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Pizza e fichi: Roma in Paris.

Pizza e fichi: Roma in Paris.

Pizza e fichi has some delicious pizza sold by the slice (al taglio). The meet and cheeses used for the pizzas come from Italy. The dough is made every 24 to 48 hours and the toppings vary daily — they are made with fresh ingredients (except for the mushrooms when they are not in season.) Slices costs 3,80€ (classic) or 4,80€ (gourmet). I love their pizza dough, it is soft in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside—just enough to feel a slight resistance when biting.

Pizza e fichi
17 Rue Alexandre Dumas
75011 Paris
tel: 01.43.67.50.11
Metro: Rue des Boulets, Alexandre Dumas

M-F: 12pm-3pm / 6.30pm-9.30pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Blé Sucré: A must-try pastry shop in Paris.

Blé Sucré: A must-try pastry shop in Paris.

The first thing that amazed me when I walked in Blé Sucré in Paris was the beautiful pastries. The second thing was how cheap everything was. After having worked at luxury hotels such as Le Bristol and the Plaza Athénée in Paris, or the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, Fabrice Le Bourdat opened his own bakery/pastry shop in Paris and named it Blé Sucré (sweet wheat). Blé Sucré is a high end pastry shop with very sweet prices—a first in Paris. The morning pastries at Blé Sucré are a must—the pain au chocolat (chocolat croissant) has been voted the best one in Paris. I have to say that their chausson aux pommes (apple turnover) and pain aux raisins (raisin roll) are as good as they can get. Those are the morning pastries you want to experience when you come to France, the kind that will never taste as good anywhere else. Blé Sucré has a few tables outside where you can eat your pastries or have lunch: the 6.60€ menu offers a sandwich, mini pizza or quiche, with a drink and a dessert (count 6€ for the food to go.) Or you can eat their sweets in the lovely square Trousseau just across the street from them.
The café-restaurant Le Square Trousseau, located a few doors down, serves their croissants and pain au chocolats for breakfast.

And while you are at Blé Sucré buying a morning pastry thinking about all the other things you could try in the bakery, please do ask for one more thing: a bag of madeleines and/or a bag of financiers. Trust me, if there’s a place where you should buy some madeleines and financiers in Paris it’s definitely there. One more thing: do not leave without trying their Raboliot bread—a decadently tender bread made with hazelnut flour, halzelnuts and raisins. It is so good that you will eat it like a pastry—you won’t leave any for later!

Blé Sucré
Square Trousseau
7 Rue Antoine Vollon
75012 Paris
tel: 01.43.40.77.73
Metro: Ledru-Rollin

Tu-Sat: 7am-7.30pm
Sun: 7am-1.30pm
Closed on Monday and in August.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert: Traditional French cuisine in Paris.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert: Traditional French cuisine in Paris.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert and its neighbor L’Ecailler du Bistrot are owned by the same family. Le Bistrot Paul Bert is the quintessential Parisian neighborhood restaurant. It serves traditional French cuisine—vegetarians might want to skip this place—with a penchant for meat served rare. They like it blue (that means very rare as in barely warm inside) but you can still order it your way. If you crave red meat and fries head for Le Paul Bert’s entrecôte-frites (rib steak and fries). This is a typical French bistro frequented by regulars as well as tourists — it’s been written about everywhere. It’s very lively and if you have a late dinner you might get to hear rowdy French people sing in English. I would highly recommend the decadently buttery Tarte Tatin or the sinfully creamy Paris-Brest (said to be one of the best in Paris) to finish on a happy note. The lunch and dinner menus are 34€ for an appetizer+main dish+dessert (or 21€ for a main dish only and an additional 8€ for an appetizer or a dessert), to choose from the regular menu, with a cheaper lunch option at 16,50€ for an appetizer+main dish+dessert (or 11€ for a main dish and an additional 4€ for an appetizer or a dessert), to choose from a smaller selection of dishes. These prices do not include beverages. Reservation is highly recommended; Le Bistrot Paul Bert is a very popular place.

Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert
75011 Paris
tel: 01.43.72.24.01
Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny

Tu-Sat: 12pm-2pm / 7.30pm-11pm
Closed on Sunday, Monday and one month in summer.

Du Pain et Des Idées in Paris: A treasure of a bakery.

Du Pain et Des Idées in Paris: A treasure of a bakery.

It is true what they say, Christophe Vasseur’s caramelized apple tartelette is to die for. It is simply the best one I’ve had—it probably came out of the oven a little before I bought it because it was still warm and that only added to my one-of-a-kind experience of apple tartelette consumption. It’s funny how some very simple pleasures can change the course of your day. I think I will forever associate that part of the 10th arrondissement with Du Pain et Des Idées bakery.
Christophe Vasseur is passionate about his trade. At 30 years old he left the corporate world to become the renown baker that he is; he opened his bakery Du Pain et Des Idées in 2002 and was elected Meilleur Boulanger de Paris 2008 (Best Baker of Paris) by Gault & Millau.
At Du Pain et Des Idées all of the breads and pastries are made the most traditional way (here a baguette is made in seven hours as opposed to the average hour and half) and with the best ingredients (only fresh seasonal fruits are used for the pastries.) Three-Michelin-star chef Alain Passard says of Christophe Vasseur’s Le Pain des Amis that it is the best he’s had.

Du Pain et Des Idées
34 Rue Yves Toudic
75010 Paris
tel: 01.42.40.44.52
Metro: Jacques Bonsergent, République

M-F: 7am-8pm
Closed on Saturday, Sunday

Jacques Genin in Paris: The caramels, chocolates and pastries you don’t want to miss.

Jacques Genin in Paris: The caramels, chocolates and pastries you don’t want to miss.

There are the classic caramels, the famous ones au beurre salé (salty butter caramels) from Brittany and then there are the flavored ones such as the passion-mango caramels from Jacques Genin that are absolutely decadent and probably some of the best in the world—I weigh my words. Other flavors are: pistachio, almond, hazelnut, coffee, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, licorice… They are so soft and buttery you wonder how they manage to keep their shape and you tell yourself you can’t eat more than one but you can’t stop going back to them. His chocolates drive me nuts—oh! the caramelized almond Rochers, mmm the hazelnut pralinés! They are made with the finest ingredients, the flavors are as delicate as the patterns drawn onto their perfectly square shape and their names are as playful as they are appetizing. And then there are Jacques Genin’s pastries: he has mastered the art of the classic French pastries (éclair, Paris-Brest, tarte au chocolat noir, mille-feuille…)
After years of working in his lab and selling his treats to high-end restaurants and hotels, Jacques Genin has finally opened his own shop/tea salon. It is located a few blocks away from the busy area of rue de Bretagne, its trendy cafés and popular shops.

Jacques Genin
133 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris
tel: 01.45.77.29.01
Metro: Filles du Calvaire

Tu-Sun: 11am-7pm
Closed on Monday

Patrick Roger in Paris: Chocolate spectacle and gustative excellence.

Patrick Roger in Paris: Chocolate spectacle and gustative excellence.

Patric Roger is one of France’s finest chocolatiers—he has been awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) title in 2000 and is systematically amongst France’s top ten chocolate artisans of the year.
Patric Roger is known for his extravagant chocolate sculptures that are a total delight for the eyes. He is a must-see and must-try. Aside from his top-of-the-line treats and entertaining sculptures (I’m crazy about the “Allegory”—a caramelized almond, orange and grape chocolate candy, and the “Cuzco”—almond nougatine chocolate candy), what I love about Patrick Roger are his opening hours—they are as straightforward as can be. The hours are the same everyday in every boutique. And this, believe me, is very refreshing in the land of awfully puzzle-like and debilitating store opening hours!
Check out Patrick Roger’s website to see his chocolate creations and have a look-see at his portrait… it’s worth the detour.

Patrick Roger
Patrick Roger 6th arrondissement
108 Boulevard Saint-Germain
75006 Paris
tel: 01.43.29.38.42
Metro: Odéon, Cluny - La Sorbonne

M-Sat: 10.30am-7.30pm
Closed on Sunday

91 Rue de Rennes
75006 Paris
tel: 01.45.44.66.13
Metro: Rennes

M-Sat: 10.30am-7.30pm
Closed on Sunday

Patrick Roger 8th arrondissement
199 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris
8th arrondissement
tel: 01.45.61.11.46
Metro Charles de Gaule - Etoile, Ternes

M-Sat: 10.30am-7.30pm
Closed on Sunday

Patrick Roger 16th arrondissement
45 Avenue Victor Hugo
75016 Paris
tel: 01.45.01.66.71
Metro: Charles de Gaule - Etoile, Ternes

M-Sat: 10.30am-7.30pm
Closed on Sunday

Patisserie Le Triomphe: The quintessential Parisian croissant.

Patisserie Le Triomphe: The quintessential Parisian croissant.

I will take the metro at dawn and endure the early morning dense crowd for croissants from Le Triomphe, even if some of Paris’ croissants voted “best of” can be found a few blocks away from my place. They are what I would call the quintessential Parisian croissants and Le Triomphe makes them how I like them best: no fancy sweet glaze on top, flaky on the outside, doughy inside, buttery but not greasy, just the right texture and flavor. It’s this kind of croissant that makes a Frenchman homesick when he is away from the motherland and has a tourist rush to a bakery on his arrival to France. Le Triomphe pastry shop has three stores, two in Paris (I went to the one in the 20th arrondissement) and one right outside of the city limits. I tried some of their pastries too and they are absolutely delightful. I will go back for more of those too. Thank you A. & D. for pointing me in the right direction.

Le Triomphe
Le Triomphe 20th arrondissement
95 Rue d’Avron
75020 Paris
tel: 01.43.73.24.50
Metro: Maraîchers

Tu-Sat: 7.30am-7.30pm
Sun: 7.30am-7pm
Closed on Monday

Le Triomphe 12th arrondissement
23 Rue du Rendez-Vous
75012 Paris
tel: 01.40.02.08.79
Metro: Picpus

Tu-F: 8am-2pm / 4pm-7.30pm
Sat: 8am-7.30pm
Sun: 8am-2pm
Closed on Monday

Le Triomphe Vincennes
117 Avenue de Paris
94160 Saint Mande
tel: 01.43.28.03.16
Metro: Saint-Mandé

Tu-Th: 9am-2pm / 4pm-8pm
F, Sat: 9am-8pm
Sun: 9am-1pm
Closed on Monday

Goût, Thé et… Chocolat: A fine selection of award winning artisans’ chocolates on Rue d’Aligre.

Goût, Thé et… Chocolat: A fine selection of award winning artisans’ chocolates on Rue d’Aligre.

**UPDATE: Goût, Thé et… Chocolat is closed. It will re-open later at a different location. As for the shop it is taken over by a jovial man from the Pyrenées who will also sell chocolates.

*UPDATE: Goût, Thé et… Chocolat no longer sells Fabrice Gillotte’s chocolates. You can find his chocolates at:
Mococha
89 rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris

At Goût, Thé et… Chocolat on rue d’Aligre you’ll find a careful selection of chocolates, dark and milk pralinés or ganache made by France’s finest artisans. The chocolates that are for sale in this tiny shop are by a select few such as Rémi Henry or Hubert Masse to name a few.
There are also other sweet things such as artisanal ice-creams and sorbets by Mr Phoenix who only sells to reputable restaurants, macarons, tuiles au chocolat, dragées, hot cocoa, artisan jams, cheesecake… If they are selling the dark chocolate-covered hazelnuts with cocoa powder on top when you stop by, try them!
If you are looking for high end chocolates in the 12th arrondissement, this is the place to go to.

In the same neighborhood, check out Les Crus du Soleil for great wines at an unbeatable price, Sur Les Quais for some delectable tapenades or La Graineterie du Marché for a one-of-a-kind picturesque dry goods store.

Goût, Thé et… Chocolat
13 Rue d’Aligre
75012 Paris
tel: 01.43.40.34.45
Metro: Ledru-Rollin, Faidherbe-Chaligny

Tu-F: 9.30am-1.30pm / 3pm-8pm (4pm-7.30pm in August)
Sat: 9am-8pm
Sun: 9am-2pm
Closed on Monday