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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.

L’Ebauchoir: A neighborhood bistro packed with regulars.

L’Ebauchoir: A neighborhood bistro packed with regulars.

L’Ebauchoir in Paris is a classic bistro, right off the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, that has never ceased to live up to its reputation. It is a popular restaurant among the neighborhood’s artisans and artists who fill it up at lunchtime, while other regulars and first-timers crowd the room for dinner. Their fish or meat dishes are always cooked to perfection and the wines that accompany them are always good. The desserts at l’Ebauchoir are delicious and you might find yourself ordering seconds. The 13,50€ lunch menu is for an appetizer+main dish+dessert with a set main dish, or 25€ for an appetizer+main dish+dessert with a main dish to choose from the regular menu. Count about 20€ for a main dish at dinner.
Check out their blog for pictures of their dishes. It offers some recipes too.

L’Ebauchoir
43 Rue de Cîteaux
75012 Paris
tel: 01.43.42.49.31
Metro: Faidherbe-Chaligny

M: 8pm-11pm
Tu-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm / 8pm-11pm (Opens at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday)
Closed on Sunday

Le Rostand in Paris: a superb terrasse facing the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Le Rostand in Paris: a superb terrasse facing the Jardin du Luxembourg.

You might have seen the restaurant/café Le Rostand in Paris Je t’aime, with Gena Rowlands and Bob Hoskins being served by Gerard Depardieu. When it isn’t used as a movie set Le Rostand has a wonderful terrasse facing the gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg. Le Rostand is a perfect spot for sipping champagne and eating olives in the afternoon sun, or indulging in a hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream and a sweet crêpe, say for example, after visiting Le Panthéon.

Le Rostand
6 place Edmond Rostand
75006 Paris
tel: 01.43.54.61.58
Metro: Cluny
RER: Luxembourg

7/7
M-Sun: 8am-2am

Le Fumoir: a café-bar-restaurant across the street from Louvre.

Le Fumoir: a café-bar-restaurant across the street from Louvre.

Le Fumoir in Paris has been mentioned everywhere, from the Paris guides to the NYTimes. It’s location is prime, it is right across the street from the world’s most visited museum — the Louvre. It’s very central, serves food all day, has a few tables on the sidewalk that are heated during the cold days and are hard to get when it’s warm and sunny. Le Fumoir has a cozy atmosphere, 1940’s music, dim lights, leather chairs and dark wooden tables, the espressos are served with speculoos (cinnamon cookies) and water, lots of it—my American friends should appreciate that. It’s a few steps away from one of my favorite places in Paris: the cour carrée du Louvre. The cour carrée du Louvre is most beautiful, i think, at dusk. I was once alone there (probably unlikely to happen ever again) until someone walked by and stopped for a short while, it was just the two of us, me and Isabella Rossellini.

Le Fumoir
6 Rue de l’Amiral Coligny
75001 Paris
tel: 01.42.92.00.24
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli

M-Sun: 11am-2am
All year round.

Au relais: a bistro in Montmartre.

Au relais: a bistro in Montmartre.

When you are done visiting the Sacré Coeur, and you find yourself following the horde of tourists down the steps of the Basilica, and to the right and up the cobblestone street, don’t stop there where everybody else does. Keep moving up the streets and down the steep steps of the butte Montmartre towards the Metro Lamarck. On your way there you’ll find Au Relais, a café/bistro/restaurant at a street corner. It has a tiny slanted terrasse full of trees—a lovely place to hang out in summertime. It serves a lot of traditional French drinks such as Lillet or Dubonnet as well as Kirs that are served either with Chardonnay (traditional) or Sauvignon Blanc. They serve food all day and until late at night. This a very friendly neighborhood bar where I take my friends for a drink after having braved the crowds at the Sacré Coeur.

Au Relais
48 Rue Lamarck
75018 Paris
tel: 01.46.06.68.32
Metro: Lamarck

7/7 M-Sun: 8am-12am (from 9am-1am on Friday and Saturday)