different bakeries specialize in different things: visit the boulangerie if you want a baguette, but head to the patisserie if you’re looking for something sweet. The same goes for meat: in France, a boucherie can specialize in game, poultry, or even—the rumors are true—horse. At times it seems the specializations (and sub-specializations) are endless, and our hosts admitted that, given the French proclivity for buying groceries daily, they generally don’t have time to shop in the traditional way during the week and will instead pop by a chain grocery store. But if you ever want to begin to understand how the French think about and approach food differently than so much of the west, take the time to visit some of their specialty food shops. Like visiting the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, I’d say they are an experience not to be missed.

Typical Parisian Picnic
Can you guess how many stores we visited to create this spread?

There’s another reason to self-cater in Paris too: although the price tags on menus—and the long-standing belief that Paris is a foodie’s paradise—may convince you that you’re sitting down to a quality meal prepared with the utmost skill, there’s been a disturbing trend in recent years for restaurants to rely increasingly upon frozen and ready made foods. Sounds distinctly un-French, no? And yet, the problem has become so bad, that there have been talks of requiring restaurants to denote on their menus which items are fait maison (house made) versus plucked off the assembly line, so diners can make informed choices. For a budget traveler, it’s no small thing to pay €15 or €20 per person on a meal, and yet without extensive research beforehand, there’s no guarantee your meal wasn’t simply thawed in the microwave. Most blogs and reviews we read about trusted restaurants were, sadly, beyond our means—even when visiting for special fixed price lunch menus. I think part of our frustration with Paris came from the fact that one of the things we wanted to do most—eat!—often felt prohibitively expensive, and there were a few times when we felt maybe we would have enjoyed the city more if we had visited on a one-off vacation when we could have splurged without worry. Then again, after enjoying so many meals that cost less than €4 for the both of us, even modestly priced meals had elevated expectations pinned upon them and, to be perfectly honest, nothing seemed less appetizing than 5 star meals with price tags to match. In the spirit of being 100% honest with you, when I think back on the food we ate in Paris, the ones we had at home are the ones I enjoyed best. One thing I’ve certainly taken away from our travels is that food doesn’t have to be fussy or fancy in order to be tasty.

Take, for instance, the meals that our CouchSurfing host Marianne made for us. Our first night with her & Nico, she whipped up a Hachis Parmentier—essentially the French name for a Shepherd’s Pie. Served with a simple side salad of cucumbers, an artisanal baguette, and—of course—a healthy cheese plate to round things out, it was comfort food at its finest.

The following night, she made us a classic seafood dish from Lyon called Quenelles de Brochet, which features a creamy fish mousse that is poached in a rich tomato sauce that tastes a bit like lobster bisque. Hearing that Tony had been going through rice withdrawal since leaving Asia, she served it over top mounds of white rice (all the better to sop up the incredible sauce). This is a dish that the host family I lived with in France for a few months during a language exchange back when I was 15 would make quite regularly, and although I had completely forgotten it existed, one taste of it brought long lost memories flooding back. For me, that is the power of food—it nurtures so much more than our bellies and its power isn’t restricted to expensive restaurants and haute cuisine. I know that the next time I have this dish, I’ll have two treasured sets of memories to savor alongside it.

Quenelles de Brochet

Then there was the incredible mushroom quiche and salade verte that Sara made for us for dinner one day. She shrugged it off as nothing special, but when you’ve got eggs, cheese and fresh veggies, what more do you need? Also, I don’t know what it is about France, but it’s home to the best produce. Everything from their leafy greens to their radishes to their mushrooms are just a thousand times more flavorful than the veggies back home, which is just part of why I find it so challenging to recreate these simple meals in my own non-French kitchen.

Sara's Mushroom Quiche

Obviously, we did eat a few meals out in Paris, as there were certain French staples that we simply had to try and couldn’t easily attempt at home. Our first day wandering around the trendy Boulevard Saint-Germain, we had lunch at an adorable little bistro, Au Pied de Fouet. The owner was welcoming and happy to have me practice my French, and the food was an excellent introduction to Paris. Tony had steak, while I decided that when in France one must try the weird stuff and went for the sautéed chicken livers. Both were cooked with an exhilarating amount of butter, and came with silky smooth mashed potatoes (also seasoned with a generous amount of butter). Tony was a bit disappointed with the cut of his steak—a flank cut—as it was a tiny bit tough, but I loved my chicken livers, which were expertly cooked and not the least bit gritty or dry. To finish things up, we split a portion of bread pudding with crème anglaise, which was just the right amount of sweet.

Deciding to give Paris another chance to wow us on the red meat front, we stopped at a bustling restaurant up in Montmartre the following day. We hadn’t researched it in advance, but the large number of locals dining there made us hopeful (and it had a reasonable lunch special: 2 courses for €11,90). Everyone seemed to be ordering the steak frites, so we followed suit, while I went with the melon with prosciutto starter and Tony got strawberries macerated with lemon, sugar and mint for dessert. My appetizer was amazing—the melon was perfectly sweet and juicy and paired beautifully with the salty ham. Our mains were a bit more hit and miss: the fries were cooked well, but—to my surprise—our steaks were not! Knowing that the French tend to feel that anything above medium-rare is overcooked (and feeling similarly), I was shocked that although I had ordered both of our steaks saignant (rare), only one came that way—the other was decidedly medium, which was such a disappointment and we decided to give up on pursuing the perfect steak frites after this. Given how iconic this dish is, I’m sad to report that we just weren’t very impressed with the steak we had in Paris; we certainly felt that for the same price, we had enjoyed better versions of this dish (and better quality steak period) back in the States.

Our last bistro lunch was after a morning of intensive museum visits, which worked up our appetites. I ordered a slice of quiche Lorraine and Tony ordered a ham & egg baguette sandwich. Nothing fancy, but both tasted great! Like I said: when you’ve got ham & eggs, it’s hard to go wrong.

Quiche Lorraine—Paris
Baguette Sandwich

To round out that meal, we went and got a scoop of raspberry ice cream at what is argued by locals to be one of the best ice cream shops in Paris, Glaciers Berthillon. Smooth and sweet, this was a great precursor to our gelato crawls in Italy that would come in the weeks to follow.

Steph with Raspberry Ice Cream in Paris

Not satisfied with just one dessert, we then went and tried a selection of macarons from Pierre Hermé, one of France’s top pastry chefs. Exactly who makes the best version of these meringue biscuits in Paris is a topic of great debate, but we were told that it generally comes down to Pierre Hermé or Ladurée. According to our CouchSurfing hosts, Pierre Hermé is known for more avant garde flavor combinations with a fluffier filling, whereas Ladurée has more traditional offerings and silkier ganache. I would have loved to do a fullscale macaron battle (akin to this one), but we only had time, space and budget for Pierre Hermé on this trip. Consequently, I obviously can’t say definitively that these are the best macarons in Paris, but I can say that I’d find it hard to see how they could be topped! (Plus, as an added bonus, we each got a free chocolate truffle with gold shavings with our purchase!)

We tried four different flavors: butter chocolate, chocolate passionfruit, pistachio raspberry, and salted caramel. All were excellent and for the first time, I finally appreciated the textural interplay between crisp, chewy, soft, and smooth that makes eating macarons such a delight. The unusual flavor combinations were our top favorites of the bunch: I loved the bright crisp flavors of the pistachio & raspberry macaron, whereas Tony really liked the tangy zip of the passionfruit against the chocolate. At €2 (~$2.50US) per macaron, these are pricy little mouthfuls, but we were happy to splurge and sate our sweet teeth. Next time we’re in France, I’ll certainly try Ladurée, but I’d say that Pierre Hermé is the macaron master to beat!

If I have any regrets about our time eating in Paris, it’s that we didn’t eat more pastries. I’m not sure why we didn’t make more room for them (probably all that cheese we were eating…), but although I love almond croissants, I only had one during our time there (and I ate it too quickly to take a picture of it, clearly). We had pain au chocolat a little more frequently but not as much as we should have—averaging about €1,50, these were our preferred breakfast options as they were great to munch on the go.

Pain au Chocolat—Paris

We didn’t have much interest in eating ethnically while in Paris, but the one exception we had to make was for the famous falafel down in the Marais. There are actually a bunch of little falafel joints down in that area, but you’ll know when you find the right one—L’As du Fallafel—as it’s the only one that has a line. I remember eating here nearly 10 years ago during my last trip to Paris, and these babies (about the size of a bowling ball) are still the same. Filled with pickled cabbage, crispy falafel, nutty tahini and creamy eggplant, we could have easily split one of these (if we hadn’t been such pigs). But at €6 a pop, we didn’t feel too guilty about being greedy as they’re one of the cheapest meals you can have in Paris and haven’t gone up much in price in the past decade, which is really remarkable. There is limited space to eat inside the restaurant, but we took ours to go and ate in a nearby park (they’re super messy, so you won’t want to try eating them on the go, unless you want to get them all over yourself).

Tony @ L'As du Fallafel
Best Falafel in Paris

For one of our final meals in Paris, Sara took us into the lesser visited 11th arrondissement for crêpes. Because we couldn’t leave Paris without having crêpes! The place she took us to, West Country Girl, specializes in a Normandy-style buckwheat crêpes of both the salty & sweet variety. At lunch, they offer a pretty fantastic special where you get one salty crêpe, one sweet crêpe and a glass of cider for just €10,50. The three of us were sharing a hive mind as we all ordered the exact same thing: a ham, cheese and egg crêpe to start and then the salted caramel crêpe to finish. Crêpes on their own don’t look very substantial, but with such decadent fillings, by the end we were completely stuffed (and maybe a tiny bit buzzed from the cider). Definitely a solid way to end a week of generally very good eating.

Overall, we ate some very good things in Paris, but we also had a few unexpected duds. Most of our favorite meals were not found in the pages of any guidebook, but were had in the homes of our friends or on the banks of the Seine or on a grassy lawn surrounded by friends and featuring way too much cheese. Put that way, it’s hard to see how our other meals—Michelin-starred or not—could compete with that.

Steph, Sara, Michael and Joe
Steph, Sara, Michael and Joe

Now it’s your turn: If you’ve been to Paris, did it live up to your culinary expectations? (If so, be sure to tell us what your favorite meal there was!) If you haven’t been to Paris, what would you be most excited to try?

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I’m turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I’m going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I’m most looking forward to is whichever one we’re in right now!

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Read comments (40)

  1. November 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    ok, I am now drooling!!!! I, too, have found steak frites less than stellar and adore the same type of simple, almost street food, you did with falafel, crepes, etc. Thanks for the mouthwatering virtual tour!
    Rhonda recently posted..The Scenic Route ~ Highway 395 Southward bound

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:33 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      I guess the lesson here is that no matter where you are in the world, street food is always the best! I’m still bummed about the lackluster steak frites, though…

  2. November 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    My best meals in Paris were also picnic foods – bread, cheese and pastries. When I went to Paris the first time in 2005 I had the best Carbonara of my life with a raw egg cracked on top of it, not exactly French but delicious. Moules Mariniere with frites is always a winner with me too 🙂

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:35 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      The delights of a Parisian picnic definitely cannot be overstated. It’s affordable, delicious, and there’s no better way to enjoy the city!

      Love the sound of that carbonara! And I had moules frites in Paris when I was a teen and it was awesome. We had a pretty good batch while in Vientiane, Laos that sated our craving (at a fraction of the price), but the next time we’re in France, we’ll certainly have to have some (and skip the steak!).

  3. November 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    I am actually not a huge cheese fan, but I could totally get down with those picnics!!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..{GIVEAWAY} The Dayplanner to End All Dayplanners

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:37 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      Not a cheese fan? I do not understand those words in combination… 😉 Even skipping the cheese (like a crazy person) there are plenty of delicious French foods to take along on picnics to keep you occupied. I’ve tried to put together my own mini French picnics here in Toronto, but they’re WAY more expensive and not nearly as tasty.

  4. November 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    I would be so fat if I lived in Paris… I really shouldn’t have read this before going to the market!!!
    Tim | UrbanDuniya recently posted..A tasteful pause for Japanese in Chennai: Teppan

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:39 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      But how is that the locals are so teeny tiny when they have all this amazing food around them? That is what I want to know, and I have not figured it out despite years of wondering!

  5. November 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    Hmmmm. I’m torn here. Living in Asia, my average-cost-per-meal barometer was been calibrated WAY down. Last night I “splurged” on seafood fried rice and a pork and shrimp lotus stem salad for $5. European prices are definitely a shock to the system. That said… CHEESE.

    Your CouchSurfing hosts seem AWESOME. I’m going to contact them right now to make nice… just in case. I’m totally “meh” about macarons. They’re simple and not all that hard to make. I just don’t get the allure of them. What is wrong with me?
    James recently posted..Nothing Hidden, Everything Sacred

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:44 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      It wasn’t so much the prices that bothered us in Paris, especially when we stuck to grocery stores and smaller eats, probably because we expected the inflation and had come from England. The real thing that bummed us out that in general we were paying a lot more for food, and it seemed less tasty than what we would get for a fraction of the price in Asia. I think all that time over there really changed our taste buds!

      And our CS hosts were INCREDIBLE. Wonderful people who really made our trip in Paris 100% better than if we had been there on our own.

      I’m not a baker so macarons seem like fiddly little time bombs doomed to failure. Maybe you need to have a PH macaron to understand their genius? I didn’t get why there were so amazing before trying one of his either.

  6. November 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm
    Nov. 10, '14

    After reading your description of all the different cheeses in Paris I am seriously about to cry. After spending the better part of the last year in Southeast Asia, I am missing cheese so much. Like you, I’m a HUGE cheese lover. And it is so crazy how little dairy I eat when I’m in Asia. The only cheese i can afford in Jakarta is crappy mozzarella that costs $5 for a small package. I haven’t tasted brie, or even cheddar, in over three months! After reading this post I now picture Paris as a wonderland of cheese. It’s a beautiful image 🙂
    Justine recently posted..A Frugalista’s Guide to Kuta, Bali

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:47 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      Paris really is a wonderland of cheese—it’s not just your imagination playing tricks on you!

      You know you’ve been in Asia for too long when you fall gratefully upon the triangles of Laughing Cow “cheese” and think that they are an appropriate substitute for the cheese you remember from back home. I remember being so excited to see it in Vietnam, when normally I wouldn’t go near the stuff! Such is the lure of CHEESE!

  7. November 11, 2014 at 4:14 am
    Nov. 11, '14

    We live on street food and food purchased at the shops when we’re in Paris. (We eat out when we’re in the countryside. Cheaper and better.) So thanks again for the reminder of what’s good. As far as I’m concerned, the real number one reason to come to France is the cheese. The wine ain’t bad either.
    Tom recently posted..The Two Best Reasons to Go to London

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:48 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      I think you have a sound strategy for Paris, Tom. Maybe if we had doubled or tripled our food budget we would have been more impressed with the food served in restaurants in Paris, but for the most part we didn’t think it was world-changing or all that special. It was hard to get excited about eating out when we were just as happy to spend a fraction of the price at the supermarket on wine & cheese!

  8. November 11, 2014 at 4:55 am
    Nov. 11, '14

    I don’t think I could live in a world without cheese either! I love the look of those crepes and the mushroom quiche. It sounds like you ate well without blowing your budget – indoor picnics are the way to go 🙂
    Amy recently posted..Standing Still and Relishing Routine

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:51 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      I’ll be crunching our Paris numbers in my next post, but I think we at pretty well for a reasonable amount of money given how expensive the city is. Having an apartment and staying with friends certainly helped, especially since our self-catered meals were generally our favorites!

  9. November 11, 2014 at 5:00 am
    Nov. 11, '14

    Hands down the best meal we had in Paris was when we went and visited family friends. They made us a ‘modest meal’ (that was sarcastic…) which started with champagne, proscuitto + melon, olives, cherry tomatoes, then went onto ratatouille, the BEST garden salad ever, and ended with a cheese plate followed by a fresh berry crumble (and all with wine of course). I’m seriously considering just becoming Julia Child, moving to France and learning to cook (and thereby regularly eating) comme les francais.
    Emily recently posted..Udaipur, Need I Say More?

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:52 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      That meal sounds incredible! I’d love to try ratatouille in France—I like to think I make a really fantastic version of it, so I’d like to know how I stack up! 😉

  10. November 11, 2014 at 6:13 am
    Nov. 11, '14

    This post came at a great time as we’re heading to Paris at the beginning of next year and, having not been there since I was 18, I’m on the lookout for some food recommendations! Now that we’re vegetarian, the steak frites are off the cards, but I’ll definitely remember the crepes and falafel.
    Julia recently posted..Muiderslot Castle: A Day Trip From Amsterdam

    • November 11, 2014 at 7:53 am
      Nov. 11, '14

      Well, the steak frites were actually pretty disappointing, so I don’t think you’ll be missing out by skipping those while in Paris. Be sure to enjoy some macarons as well!

  11. November 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm
    Nov. 11, '14

    I love Sara’s quiche! It looks like you took full advantage of what Paris has to offer! Great photographs, too.

    My favorite meal in Paris recently was something that I’m calling duck apple pie- it was literally duck breast baked on top of a small apple pie. The saltiness and the sweetness worked so well together!

    • November 12, 2014 at 7:03 am
      Nov. 12, '14

      The quiche was so good! I would Sara has become a regular Julia Child during her time in Paris—she’s certainly mastering the art of French cooking! 🙂

      That duck dish sounds incredible! I would absolutely have ordered that—duck and apple sounds like a fabulous combination!

  12. November 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm
    Nov. 11, '14

    Hi Steph, you just made Keith and I drool big time. We love Paris for so many reasons, but mostly for food. There’s nothing like enjoying the dishes homecooked by locals and you’re Coachsurfing hosts surely whipped up some wonderful dishes for you. We really admire their specialty food shop lifestyle as opposed to one stop shop. We enjoyed big starred restaurants in Paris but our most memorable meal was a quaint courtyard restaurant we stumbled upon in a quite alley in Butte de Montmartre. We didn’t even get the the name. Every bite of food and sip of wine was superb. We were the first ones there and the last to leave. They didn’t rush us the way they would do here in US. We liked that they let enjoy our delicious and romantic moment to the fullest.

    • November 12, 2014 at 7:18 am
      Nov. 12, '14

      I am glad to hear that you have such positive food memories of Paris, and I completely agree with you that service in Paris is actually really lovely. Even when we were eating at really busy restaurants with just one waiter and slammed with diners, I was impressed with how respectful and generally on the ball our waitstaff always was. The only thing I wish they did a bit better was refill the bottles of tap water when I requested them—often we could get one “carafe d’eau” but all refill requests would be ignored (& we were so thirsty!).

  13. November 16, 2014 at 5:42 am
    Nov. 16, '14

    You know I didn’t eat cheese, bread, OR butter before moving to Paris — two years later I am practically falling over myself any time I see good cheese or bread (butter’s not as hard to find) anywhere outside Europe!!

    And oh how I miss French food shopping — from fromagerie to boucherie to boulangerie, all in a daily picnic run…

    As for steak, sorry to hear about your misadventures :/ If you ever head back definitely go for L’Entrecote, cannot lose — and if you’re reallllly looking to splurge, Le Severo. Best damn steak I’ve seen (and tasted); that saignant red is gorgeous!

    I still have yet to go to West Country Girl! I tried to go once when my sister was in town, traipsed all over trying to find it, only to find it shut down for the August vacances. Never attempted it again…but next time I’m back, definitely on the list.

    All in all, you make me miss Paris and the food but most of all dining along the Seine…that’s all I ever did my last few months there and really there’s nothing better.
    Edna recently posted..Life on the Move: October

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      You know, we looked into going to L’Entrecote but Yelp suggested that it was kind of overpriced and that you could get better steak frites back in the States. I fully accept that Yelp might have led us astray on that front, however… Also, I’d love to splurge at Le Severo some day, but yeah… way too rich for our blood this time around.

      Bottom line: Seine-side picnics, FTW! I really think it would be hard for any restaurant to compete with them… such great ambiance, such great grub, such great company! They’re the triple threat, and so Parisian!

      • May 7, 2015 at 3:33 am
        May. 7, '15

        Yeah my general rule of thumb is to never trust American tourists writing about French food. Not on foursquare, not on yelp — they just don’t know what they’re talking about, frankly. I’ve never had steak in the US better than that in France!
        Edna recently posted..Life in Shanghai: April 2015

  14. November 18, 2014 at 4:31 am
    Nov. 18, '14

    I’m so honored that my humble quiche made your Paris food post! And wow, I’ve never heard of Quenelles de Broche, but that dish looks amazing! I want to hang out with your hosts to learn how to make it!

    It is true that eating in Paris is expensive, which is part of the reason I cook a lot at home. Whenever I go to a country that is less expensive (like Poland!) and then return to Paris, I feel a little sticker shock at what it costs to eat out. It’s too bad that it rained so much when you were here – we could have snuck in another picnic or two. Definitely one of my favorite things to do in the summer in Paris, and one of the best dining experiences! I agree with you – picnics are definitely the “triple threat!”

    • November 23, 2014 at 9:50 am
      Nov. 23, '14

      I wish we could have had more picnic time while we were in Paris—those were by far my favorite meals in the city! And we really did love your quiche: I’ve been having a craving for good quiche ever since we left Paris but, foolishly, haven’t done anything about it! I think I’m worried any of my attempts simply won’t match up to the excellent ones we had in Paris…

      (P.S. You can find recipes for Quenelles de Brochet online, though I think they’re all in French (not that this will be a problem for you!). You should definitely try them before you leave Paris!)

  15. November 23, 2014 at 2:48 am
    Nov. 23, '14

    Those quiches!!

    I visited Paris as a teenager and was horrified by all the “strange” foods. I can’t wait to return as an adult and eat all the things. I’ve been reading “Mastering the Art of French Eating,” which has wonderful descriptions of classic French dishes along with some restaurant recommendations. But it’s good to know (and also sad to hear) about the trend of frozen food. We’ll definitely have to do our research beforehand. Paris will be a one-off vacation for us so we plan to splurge a little! I’ll just try not to let my expectations get to high – that’s always asking for trouble.

    And there would be absolutely no shame in eating that wheel of Camembert in one go – we’ve done it on multiple occasions. Thanks to being part of the EU, French (and Spanish and Italian and Dutch…) cheese is ridiculously cheap in Latvia!
    Heather recently posted..The Best Meals We Ate in Prague

    • November 23, 2014 at 10:09 am
      Nov. 23, '14

      I think taking a shorter trip to Paris but with a higher budget is definitely the way to go! I wish we could have been able to stomach the bills at some of the pricier restaurants but it just wasn’t meant to be this time and I do think our experiences eating out suffered as a result. I definitely recommend researching places in advance since not all bistros are created equal and you can’t simply use price as an indicator of quality in Paris. I can’t wait to see what you wind up discovering on your return visit!

  16. November 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm
    Nov. 23, '14

    Wow! I love it especially the pies and meals that were home-made LOL! I especially like the crunchy bread and cheese. Sometimes that’s all you need. We went to Tuscany in Italy two years ago, and stayed at a farmyard villa for a few days. On most days we just plucked the herbs and tomatoes from the garden and bought slabs of meat and cheese from local places within the castle walls, whilst we ate in the Italian sunlight and watched bits and pieces of the Olympic Games, near the open swimming pool, under olive trees!

    I’ve been to Paris a few times and the food was always up to par. Perhaps I was lucky although the waiters can be snooty, but that’s alright, as I can give them a run for their money!

    I remember going to a famous little bistro with a 30 minute queue. I can’t remember where it was but after the initial hiccup with the waiter. It was so worth the wait as there were very few tourists and everyone just spoke French! They came up trumps though as they pitied us once they knew I was British, warmed up a little, and recommended stuff that wasn’t on the menu. I was delighted.

    What did I eat? I haven’t a clue!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..You’re not British if you haven’t walked down Abbey Road, Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields, with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

    • November 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm
      Nov. 24, '14

      Once again, I am envious of your Paris success! Clearly the next time we head to the City of Lights, we need to have you in tow. 😀 I would have loved to have some of your top-notch off-the-menu bistro experiences, but by far the best meals we had in Paris were the ones we had with friends. Of course, I really can’t complain about that since good company trumps good food any day of the week (even for us foodies!).

  17. November 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm
    Nov. 26, '14

    As a French reader, I really enjoyed discovering your perspective on all our delicacies and our shops.
    So much fun to get an external eye on things you are used to.
    Claire @ ZigZag On Earth recently posted..How to Chase and Photograph Aurora Borealis in Iceland

    • November 27, 2014 at 8:44 am
      Nov. 27, '14

      So glad you enjoyed our perspective, Claire! We’re by no means experts into the art of French food, but we sure enjoyed our week trying to get up to speed! 😀

  18. November 29, 2014 at 4:24 am
    Nov. 29, '14

    I like that there’s lots of falafel! To be honest Paris doesn’t really grab me as a must-do destination because it has such an image of being a place filled with cheeses, creamy desserts and specialty meats. But it’s nice to know there would be at least one option if I went there, lol.
    Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted..I Don’t Think I Want To Be A Travel Blogger Anymore

    • December 1, 2014 at 8:24 am
      Dec. 1, '14

      Yeah, France in general is not the most veg friendly of places and I would imagine being vegan is even worse! That said, we did self cater a LOT in Paris, so if you have dietary restrictions, that is always an option. And I’m sure there are more veggie friendly options than we reported here, we just didn’t make a point of specifically seeking them out.

      Still, if you’re heading to Europe and want vegan-friendly fare, cities like London and Berlin are going to be much easier than Paris!

  19. November 30, 2014 at 9:30 am
    Nov. 30, '14

    So much good food porn here, oh my god. I found almost everything I ate while in Paris to be fabulous – even the cheap crepes I had from a street vendor. I LOVE Macarons – I recently had some from Laudree in Bangkok and yum! They’re such great little treats and I find their price a blessing because I can’t afford to over-indulge on them.
    Izy Berry recently posted..Slowing Down & Finding a Home

    • December 1, 2014 at 8:33 am
      Dec. 1, '14

      I didn’t know there was a Ladurée shop in Bangkok! I have a feeling we’ll make it back to Thailand before we make it back to Paris, so perhaps our Macaron Smackdown will continue there. 🙂

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