For a day trip to Paris with a difference, let your stomach be your guide…
We asked Paris-based pâtissier and food writer, Frances Leech, to share her favourite culinary adventures in the City of Lights. Her travel philosophy is for every tourist or cultural activity you do, there should always be a corresponding food stop! Now there’s an idea we can get behind! So put on your walking shoes and most stretchy trousers, and get set for a day of tasty treats…
Best bread and croissants
Breakfast is an important start to the day, so no one should start a day’s sightseeing on an empty stomach. For one of the best baguettes de tradition in the city, head to Gontran Cherrie in Montmartre (22 Rue Caulaincourt). They also offer flaky croissants and speciality breads like black squid ink, or fig and lemon. Walk down to the Montmartre cemetery afterwards to peek in the old tombs.
The éclair is currently all the rage in Paris. Stuffed with silky pastry cream or chocolate ganache, they come in a rainbow of colours.
My top three? The passion fruit & raspberry at L’Éclair de Génie (Rue Pavée), the black sesame at Sadaharu Aoki (35 Rue de Vaugirard) and the coffee, wrapped in a chocolate tube, at La Pâtisserie des Reves (93 Rue du Bac). A special mention also goes to the mini savoury éclairs at
L’Éclair de Génie… foie gras anyone?
Best for children
Queue up for a couple of generous falafel sandwiches at l’As du Fallafel (Rue des Rosiers) and take them to the little play park at nearby Rue de Parc Royal. Follow with a custard tart from Comme a Lisbonne or the best of Parisian gelato at Pozzetto (both Rue Roi de Sicile). Then walk up the Rue des Archives to the weird and wonderful Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature – watch out for the enormous polar bear and
the talking boar! If the children still have some energy, head up the canal to the Parc de la Villette and the Cité de Science, a great science museum with an IMAX theatre. In the summer, take a picnic and finish the evening in front of one of the free outdoor movies. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont, also in the 19th arrondissement, has an old fashioned puppet theatre and lots of activities for children too.
Best picnic spots
Load up on fresh fruit, bread and cheese at the bustling Marché d’Aligre (Metro: Ledru-Rollin) then walk over to the Promenade Plantée, a
shady green walkway on an old viaduct. It leads to the Jardins de Reuilly, one of the rare lawns available in Paris for sitting on. Look out for the water fountain with free sparkling water to fill up your bottles! If you’re feeling energetic, you can follow the Promenade all the way to the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in Paris.
Stop by Pierre Herme (Rue Bonaparte) for a selection of luxurious desserts and Paris’ best macaroons. These delicate meringue cookies are sandwiched with delicious fillings – don’t miss the passion fruit Mogador. Take your purchases to the Jardins de Luxembourg to enjoy. You can check out an exhibition at the Musée de Luxembourg, or watch the stylish locals go by and the old men play chess. They have a children’s play area too.
Best for scenery
From Notre Dame, stroll west along the Seine, past the iconic Shakespeare and Co (for English books, poetry readings and concerts) all the way along to the Jardin de Plantes. Stop off at the Institut du Monde Arabe for one of the best (free) views over Paris. After enjoying the
menagerie or the natural history museum, try out the mint tea at the Mosquée de Paris just behind the gardens. Sit in the cool tiled courtyard and munch on a sticky oriental pastry.
Best for romance
Have a cucumber cocktail at the secret bar Ballroom, under the restaurant Beef Club (52 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Metro: Les Halles) then visit the Opéra Garnier in all its gilded glory.
For scrumptious French recipes and even more ideas for visiting Paris, visit Frances’ blog – Tangerine Drawings at:tangerinedrawings.wordpress.com
• From Camping les Etangs Fleuris (Touquin), drive to nearby Marne la Vallée from where you can catch the metro to central Paris.
• From Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont at Berny Rivière, take the train to Gare du Nord from nearby Soissons or Compiègne. Alternatively,
a bus runs twice a week from the campsite.