Paris is an amazing place to eat. What makes you fall in love with it, though, is the endless secrets it holds. Walk down a new street, or take a different bus route, and you can stumble upon treasures that seem like they were put there just for you to find. On a visit this past week, I made pilgrimages to classic food destinations, but some of the best things I ate were discovered by chance, off the beaten path.
My husband and I went to Paris for a week long “junior” honeymoon, staying in the upscale Breteuil neighborhood near Les Invalides, where Napoleon is buried. Around the corner from our digs was a farmer’s market. It was the site of many delights, including freshly made crepes with Nutella and strawberry jam, and a stylish dog sporting a tiny visor emblazoned with the French flag.
Guess what? Rhubarb is really popular in France! I saw it in beautiful red stacks everywhere at the market, and then tasted it at several restaurants, where it’s not only featured in desserts but also served as a compote to accompany foie gras.
At the market, I also found fresh almonds. I’d never eaten them before, but I learned from Girl Cook in Paris that the best way to eat them is whole, raw, and dipped in salt.
It felt kind of edgy, seeing as there’s just been an E. coli outbreak in Europe and everyone is being cautious about eating raw produce. No after-effects, I’m happy to report. Girl Cook recommends eating the almonds with beer, but I enjoyed them with rosé. Which brings me to my next topic: the French love of rosé wine.
In summertime, rosé is everywhere in Paris. Pop into a small café or bistro, and one or more of the wines by the glass is a rosé, because it simply goes so well with summer foods. The wine chain Nicolas is currently featuring a display window exclusively of rosés, so the delightful view below greeted me all over the city.
Of the many different venues where I enjoyed rosé — and there were a lot because I drank some every day of my vacation — my favorite was in the breathtakingly beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Garden.
This park, the second largest in Paris, was filled with happy Parisians the week that I was there, lounging by the pond, jogging, and picnicking — with wine. Drinking in public is legal here, and you could even buy wine in the park.
Here at “Kiosque 7,” a talented woman served ice cream, cooked crepes, and poured wine for a hungry crowd, all while having an intimate conversation with a friend. James and I collected our treasure from madame — a cheese crepe, a jam crepe, and a cup of rosé, and found a spot near the main promenade to enjoy it all.
Wine, albeit in a plastic cup, in one of the most beautiful parks in the world—can life possibly get any better than this? Perhaps. Find out in the second installment of my Paris eating adventure, when I visit the Marais and check out a Filipino Independence festival in the Bois de Boulogne. A bientot. . . !