What I ate in Paris

Things to eat in Paris

On top of my How I spent 5 days in Paris post, I thought I’d write a separate one on the hearty meals in cosy cafés I discovered when I was there.  A sort of ‘what to eat in Paris’, if you will and we know the French are well-known for being passionate about food, so why not write a food diary?

The French are known for many culinary delights, such as; beef bourguignon, the best fromages as well as idyllic baguettes from dreamy boulangeries.  Even the best desserts and naughty snacks herald from here – hello macarons!

So here’s a few things to eat in Paris that I particularly enjoyed.  (Don’t read if you’re hungry.)

Ravioli at Le Rouge Limé

Ravioli in Le Rouge Lime, Paris

Our AirBnb was conveniently close to metro stop Charonne.  And, as it turned out, close to some TripAdvisor tipped restaurants too.  Scanning the website for places to eat around us Le Rouge Limé was particularly loved and had received many good reviews.

So after arriving in Paris and eating a mediocre meal earlier in the day, we settled in amongst its cosy bar/restaurant setting, ordered a bottle of wine and its Ravioli (vegetarian) dish.  (Perhaps not the first dish you think of when looking for the best things to eat in Paris.)  But, the wine and food went down wonderfully and I actually regret not eating here again during my trip.  (So if you’re in this area, pop in for a meal.)

Croque monsieur at Café Le Nazir

What to eat in Paris Croque Monsieur

When you’ve been to Paris before as I have, then you’ll know that you’ll be doing a lot of walking.  So after getting up early, climbing to the top of the Sacré-Cœur and wandering around a bustling Montmartre; my tummy began to rumble.

We stopped off at a corner cafe (Le Nazir), which looked quintessentially French (dark red decor, with aloof waiters) and I knew before looking at the menu that I’d be asking for a croque monsieur.  I always have a croque monsieur when I’m in France, which isn’t the healthiest snack (it’s basically a fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich), so I reserve it for when I’m at my most hungriest!

Side note: there’s also a croque madame, which is the same but topped with a fried egg.

Macarons from anywhere

What to eat in Paris (macarons)

Before heading to Jardin du Luxembourg we picked up some macarons from somewhere in Montmartre.  I’m sure there’ll be some Paris experts that’ll tell you to go to prestigious macaron makers, but I’m really not that fussy when it comes to this meringue-based treat!

So apologies I can’t remember the exact name and place where I bought these macarons.  But I can tell you I went for the following flavours: strawberry, pistachio and champagne.  Délicieux!

Axoa of veal fried potatoes at Le Petit Baïona

Meat at Le Petit Baïona

Another restaurant close to our accommodation, although this time recommended by our Airbnb host, was Le Petit Baïona.  I was quite intrigued, given that it served traditional Basque dishes, a part of France that may seem world’s away from Paris in the deep south.

Although embarassingly this is where my memory escapes me.  I’m sure this was a tender pork meat, served with sautéed potatoes, but I can’t find this in the online menu.  So I’ve labelled this the closest meal to it, (I really should start keeping travel notes…).

Different regions of France are known for different culinary expertise, so although this was a bit meat heavy I was glad to try a different taste from the country.

Tarte Fine de Saison at Publicis Drugstore

Tarte Fine de Saison

It’s so easy to get pulled into French bakeries from just window shopping. This tarte fine de saison is a prime example.  I’d only nipped through Publicis Drugstore to get to an ATM, but these caught my eye.  I picked one up on my way back and munched on it in the queue to the Arc de Triomphe.

Its pastry crumbled away as only French pastry does. But sadly for me there was too many onions in the middle.  Other than that, I have no regrets – always buy something that takes your fancy, you’ll never know you might try your next favourite thing!

Have you tried any culinary delights when visiting Paris?  Let me know in the comments below because I don’t want to miss out on the good stuff!

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How I Spent 5 Days in Paris

How to spend 5 days in Paris

For a city where its grand boulevards look like they’re straight from all the movies, its café culture is magnetising, to even its rooftops applying to be UNESCO World Heritage recognised; it can be hard to decide how to spend 5 days in Paris.

Lucky for me then as I was preparing for my third visit in the city of love at the end of last month, I thought organisation is key.  I knew what to expect, yet I also knew what I had missed in previous visits too.

Whilst this isn’t exactly a guide on the top things to see in Paris you must see – after all, I’m no Parisienne expert – this is more a personal account to inspire any future trip to the French capital.  Which, if the spirit of Paris could speak, then it would tell you too to avoid planning it, discard any Paris itineraries and discover your own secret corners of a city that’ll stay with you for a lifetime.

Day 1

Père Lachaise Cemetary in Paris
Père Lachaise Cemetery… peaceful and beautiful
  • Arrival in Paris
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery

Being from the UK, I may be flying in, catching a train, boarding a coach or even driving into Paris – so I can choose to arrive at any time of the day; early or late.

Whatever time you arrive, don’t overdo it on your first day in Paris. Pick a sight that’s a walkable distance from your hotel, hostel or AirBnb.  For me, that was Père Lachaise Cemetery – an unusual suggestion for those who haven’t been initiated, but probably the most beautiful cemetery I’ve ever wandered within.  (Even in death, Parisienne’s do it in style.)

The final address of famous artists who’ve ever claimed Paris as their home rest here, such as; Edith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.  After I dipped my toes in some exploring, I ended my day at a café for dinner with a glass of French wine.

“Even the pigeons are dancing, kissing,
going in circles, mounting each other.
Paris is the city of love,
even for the birds.”

― Samantha Schutz, I Don’t Want To Be Crazy

Day 2

How to spend 5 days in Paris
Montmartre is a dream…
  • Montmartre
  • Sacré-Cœur
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Galeries Lafayette

Whether you have one day in Paris, or two weeks; missing out on Montmartre would be like missing out on the artistic heart of Paris.  Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso all lived here, so this should set the scene.  Located on the highest hill in Paris, the Sacré-Cœur also sits here and looks over Paris with incredible views.

After walking this quarter’s charming streets, I headed south of the River Seine to stroll around Jardin du Luxembourg.  Dedicated to the children of Paris by Napoléon, these lush gardens make a good spot for a picnic lunch.  (Or just nibbling on some macarons!)

Jardin du Luxembourg Paris
Picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg…

A hidden gem I hadn’t discovered in my previous visits was the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette.  The luxurious department store provides a free view and is a sight to see itself.  (Even though I couldn’t afford any of the designer names within it…)  A stained-glass dome is at the centre of the building and on the clear day when I visited, I snapped some beautiful sunsets of the Paris skyline (Eiffel Tower included) on the top floor; the rooftop.

“… you’ll have to fall in love at least once in your life, or Paris has failed to rub off on you.”

― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Day 3

Hall of Mirrors Palace of Versailles
Every corner is a wonder in the Palace of Versailles…
  • The Palace of Versailles

The trip from Paris to Versailles (outside of the city) isn’t that long itself.  But the estate is so vast it requires a day, at least, to explore.  I’d missed out on Versailles too in my previous visits and so the former home of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette was a must do for me this time.

It really took my breath away; the palace, Hall of Mirrors and gardens as far as the eye can see.  I didn’t manage to see it all in the 8 hours I had. So if I were to go again, I’d consider hiring a four-person electric car (like golf carts), get around by the shuttle train or rent a bike.

“Paris is a hard place to leave, even when it rains incessantly and one coughs continually from the dampness.”

― Willa Cather

How to spend 5 days in Paris

Day 4

  • Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris isn’t a necessity when you don’t have kids, but considering it’s the only Disney park in Europe I’d have to travel a long way to find another one.

Sadly, I never experienced the *real* magic by visiting when I was young (a lot younger), but I had a blast on my first visit when I was 16.  This time round I particularly noticed how child-focused it really is (which of course it should be).  Or I could just be getting older…  For anyone who loves Disney though, it’s easily accessible from the city of Paris for a day out.

“Paris isn’t a city, it’s a world.”

― Lepota L. Cosmo, Love in Paris – Poetic Guide to the Romance of the City

Day 5

Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Perhaps the most well-known roundabout in Paris.
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs-Élysées
  • Eiffel Tower

The famous Arc de Triomphe probably comes second on everyone’s Paris to do list (after the Eiffel Tower, bien sûr.)  Surprisingly, I’d only glimpsed it from the street previously, but even more surprisingly, when arriving at the back of the queue to climb its 284 steps to the top there wasn’t a long wait.  (Most main attractions in Paris have some of the longest queues I’ve seen!)

Now a roundabout, with 12 exits, you can point out a number of other monuments from the sweeping views above it.  (Never try to cross the road, there are underground subways.) I was lucky enough to see Sacré-Cœur all the way in Montmartre!

View from the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

One of these 12 exits is probably the most famous street in Paris; Avenue de Champs-Élysées. (Beauty lovers: stop off here for Sephora!)  Luckily it’s only 2km long too, so you can stroll past all the designer names that line Paris’s most expensive avenue and reach Place de la Concorde.  If you keep going, through Jardin de la Nouvelle France you’ll reach the Louvre, too.

This time instead of getting lost in the artworks at the Louvre (I have done this before and it’s worth a visit), I indulged in a bit of retail therapy before setting sights on true icon of Paris.

How to spend 5 days in Paris

Queues spiral out of control at the Eiffel Tower, but don’t let this put you off.  (Learn from my mistakes; book in advance!)  The harder decision is to choose which time to venture to the top; during the day or by night.

Paris was more ‘Paris when it drizzles’, rather than ‘Paris when it sizzles’ on my first visit.  Meaning the view from the Eiffel Tower, by day, was almost non-existent.  By night, it quite literally sparkles, every hour on the hour.  Luckily, I went for the latter this time.

How to spend 5 days in Paris

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The next day, sadly I was on the train home.  Have you been to Paris?  What are your favourite things to see and do in Paris?  Share your tips, experiences and in the comments section!

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