We Feel The Pain Of Paris. What Can We Do Now?

The Eiffel Tower Shines On

The Eiffel Tower Shines On In The Night

The city of Paris has a Latin motto which is: ‘Fluctuat ned mergitur”. The translation to English is ‘tossed by the water but not sunk’.

When visiting Paris the week the before the November 13 massacres, I enjoyed the hospitality of a city full of spirit, wonder and warmth. The first night there I had long-planned a visit to the wine bar at Verjus to enjoy the explosion of informal drinking and enjoying smaller plates that has spread across the city.  Imagine my surprise. When I arrived I found that it was closed for a private party.  We lingered for a moment on the street and struck up a conversation with a man who turned out to be the host of the party. Seeing our disappointment, he invited us into his birthday celebration for a glass of red wine.

Doors opened to us.

Verus Wine Bar Paris

Verjus Wine Bar Paris

Now doors need to remain open for them.

I walked the streets of the 10th and 11th.  The district was packed with people out enjoying their lives in these vibrant neighborhoods.  7 days later hell would break loose.


The decision of whether to travel and where to travel will always be personal. Only you can decide whether to travel to Paris, or for that matter Beirut or Tel Aviv or whatever city struggles with the horrors of this modern world.

I ask you to go. When you do, think about this: By doing so you stand in defiance of those that who act without regard to human life. You stand in support of the working people of Paris, from the maid that cleans your room to the chef at a gourmet restaurant to the bartender who pours your wine.

Parisians are returning to their cafes.  They will not back down. Will you join them?

A glass of Calvados at Odeon.

A glass of Calvados at Odeon in the 6th.  The way to finish a night.

We are tossed by turbulent waters but our spirit must not sink.  When you wonder, when you doubt, do not give in.   Go to Paris for the first time or the 10th.  It is the loudest statement that you can make to honor the 128 innocents who died.

Walking The Marais: Charlie Hebdo Is Not Forgotten.  And You Can Find World’s Best Sandwich Too.

Walking The Marais: Charlie Hebdo Is Not Forgotten. And You Can Find World’s Best Sandwich Too.


The world was overwhelmed by the events that stunned the City of Paris on January 7, 2015. While events quickly fade into the collectively memory of new tragedies, short news cycles and equally short attention spans, a recent walk around the Marais showed that the spirit of those cut down that day lives on in graffiti and street art throughout the area. This brings a new dimension of interest to an already authentic and historic part of the city, perfect for a mid day walk featuring a self-described ‘worlds greatest sandwich’ and a visit to an up and coming new bakery for dessert.

Start this walk at the metro station Republique. Take a moment to enjoy this bustling square in the heart of the theatre district and be careful as you exit, it is easy to lose direction and get confused.  Once you find Rue Beranger head away front the square, turn right on Rue De Picardie and continue to Rue De Bretagne.  Once there and if your walk is early stop for breakfast at the very neighborhoody Cafe Charlot where you can enjoy poached organic eggs and a good cup of coffee.



Lunch is a toss-up, you can have it there the cafe or continue on to the Marche Des Enfant Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris dating to the XVI century.  The Marche is just across the Rue De Bretagne, you can’t miss the entry sign. It is a beautiful covered market full of fruits, vegetables and flowers.



And this massive block of cheese.  Think about it.


This man has a food stall in the middle of the market with the longest line.


He said that he makes the world’s greatest sandwich.  We had already eaten lunch but I would love to hear from a reader who has tried one to see if this true.  It looked amazing and he may be right.


As you continue to walk you will see posters and graffiti reflecting the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. They are everywhere.





This one really got me, it translates to maybe it is time to start to get back to playing with paving stones again, a shout out to the 68 demonstrations.


Continuing on Rue De Bretagne you will reach the Bontemps Patisserie with their amazing ‘sable’ cookies that I mentioned previously on my post on Parisian bakeries.  Worth the stop.

Patisserie with amazing cookies in the Marais

Patisserie with amazing cookies in the Marais

From here you have a wide choice of designations.  You can turn right and head up Rue De Temple and back to Republique or go straight on Rue Reamur to the metro at Arts Et Metiers.  For a longer outing the Musee de Picasso, newly reopened, is only 10 minutes to the south towards the Seine.  Another alternative is to see if there is an event at the refurbished event center, Le Carreau Du Temple.  It’s worth it for the architecture along and features everything from jazz to food trucks.

Cafe Charlot, 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003.  01 44 54 03 30

Marche Des Enfants Rouge, 39 Rue De Bretagne, 75003

Bontemps Partisserie 57 Rue De Bretagne 75003 01 42 74 10 68

Le Carreau Du Temple,  4 Rue Eugène Spuller, 75003 01 83 81 93 30

Pots, pans and pigs. A walk around Les Halles to enjoy the remnants of this ever changing neighborhood.

Pots, pans and pigs. A walk around Les Halles to enjoy the remnants of this ever changing neighborhood.

DSC_0792Les Halles was once the great produce market of Paris, a thriving early morning cacophony of noises, smells and sights that supplied this grand city with vegetables, meats and fruit.  As well documented in print and in the photography found in the great Robert Doisneau’s book on the same subject, the stalls and life that surrounded it were redeveloped into a soulless mall in the 1960’s.  Over the past few years the City has tried it’s best to correct these mistakes with yet another redevelopment of the mall and the jury is still out on the last efforts.  So instead of mourning the past, this short walk focuses on elements of the old neighborhood that remain.

The walk starts at metro Etienne Marcel. On exiting head towards Les Halles down Rue Turbigo.  In two blocks you will reach the entry of one of the largest gothic churches in Paris, Saint Eustache.  Take time to walk through the church to view its imposing structure, massive organ, stained glass and the sculptures that honor the prior habitants of the area pictured above.




On exiting the church turn left unto Rue Montmartre, the right onto Rue Du Jour and then left onto rue Coquilliere.

DSC_0759At 18-20 you will find E. Dehlerrin, one of the most eclectic, well-stocked cooking and restaurant supply stores in the world, two stores of toys for chefs and the rest of us.

Need a soup pot to boil your enemies in?  I think this one would fit some of my smaller ones.


The shop is full of copper goodies and yes, they ship outside of France.




From gigantic ricers to scales it is all there.



If you time it right, you it might just be time for lunch or an early dinner.  Here are some options:

Continuing on Rue Coquillere at number 6 you will find one of the most beautiful brasseries in Paris, Au Pied de Cochon.



Even if you aren’t hungry go in for a drink sit at the bar and enjoy the interior deco driven furnishings.



And if you do go to eat let me know how the pied du cochon, the pig’s foot, tasted. I didn’t have the stomach for it.  The brasserie is known for being the first place where Julia Child enjoyed sole meunier, and you should stick to the classics.  Have some oysters and wash it down with a cold glass of dry Muscadet as you watch workers at the French Stock exchange, the bourse, which is located just blocks away enjoy theirs.


You can finish your walk on one of my favorite streets in Paris, Rue Montorgueil or head towards the Seine via Rue Du Louvre.

And if you are really lucky, you are finishing the afternoon with a drink at Frenchie Wine Bar on Rue Du Nil.  It’s a hassle to get in but awfully good.  Reservations are hard to find so go at off hours.


Enjoy this vision of the past (well except for Frenchie at least) tucked in the modern changing city that is Paris.


Eglise Paroise Saint Eustache

2 Impasse Saint-Eustache, 75001 Paris, France
+33 1 42 36 31 05

E. Dehlerrin

 18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France
6 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris, France


5-6, RUE DU NIL 75002 PARIS
+33 (0)


Cakes, Desserts And Lots More. Paris Bakeries Part 3: Enjoying The Patisserie.

DSC_0323.JPG sign

The Patissier

Exploring and Enjoying Parisian Bakeries Part 3.

Sweets, Desserts and Much Much More.

There is truly no way to do justice to the depth and variety of delectable goodies available at a good Parisian Patisserie in one article.  You will find an often overwhelming selection of tarts, chocolates, pastries, cookies and macarons (which seem to be everywhere these days).  Some will be familiar to you, others will be new and they are worth seeking out.   Think variety and you will not be disappointed.


Classic Bakery Counter

Tarte Aux Fruit or Fruit tarts are commonly found in both individual and large. The quality is very reliable even in less than great bakeries. Choices include mure (blackberry), citron (lemon), fraise (strawberry), framboise (raspberry) and poire (pear).  Many tarts will mix fruits for design and color.  Fillings range from simple glazes to rich creams.  The best ones run simple like this:


Perfect glaze and crispiness

Eclairs. I confidently wager that Paris has the best eclairs on earth with a variety of fillings including chocolate, coffee and vanilla creams.  Take a moment to read my review of Patiserrie Stohrer and then consider going there.  It was that good, the bakery is a throwback to Paris in the 1700’s and Rue Montorgeuil and the area around it are worth the trip.


Yes, since 1730.

Macarons.   These small almond based cookies or cakes with creme fillings have conquered Paris and apparently the world.  But honestly, is it worth waiting hours in line for one at La Duree? Better to pick some up at their stand at CDG airport on the way home and wow your friends. Macarons come in a cacophony of flavors and colors and are not in any way to be confused with coconut Macaroons.







Creampuffs are called Choux. The name means “little cabbage”.  If you can find them, try a Chouquette: small puff pastries without filling covered in sugar. Sort of a French donut hole.


Les Chouquettes

Opera.   An intense rectangular chocolate mousse cake covered in dark chocolate and often decorated lushly even featuring gold flake on occasion.

Canele.  This Bordeaux specialty has a distinctive caramel burnt sugar flavor and unique shape.  They are dense almost chewy perfect along side a shot of espresso.


Canele, pride of Bordeaux.

Chocolates.  Many bakeries will feature a display of chocolates to add to the party.

Bakery Chocolates

Bakery Chocolates

Recommendations in the neighborhood:

There are two pastry shops worth seeking out close to the Yellow Flat.  First is La Patisserie De Reves located across the Champ De Mars on Rue De Bac.  A visually engaging combination of classics and innovation that is really quite spectacular.  About 20 mins walk. 93 rue du Bac, 7th, +33 1 42 84 00 82. Métro: Rue du Bac. lapatisseriedesreves.com

The second is Desgateauxetdupain, an easier walk and again a lighter and innovative take on traditional cakes.  63 boulevard Pasteur, 15th, +33 1 45 38 94 16, desgateauxetdupain.com. Métro: Pasteur. Open Mon, Wed-Sun 8am-8pm

Though not in the neighborhood, Bontemps Patisserie, a young and dynamic new bakery in the Marais is turning out heavenly cookies called sable’, a cross between shortbread and sugar cookies with a crumbly nutty texture. Small drops of intense flavor made with a fine delicate hand.

Patisserie with amazing cookies in the Marais

Patisserie with amazing cookies in the Marais

bonempspatisserie  57 rue de Bretagne in the Marais+33 1 42 74 10 68  Metro Arts et Metiers.

For a completely different experience try these two patisseries, unusual in terms of both flavors and experiences with very different lineage.

While you many not think of Algeria as home to baked goods, consider visiting La Bague De Kenza. Think dates, almonds, baklava, rosewater and honey.  Order an assortment. 233 rue de la Convention, 15th, +33 1 42 50 02 97. Métro: Convention. labaguedekenza.com

Sadaharu Aoki As obvious by the name, this Japanese owned patisserie turns out exquisite chocolates that must be seen to be appreciated.  Located at the border of the 6th, 7th and 15th districts. 35 rue de Vaugirard 75006   +33 01 45 44 48 90 www.sadaharuaoki.com

exquisite candy

To learn more about how to enjoy Paris bakeries go to the first two blogs in this series.  You can read more about how to find the best Breads and get an overview of how to choose a great bakery here.

As always enjoy!


Parisian Bakeries Part 2: Breads And Lots Of Breakfast Deliciousness.

Paris Bakeries Part 2.  Breads, breakfast pastries and a plan of attack.

That baguette in the window.

That baguette in the window.

My previous post focused on suggestions on how to find quality Parisian bakeries.  And now you have found that adorable artisan establishment and walked inside.  What do you do?  Before you make a move, check the time and be forewarned, Parisian bakeries are not for the meek in the morning.  People (read that as locals) are there to grab and then get on with their days.  Lines are often long and the servers don’t have time to be helpful.  They have a job to do, don’t take their impatience personally.

Many bakeries will have small tables where you eat your baked goods on premises.  If you want to order it this way ask for your order “sur place” as opposed as to go which is “a emporter”.


Here is a guide to the various breads and pastries that you will enjoy in Paris. This is not a simple subject, you will be well served to decide on what you wantin advance.  Have a plan of attack that requires you to go several times and try lots of goodies.  That should not be too hard.

Lets start with breads.

Pain De Mie

Pain De Mie

Baguette. Your baguette should be golden brown, crispy with a bit of flake, with a hint of salt and a soft inside.  As befitting their importance in French culture, there are lots of shapes and tastes:

Baguette Parisienne. The basic baguette, sometimes called ‘ordinaire‘ or ‘normale‘,  An amazing deal at 1euro40 or less. As with the bakeries, quality varies widely.  If you see a lattice like pattern on the bottom side it was baked in a form pan and likely has an industrial source.  But even those aren’t always bad.

Half baguette, at less than 1 euro it will be just enough for a snack and no one will look down on you if you buy one.

Tradition.   Signifies the efforts of an artisan baker that takes the time to create a hand-made baguette.  Also called Baguette A L’Ancienne or De Campange (country). They will be irregular in shape and a bit more expensive.

Batard.  About half the length of a baguette and wider.

Flute.  A long and very thin baguette.

Couronne.  Ring shaped baguette.

Aux Cereales.  Contains whole grain flour and other grains.

Ficelle. This means string.  A very very thin baguette.

Breads are also available by loaf, consider:

Pain Au Levain.  Akin to sourdough.

Complet. Whole wheat or multigrain breads.

Pain De Mie. The closest thing to white bread, but calling it white bread is just unfair. It is so much better. The best sandwich bread in France.  Maybe it is all the butter but white bread does not like the bread you see pictured above. Period.

Aux Noix.  Walnut bread.

Siegle.  Rye bread.

Good Morning.

Good Morning.

On to another happy subject, morning pastries. I always search out breakfast pastries in Paris. They are the perfect for the on the run moment before you head out to see the sights meal along with a cup of coffee. Again, there are so many to choose from and by no means should you be limited to eating them in the morning.

poilane 1

The Pastry Counter At Poilane.

Croissant. Try one, please. What passes for a croissant outside of France is often a joke.  A good croissant should reek of baked butter and stain the paper that holds it with fat.  The outer crust should be firm and the inside airy and light.

Pain au chocolate.  Look for ones that are flaky  and stuffed with practically melted chocolate.  Make a mess.

The Pain Au Choc.

The Pain Au Chocolat

Pain au raisin. Snail shaped pastry with raisins and custard.  Personal favorite.

Croissant amande.  Almond croissant usually dusted with powdered sugar.

Venoisse. A rich sweet morning pastry often with chocolate bits. It should shine from the egg wash.



Tartlette de pomme.  An apple mini tart and cousin to the Chausson Aux Pommes, apple turnovers.

Brioche.  A sweet bread made with eggs.  Must eat with jam and more butter.

Beignet.   Surprise, you can find doughnuts in Paris, typically plain dough rolled in sugar.

For more information about baked good consider these articles.

Paris has an annual best baguette competition, some winners are near the Yellow Flat. Award winning baguettes near the Yellow Flat include Boulangerie Frederic Pichard at 88 Rue Cambronne or Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel at 187 Rue De Grenelle across the Champ De Mars next to the Eiffel Tower.  Read more at


There are plenty of quality croissants near the Yellow Flat.  Try Boulangerie Pichard at 88 Rue Cambronne, L’artisan Des Gourmands at 60 Rue de la Convetion or Le Quartier Du Pain.  74 Rue Saint Charles.  Be forewarned that the baker at L’artisan is not cheery.  You are not there for friendship.

Read more at http://parisbymouth.com/the-best-butter-croissants-in-paris/

Learn about the ongoing baguette crisis in Paris here:


Want to practice your French and read more?  Check out painrisien.  Very detailed bakery reviews but only in French.

As always enjoy the journey and if one pastry doesn’t excite you order another, you are on vacation!

Next up: Patissiers for cookies, desserts and more.


Paris Bakeries. The Good And The Bad. Mostly Good.

Part 1.   How to find a good bakery.

whole baguette

A trip to Paris must include many visits to bakeries throughout the city (i.e. boulangeries or patisseries) for a taste of the finest breads and pastries on earth.

But all is not as it seems behind that door.  A false step will find you eating a baked off frozen baguette prepared in a factory miles away and months ago that is full of preservatives.  And it will cost the same as a great one thanks to the French government and the importance of baguette to their culture.

The secret, as George Clinton said, is to pay attention  Like these young men are doing.  Oh, to grow up with those baked goods at your corner.

So many choices.

So many choices.

What to do?

Learn to tell the good bakeries from the mediocre ones.  What you are looking for is an artisan bakery that has maintained the traditions of French baking that date back hundreds of years. It is true that French bakeries are in crisis. But their struggle is no greater than those faced by many food producers in this world as they fracture into camps, artisanal and industrial. Fortunately there are lots of easy ways to identify one. And by seeking out the artisan bakers you keep their traditions alive.

Our neighborhood in Paris features bakeries of all kinds and stripes. As you walk around try to follow these recommendations and soon you will quickly spot the good ones.

DSC_0082 sign

Elegant Paris Bakery

Here are some rules to follow.

  1. Look for the words artisan or authentique anywhere outside of the bakery or for this sign.


  1. Look for the name of the baker somewhere on the exterior of the bakery.  It shows ownership.
  2. As with so many things when you travel, look for and then follow the lines. The neighborhood knows what is going on.
  3. Don’t buy your bread at the supermarket even if it appears they are baking them.
Artisan Flour

Artisan Flour

What is the difference between a boulangerie and a patisserie? Bakeries (boulangeries) in Paris feature baked goods.  And they sell a lot more than baguette and croissants. They also sell sandwiches, sodas, espresso and salads.  They are often your best bet for a quick lunch to go on a touring day or breakfast before hand.  Patisseries specialize in high-end baked goods. They focus on desserts.

Delicate Desserts

Delicate Desserts

But the lines often blur as many boulangeries often sell pastries and desserts as well.  Some carry both names.

Your efforts will pay off. My recent experiences at La Croquandise, the closest artisan bakery to the Yellow Flat, were exceptional. The combination of a solid crunchy baguette, exceptional almond croissants and a wonderful cashier was perfect.  Never did I think I would hear these words in a French bakery as I made a purchase: “I wish you an excellent day”. Wow that breaks a stereotype, doesn’t it.  I went back for a tuna salad that afternoon and it was equally good, clean and fresh.

Pain De Mie

Pain De Mie At La Croquandise

Here are some neighborhood bakeries within walking distance of the Yellow Flat worth checking out:



La Croquandise, mentioned above.  Just follow the link to see where it is located.  It is worth the 5 minute walk as opposed to the shop on the corner of Rue Alasseur, only to be used in emergency.  10 Rue du Laos 75015 Paris France‎.

Les Gouramndise Eiffel. Just across the Champ De Mars, consistent award winner for baguettes. ‪187 Rue De Grenelle, Paris 75007

Polaine.   Famous for a reason. Enjoy the tartlets aux pommes (apples) and all of the breads.  Then head to Rue Lourmel to keep shopping for goodies (here is a guide to shopping that street).  49 Boulevard de Grenelle, 75015 Paris.

Poilane Apple Tartlettes

Poilane Apple Tartlettes

Aux Merveilleux De Fred. Specialzes in massive meringue desserts. If you have a thing for meringue you have to try them.  94 Rue Saint-Dominique Paris

Want to research more?  Here is a comprehensive list of the best bakeries by neighborhood: http://parisbymouth.com/paris-bakeries

And once you there, just what do you order? I will cover that in Part 2 in two weeks.

Do you have a favorite bakery to share with us?  Then please do so in the comments section.  I would appreciate that!

And as always be sure to enjoy Paris at the Yellow Flat.


Is Paris A Deal For US Visitors This Year? It Certainly Was At Le Pario Paris 15.


You may have heard that the dollar has gained strength against the Euro. It certainly has, moving from a high of 1.30 last winter to a range of between 1.06 and 1.10. That is a lot of extra buying power for US visitors.

So, is Paris a deal for US travelers?   My answer is yes, but keep in mind that Paris will always be an expensive city on a par with others like New York. But when the subject eating out comes up, Paris is a deal worth traveling for.

On the first day of a recent visit to Paris, I had the pleasure of putting this math to the test and dining at Le Pario, located about 10 minutes walk from the Yellow Flat. It’s a chic small bistro run by Edward Jacinto, a Brazilian chef who previously cooked for Christian Constant who in turn has several successful and delicious restaurants on Rue St Dominique that were previously enjoyed and reviewed.


Jet lag notwithstanding I was excited to get out and enjoy a good lunch, having suffered (well not really too badly) through years of the 1.35 and up euro.

Le Pario is located at 54 Avenue Emile Zola in the 15th. The setting in this local favorite was warm and not just in temperature. Lunch was full of locals, mostly businesspeople who unlike many of us in the US, they were enjoying a real meal and a glass or two of wine. Why we have stopped enjoying ourselves at lunch I do not know.


After being seated and finding that the prix fixe menu (limited in choice) was not to my liking (it was priced at 18 euro and 23 euro including dessert) I went back to the menu for lunch.


Before the meal a small amuse of gougieres, traditional cheese puffs arrived, warm and tasty. I ordered a glass of rose and a bottle of mineral water, just having landed and not being able to stomach the always a bit nasty Parisian tap water (eau plat) just yet. The rose was as it should be, dry and not cloying.

My appetizer was crab with an avocado mousse. The crab was pressed carefully into a block with served with finely cut leeks celery and potatoes, all showing the fine hand of the kitchen with the avocado mousse painted along side and dusting of Piment d’Espelette for emphasis.


Main course was a confit of cannette, (female duck). It consisted of a delicately braised duck thigh in a classic orange sauce covered with toasted hazelnuts served over a large ravioli stuffed with more the duck confit and a big bowl of what I thought were mashed potatoes but turned out to be a coarse apple sauce contrasting sweet salt sweet salt. The duck melted when touched.


Having a good bottle of mineral water to myself was a pleasure and a necessity for the jet lag I was now feeling with the help of the rose. The meal closed with an espresso accompanied by several mini pastries filled with caramel, a sort of dessert amuse.

Was this a deal? Do the math and decide.

Start with the dollar at 1.07 to the Euro and yes that is a nice place to start. From there compare your meal to US realities to get a true sense of what it costs. On a meal in the US of good quality and service, it is common to tip 20% and tax is around 10%. And here is the key; in France tip and tax are included. That means you have to deduct another 30% and that is before some of the other add-on charges that have started appearing as of late.

Keeping it simple, a 100-euro meal cost 107 dollars at today’s exchange rate.
Deduct 30% for tip and tax and the result, in true cost, that is that a 100-euro meal costs you 75 dollars.

For my lunch the cost 41.50 Euros. Now with a good exchange and our 30 % discount lunch came to 31 dollars. I would say that is a deal with confidence.  And if I had gone with the prix fixe it would have cost $19.50 including the rose.

As lunch came to an end, I sat watching an elegant grandmother feed her impeccably dressed and behaved granddaughter profiteroles in chocolate sauce as she laughed. I looked out at the Paris traffic and the end of the daily lunch scene. There was no doubt about where I was and just how good it felt.

Le Pario


54 Avenue Emile Zola, 75015 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 45 77 28 82


To reach Le Pario from the Yellow Flat it is a 15 minutes walk.  The easiest way is to turn left out the door and walk to La Motte Picquet Grenelle metro.  Once there continue in the same direction on Rue De Commerce where you turn right on Aveneue Emile Zola, about the fourth street from the metro station.  It is about 10 to 15 minutes walk on Emile Zola, so be patient.