Paris: An Autumn Stroll Through the Gardens at Versailles

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I have a love/hate relationship with Versailles. Love because, well, it’s Versailles: grand and gilded rooms, beautiful and vast gardens, the works. And hate because, well, tourists. And lots of them.

Even when planned well, Versailles can still be a bit soul-crushing, and I questioned whether I wanted to subject myself to that gauntlet this time around. I was leaning toward “no,” when a thought occurred to me: the gardens, in autumn. Wouldn’t they be spectacular? And while Paris is a place I hope to return to often throughout my life, who knows the next time I’ll be here in the fall?

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And so, was the visit worth it? The answer was, yes, yes, a thousand times yes – the gardens were absolutely spectacular. The leaves were fully in the process of turning during my visit, and the colors were just gorgeous. I especially loved all the little groves and side gardens: walking down what felt like a secret pathway, and finding myself surrounded by rows and rows of perfectly manicured trees, all in the vividest shades of yellow, orange, and red.

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Sometimes I fear I overuse this word, but Versailles in autumn was truly magical. While the tourist crush was as present as ever, wandering around in the gardens, surrounded by gorgeous colors, I hardly minded it. I’m very glad I made the trip.

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Paris: Autumn Scenes to Savor

Autumn in Paris

Getting word that I was shipping out to Paris for a work assignment this fall was a dream come true, but I won’t lie: I felt a little twinge when I realized it would mean missing autumn in New York, my very favorite season of all in the city. Predictably, I need not have worried, as autumn in Paris is pretty damn spectacular too.

One of my favorite spots to wonder is Palais-Royal, which just so happens to be the perfect distance away from my office for taking a leisurely afternoon coffee break. I had peeked into Palais-Royal on previous Paris trips to check out the iconic black and white columns in the courtyard, but what I did not realize at the time was just how vast the complex is: walk beyond the columns and you find yourself in a pretty spectacular garden. So lovely.





I found myself in Saint-Germain on a very sunny Sunday in October and made a beeline for Luxembourg Gardens. I was in awe of how glorious the park was, its trees glowing golden in the afternoon light. I also loved how much activity fills the park on the weekend: people playing tennis, people practicing martial arts amongst the trees, and people soaking up the sun.

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Luxembourg Gardens

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Le Marais is one of the neighborhoods I (and everyone else, it would seem) just gravitate to in Paris. I love the food scene and I love the vibe; it is quite simply a pleasant place to wander. One thing I didn’t realize, however, was how many delightful courtyards and green spaces were tucked within this arrondissement – spots that are, of course, perfection in fall.

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Le Marais

I don’t often make it over to the old heart of the city – Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité – but I do love walking around both of those islands. I got up early one morning to grab breakfast on Île Saint-Louis, then walked over to Île de la Cité to peek at Notre Dame through the trees whose leaves had turned to autumn perfection. A good reminder to try to get up early more often!

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Ile Saint Louis

Notre Dame

I had made the pilgrimage to Montmartre many times to see Sacré Coeur, but one thing I recently realized was that I had been neglecting the rest of the neighborhood, an oversight I was keen to rectify. Two things stick out about Montmartre: it requires a lot of hiking up hills and it’s very, very charming. I loved all the ivy-covered buildings in particular.




Whenever I find myself near Canal Saint-Martin, it’s usually because of food: there are several wonderful places in the area. But during the fall, there’s another reason to go, and that’s obviously because the canal looks really, really charming as the leaves turn.

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If I had to vote for my very favorite building in Paris, it just might be this one: the Oasis of Aboukir. Located near Rue Montorgueil, this facade is covered top to bottom in plant life. Every time I pass by, it makes me smile.

Oasis of Aboukir

While not strictly “on my way” to work, the Tuileries are close enough that I can meander through them on mornings when I have extra time. I love the rows of perfectly manicured trees – always gorgeous, but particularly striking in fall.





Despite the occasional feeling of homesickness for New York, I am pretty confident that Paris was exactly where I was meant to be this fall. And, I’m getting excited about what’s to come next: Christmas season in Paris (and beyond)! Christmas markets, here I come.

October in Paris: Foodie Favorites

Here is the thing about Paris: just when I think I am making a dent in my list of places to try, I inevitably hear about / read about / stumble upon a ton of other spots I want to go to. The city seems inexhaustible, culinarily-speaking, and I’m still left with the feeling of only having scratched the surface. There are many, many more places left to try, but October sure was delicious.

The best meal of the month had to be Au Passage. This restaurant, tucked down a nondescript street in the 11th, had long been on my list, but once I watched this video from Bon Appétit, I was really sold. The restaurant is everything the video says it is: homey atmosphere, simple (nonexistent, really) decor, and amazing shareable plates. A sample of what we ate is below, but our favorite dish is not pictured (I forgot to snap a pic!): a sweet potato topped with feta and barbecue sauce. Sweet potato, feta, and barbecue is not a flavor combination I have ever dreamt of, but it just worked, like everything at Au Passage. Simple, unpretentious, incredibly flavorful: I give this place a high recommend, and cannot wait to return.

Au Passage

Another highlight was dinner at Spring, from the same chef who recently opened La Bourse et La Vie (a September favorite of mine). At Spring, dining is simple: you sit back and let them serve you what they want to serve you; there is no menu, and your meal is strictly chef’s choice. We were brought a lobster salad and pig ears to start, then fish with a crispy skin in a sauerkraut broth (our waiter emphasized that the skin, with its crispiness, was meant to be eaten), then duck with some truly phenomenal squash (said as a non-squash lover), and then a trio of desserts to finish: ice cream and apples, a lemon tart, and chocolate mousse. Everything was so tasty, and the service was really memorable – each server was top-notch, incredibly friendly, and immensely knowledgable.


In October I conquered another restaurant that had long been on my list: Kunitoraya, a little udon shop in the 1st. Every time I passed it, the line at Kunitoraya was long, but I finally bit the bullet and waited it out. The result? So, so good. I loved my duck udon, and my friend’s tempura udon came with the BIGGEST hunks of shrimp tempura I have ever seen. It was remarkable.


Around the corner from Kunitoraya is another foodie destination that has become a favorite of mine: Fromagerie Hisada. This has become “my” local cheese shop, and I love popping in to stock up on my favorites (chèvre and comté, of course).

Fromagerie Hisada

One of my favorite things about Poulette was the decor, particularly the gorgeous tilework (regrettably, I don’t have a good photograph, but the New York Times does). Luckily, the food was just as good as the ambiance at Poulette. I had octopus to start, steak frites (but of course!) for my main, and a white chocolate mousse to finish.




My friend and I are still in search of an elusive reservation for Frenchie, so in the meantime, we have consoled ourselves with Frenchie to Go, the casual little sister of Frenchie. We managed to nab two seats during a very crowded lunch hour and dug into some American classics: pulled pork for me and a hotdog for my friend. Very tasty!

Frenchie to Go

Though I may adore Paris, one place where New York clearly has it beat is brunch, which isn’t quite a thing here yet (or at least not a thing that is done particularly well) (yeah, I said it). I heard Eggs & Co., however, was a good Parisian brunch option. While similar to American brunches in portion size – which seemed positively gargantuan by Parisian standards – I found the food at Eggs & Co. to be good but a bit lackluster. Bottom line: I still miss my boozy New York brunches. Ah well, one cannot have it all.




Located just down the street from our office, we have often noticed the chalkboard signs trumpeting “champagne happy hour” at Wine by One, and felt we had to try it. It was super fun! In addition to champagne, Wine by One also has a variety of wines “on tap” – you load up a card, then head to the wine machines, selecting what you want and placing your glass under a spigot that automatically dispenses it. To wash down our champagne and wine, we also had a super tasty cheese and charcuterie board.

Wine by One

Is it foolish to base an entire meal around hot chocolate? That’s exactly what I did at Angelina, getting up super early (by my standards) to grab breakfast there with a friend before work. The last time I was at Angelina, my verdict was that the hot chocolate was incredible, and the food was pretty meh. This time around? Largely the same, although I do have to report that while my eggs were blah, my French toast was actually pretty tasty.



In terms of Parisian dining, I might be ready to dub October just about perfect. The only way November could top it? If we finally score that elusive Frenchie reservation.

September in Paris: Foodie Favorites

If you had asked me when I began my job what my dream work scenario was, the answer was easy: get sent to Europe for a long-term assignment. It wasn’t necessarily something I thought would happen, but I certainly hoped for it. And then, in August, the opportunity fell into my lap: an assignment that would have me relocating to Paris for the fall.

Almost immediately, I began thinking about what I might do with my time in Paris, and before long, the list of places I wanted to go, things I wanted to see, and – above all – restaurants where I wanted to eat had grown long. I’ll never put a dent in all of it, of course, but I certainly did try my best in September.

One place I had heard much about was Bistrot Paul Bert, a classic French bistro in the 11th. Many places don’t live up to their own hype but, happily, Paul Bert did: I loved every bite of my meal, but particularly my octopus with crystalized lemon starter (so flavorful) and my lemon tart (decadent but not sickly sweet). Hell, the steak frites were great, too.

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My other clear favorite of the month was La Bourse et La Vie, a brand new restaurant serving up traditional French favorites. In fact, I loved this place so much I returned twice, opting for the steak frites during round one and the Oysters Rockefeller and pot-au-feu during round two. Everything was great, but the pot-au-feu especially blew me away: made with veal, bone marrow (oh, the bone marrow!), and veggies, it’s a hearty treat.

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After a morning huffing up and down the hills of Montmartre (seriously, that neighborhood is a hike), I was ready for sustenance. Enter: Jeanne B, a cute restaurant slash épicerie. There, I tried the fixed price lunch: a fish appetizer (the variety of fish escapes me), roasted chicken for my main, and a chocolate caramel mousse for my dessert. It was all delicious, and look how lovely that fish was:

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There’s one place I seem to return to again and again in Paris: Le Petit Cler, a cute little restaurant on Rue Cler. Their menu is simple, but I just love it and, like La Bourse et La Vie, I visited it twice this month. On my very first day in the city, jetlagged as hell, I popped in for my favorite lunch there: roasted goat cheese on grilled bread. A few weeks later, with a friend, I had their steak frites (which were so good I ate them before I remembered to take a picture). Le Petit Cler has my favorite Parisian comfort food, and it never disappoints.

Le Petit Cler

One thing I never realized about Paris is that the 1st is teeming with Japanese restaurants. Since that also happens to be where my office is located, I’m excited to try some of them! I began with Hokkaido, a ramen place (where, word to the wise, you should go early if you don’t want to wait in line). I had gyoza to start and a big, heaping bowl of ramen for my main, which was a nice change of pace from constant French fare.



Another favorite spot near my office is Mipi, which serves up Neapolitan-style pizzas. It’s not quite being back in Italy, but it is very good – I loved my pizza margherita, and they have a variety of tasty antipasti, including zeppolelle, which are basically little dough balls of awesomeness.



And finally, one morning, I dragged myself out of bed early (always a challenge for me) and headed to Île de la Cité for breakfast at Café Saint-Régis. The breakfast was fairly standard, but I loved the cheerful wait staff, including my waiter who seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of chatter and songs to sing to himself as he worked.

Cafe St

September in Paris was incredible – but over a week into October, and I have to say it’s possibly looking even better. Stay tuned.

Paris: A Few Places to Visit in Lieu of the Louvre

Paris’s most famous museum, the Louvre, and I have a tortured relationship. On the one hand, I think the scope of the artwork contained within the Louvre’s walls is flat-out amazing, and as an art and history nerd, I love visiting its collections. On the other hand…crowds.

See, the thing is, I like the Louvre in theory, but I don’t actually enjoy visiting it in practice. Yet, despite my frustrations with the museum, I’ve somehow wound up there on each of my previous trips to Paris (see here, here, and here). This time around, I decided I was better off avoiding the stress of squeezing through crowds of people clamoring to see the Mona Lisa. Luckily for me, Paris had plenty of other museums and attractions to fill my days with. In addition to my beloved Rodin Museum, here are a few of the other spots I enjoyed.

Musée de l’Orangerie:



About five minutes into my visit to the Orangerie Museum, I had this thought: why oh why had I never been here before? Located right next to the Louvre, the Orangerie is a treat – it’s a small, manageable collection, but it is filled with amazing treasures (think Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and a chorus of other favorites). The bottom level hosts a top-notch gallery of impressionist artwork, but the main level is home to the real stunner: Monet’s Water Lilies, not pictured here because photographs are strictly forbidden. I loved seeing the large paintings in person (and couldn’t help but think of this scene from one of my favorite movies all the while) (if only the museum could’ve been that empty when I visited).

Getting there: Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France (Métro: Concorde)

Palais Garnier (Paris Opéra):




I love Europe’s grand opera houses, and I can now add Paris’s Palais Garnier to the list of stunning opera houses I’ve had the pleasure of visiting (along with my other favorites in Budapest and Palermo). While I didn’t have the wardrobe – or the budget, to be honest – to swing an actual opera performance on this trip, exploring the impossibly large interior was still a treat. The opera is decked out to the max, and it was incredible to take it all in: the huge, vaulted ceilings, the ornate stonework, the glittering chandeliers, the beautiful painted frescoes. Ooh la la, indeed.

Getting there: 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France (Métro: Opéra or Chaussée d’Antin-La Fayette)

Galeries Lafayette:



When I’m on vacation, I hate shopping. It always feels like a waste to me: I’d rather spend my money (and time!) on seeing the sites and eating the food, not holed away in a department store buying clothing that I could probably get back home. It might seem odd, then, that Galeries Lafayette – a gigantic, upscale department store – would be on my agenda for Paris.

In fact, I didn’t shop at Galeries Lafayette at all; rather, I came to gawk at the ornate, golden ceiling. The building’s interior is truly stunning, and a quick stop here was well-worth braving the crowds of serious shoppers. Galeries Lafayette was beautiful enough as it was, but I would love to come back someday and see it decorated for Christmas – I can only imagine how awe-inspiring it would be then.

Getting there: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France (Métro: Chaussée d’Antin-La Fayette)

Centre Pompidou:

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Confession: Though Centre Pompidou is home to a museum of modern art, I bought a ticket with no intention of visiting the collection. Nope, I came for only one reason – the view. I had heard that the view from Pompidou was amazing, and it did not disappoint; taking a series of escalators up to the top, I found myself with a great vantage point over the city, with the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur looming in the distance. Perhaps one day I’ll go back for the art, but this time around, I was plenty satisfied with taking in the sweet views.

Getting there: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France (Métro: Hôtel de Ville)

Canal Saint-Martin:

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Here’s my big takeaway about Canal Saint-Martin: I wish I had had more time to spend there. After grabbing lunch at Jules et Shim, I took a little stroll around the canal, but it would have been nice to linger longer. The area is lovely, and in the summertime, the Canal seems like a perfect spot to relax, hang out, and just soak up Paris. This one definitely goes on my “must revisit” list for the next time I’m in town.

Getting there: 10th arrondissement (Métro: Jacques Bonsergent)

Love Locks on Pont de l’Archevêché:

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Okay, okay – I realize this spot is just as crawling with tourists as the Louvre (and I realize that it’s not a great idea to begin with, as the bridge is collapsing), but I always find the Love Locks bridge oddly fascinating. On the one hand, there’s something terribly cheesy about adding a lock to the bridge. On the other, if there’s any place to be unabashedly romantic, it’s probably Paris, and it is pretty interesting to peruse the locks, which tend to range from sentimental and sappy to humorous and bizarre. Plus, it seems that every time I pass over this bridge, I see a couple taking wedding photographs – and I’m not going to lie, I find the the thought of that, getting married in Paris, to be incredibly charming.

Getting there: Located behind Notre Dame (Métro: Maubert-Mutualité)

So, there you have it: a catalog of how I passed my time while in Paris (when I wasn’t eating copious éclairs, of course). I’m sure I will gather up the courage to brave the crowds at the Louvre again one day in the future, but it’s nice to know that in the meanwhile, there’s plenty else to do in the city.

Paris: Adventures in the 5th at the Jardin des Plantes and Grand Mosque

One of the things I love about big cities is that there always seems to be a new neighborhood to explore. In New York City, there are entire boroughs that I’ve yet to conquer. In London, I’m dying to spend more time in Shoreditch (and a million other neighborhoods, to be honest). And in Paris? Well, let’s just say that, even after four visits to the City of Lights, there are many arrondissements left to be discovered. Instead of being overwhelmed by everything left to see, I like to think of this as a good thing; after all, this means I have plenty of excuses to return to each city.

Still, it’s good to chip away at your “to-see” list, and while in Paris this time around, I did make it to several new-to-me neighborhoods. One area that I spent a good chunk of time exploring was the 5th arrondissement, where I visited the Jardin des Plantes and the Grand Mosque – two spots I had never quite been able to work into previous Paris itineraries.

Getting off the metro at Place Monge, I emerged above ground and found myself in the middle of the Place Monge market – literally. The area was filled with vendors, shoppers, and street musicians, and I’m sure I could have happily passed the sunny afternoon at Place Monge alone. However, I had places to see, so I continued on.

First up, Le Jardin des Plantes, Paris’s botanical garden. Jardin des Plantes is home to several greenhouses, a large outdoor garden, and a zoo. While the jungle-like atmospheres inside the greenhouses were interesting to explore, I enjoyed the outdoor gardens even more. Not only were they free (it costs two euros to enter the greenhouses), they were also in full spring bloom.

Besides an incident where a random man asked me to visit the zoo with him (thanks but no thanks, creepy French stranger), I truly enjoyed my visit to the Jardin des Plantes. I’m always a sucker for beautiful flowers, and you certainly find plenty of them here. Plus, in the middle of bustling and busy Paris, it’s nice to find an idyllic escape.

From the Jardin des Plantes, I walked a few blocks to Paris’s Grand Mosque. After visiting Morocco a few years back, I love seeking out Arabic-influenced design in Europe, so this was right up my alley. Walking through the archway into the Mosque’s courtyard, I felt like I was right back in Morocco, with all the plants, tiled floors, and fountains.

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I love that something like this – something with an aesthetic that’s distinctly un-Parisian – exists right in the middle of the city, just waiting to be discovered.

When you visit Paris, the first landmarks on your mind are probably the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or the Arc d’Triomphe. And while those are undoubtedly must-sees, I was excited to find a few of the lesser-known gems this time around. They may not be quintessential Paris, but both the Jardin des Plants and the Grand Mosque are worth your time.

Paris: A Taste of the Marais

When you are an American in Paris, traversing the city in search of the best food, it is cliché – but perhaps inevitable – to invoke Julia Child, she of the unbounded enthusiasm for France’s culinary pleasures. Winding through the city’s charming streets and eating in its delicious restaurants, I kept thinking about her – and one specific piece of Julia Child wisdom in particular continued to pop into my mind:

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

It’s true, isn’t it, though? Everywhere I went this semester, from Budapest to Stockholm to Lisbon and beyond, I made a point to search for the local delicacies. Along the way, I met plenty of people who were passionate about food: cheesemakers with an encyclopedic knowledge about how fromage is aged, chocolatiers who take pride in infusing their treats with unexpected flavors, shop owners who are passionate about sourcing their ingredients from local suppliers, and, of course, fellow traveling foodies, searching, like me, for their next great bite. And all of these folks, all of these culinary enthusiasts from every corner of Europe (and beyond), were pretty wonderful people, just as good old Julia promised they would be.

I met up with one such group of awesome foodies in Paris, where I took the Taste of the Marais food tour with Paris by Mouth. Led by our excellent guide, Jennifer, we began at 134 RdT Bakery. Just how good is this place? In 2013, it won 2nd place for the best croissant in Paris, and in 2009, it took home 2nd for the best baguette – a pretty notable feat in a town jam-packed with world class bakeries.

We stocked up on goodies and headed to a nearby park to snack. There, our guide explained exactly what to look for when shopping for your daily croissant or baguette. When picking a croissant, make sure to buy the croissant au beurre, made with real butter (stay away from the croissant ordinaire, baked with margarine).

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When it comes to baguettes, look for bakeries labeled “Artisan Boulanger” – this means that everything is mixed and baked right on site. As for the baguette itself, when you cut into it, its interior shouldn’t be too white – think more of a beige or light brown – and it should have large, irregular holes (note: if you’re interested in learning more about what makes a baguette great, this video from Paris By Mouth is pretty handy).

Fortified by our delicious croissant and baguettes, we headed around the corner to Jacques Genin, purveyor of gourmet chocolate, caramels, and pâtes de fruits. Genin himself, we were told, has a bit of reputation for being eccentric and mercurial – in other words, he’s pretty much what you would expect any artistic genius to be.

Genius, by the way, is not a word I use lightly; the confections at Jacques Genin were incredible. We were lucky enough to sample several treats. First, we tried spearmint chocolates. Genin grows his own herbs on his rooftop, and the mint flavor he gets in his chocolates is incredibly pure. In my iPhone notes, I excitedly typed, “like eating a sprig of mint!!” (which, indeed, it was.)

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We also tried the famous Jacques Genin caramels, which people affectionately – and not without good reason – dub “butter bombs.” These were unlike any caramel I have ever tried before, as they weren’t chewy at all; they simply melted in your mouth. I sampled a mango flavored caramel and a regular one and, after leaving the tour, those two morsels seemed inadequate – I regretted not buying more to take home with me!

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When it comes to sweets, I’m definitely a chocolate kind of gal – so it was a surprise to me that my highlight at Jacques Genin was not chocolate at all, but rather the brightly-colored pâtes de fruits. These come in a variety of flavors, including raspberry, mango, banana, and blood orange (the flavor I chose). The genius of these treats was much like the spearmint chocolate: the fruit flavor that comes through is concentrated and strong; there’s no excessive, sickly-sweet sugariness, just pure fruit.

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Next, we walked to Thiercelin Épicerie Fine, a spice shop frequented by the likes of Jacques Genin and Alain Ducasse. The point here was not necessarily to eat – though we did sample a truly delicious honey (said as someone who doesn’t even like honey) – but rather to get a glimpse into the place where some of Paris’s best chefs purchase their wares. It was fascinating to browse through the shop and note the unique spices for sale, some of which I had never heard of before.

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We also stopped by Ramella Charcuterie to stock up on more goodies. Much like Thiercelin, Ramella was a fascinating place just to browse to get a sense of what ordinary Parisians eat. After work, rather than cooking a meal, Parisians will often stop by their local traiteur (a take-out deli) or charcuterie for provisions. As for us, we nabbed a Rosette de Lyon (a French pork sausage) and a duck rillette to spread atop our bread (both of which we sat down and enjoyed later, at the last stop of our tour).

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Just across the street, we found Fromagerie Jouannault, home to some seriously stinky (and tasty, of course) cheeses. The sign out front has the word affineur on it, signalling that Jounnault has its own affineur, or expert in the fine art of aging cheese. Jennifer purchased several cheeses for our group, which we would sample later (if you can handle the cheesy suspense…)

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(Just a little duck-face fromage selfie, as one does in Paris)

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We also made a quick detour to Caractère de Cochon, an épicerie specializing in ham (the only shop of its kind in Paris, Jennifer told us). There, we sampled a few bites: a ham from Umbria, aged two years in wine (called Umbria ubriaco – meaning drunk!); a ham from Spanish pigs who had been fed only acorns, aged four years; and pickled garlic. I liked it all – even the pickled garlic! – and have sworn to myself that the next time I’m in France, I’ll stop by to pick up one of their ham sandwiches for a cheap but gourmet lunch.

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The Umbrian ham, aged in wine:

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The Spanish ham, with a hint of acorn:

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The pickled garlic:

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We ended our afternoon at Bibo Vino, a wine shop dedicated to ecological and sustainable practices. In addition to sampling three of Bibo Vino’s tasty wines (a Côtes du Rhône, a Sauvignon blanc from the Loire, and a wine from Corbières), we also ate the bread, cheese, and meat we had collected from earlier stops. I adore cheese, so this just may have been my favorite part of the day, as we got to eat five cheeses, each of them delicious:

  • Mothias sur Feuille: A goat cheese from the Poitou-Charentes region of western France, aged 2-4 weeks at 100% humidity. The cheese is aged with a chestnut leaf (to help it retain moisture) and has a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Rouelle du Tarn: Another goat cheese, this time from the Tarn region (near Toulouse). These cheese is also aged 2-4 weeks, and I found that it had a nice, herby taste.
  • Camembert de Normandie: This cheese is made with unpasteurized milk from a Normandy cow, aged about four weeks, and has a hint of mushroom in its flavor. It’s also nicknamed les pieds de Dieu – or “the feet of God” – so you know it must be good.
  • Comté AOC: Coming from cows in the Jura region, this cheese is aged for 30 months and is the most popular in France. Jennifer told us that it can contain notes of “melted butter, milk chocolate, hazelnuts, toast, leather, pepper, butterscotch, and sweet orange.” While I won’t go as far as claiming that I could taste all that in the cheese, I will say this: it was my absolute favorite of the day, hands down (iPhone notes, verbatim: “so so so so good!”). I wish I could buy this stuff in the US.
  • Roquefort AOC: Made from sheep’s milk from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, this cheese is generally aged three months (though it can be aged for as long as ten). While blue cheeses aren’t generally my favorites, I was glad I tried this one – I wound up enjoying it quite a bit.

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The sausage and duck rillette, purchased earlier at Ramella but eaten (and enjoyed!) at Bibo Vino:

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As is probably clear, I ended the day in a glorious cheese coma (and, since we still had leftover cheese after the tour ended, I was sent home with a generous bag of it for dinner – not that I complained). I also ended the day certain that the Taste of the Marais tour is a pretty stellar way to spend an afternoon in Paris. Not only was the food top-notch, but the experience itself was so memorable – learning about what makes certain products great and how the French eat was endlessly fascinating to me. With all the enthusiasm of my gal Julia, there’s only one thing left to say, a most hearty “Bon Appétit!”