Spring is in the air – finally! With a week of sunshine behind us after two months of near-incessant rain we’ve been delving into our little black book to share some of Paris’s must-not-miss secrets and some of the gourmet stand-outs in our 6-second guide to the best of the city of love.
Rather sadly, the number of independent fromageries in Paris has fallen by half in the past 20 years. But one of the country’s best is Laurent Dubois, and he’s flying the flag high for French cheese.
Here at his beautiful shop you’ll find an extraordinary selection of expertly aged fromages, all so good and so “must have more of”, that the queue stretches outside the door on Saturdays.
Need to know: Don’t help yourself! The experts are there to advise and help you discover a new favourite, which they’ll then hand wrap for you to take away and enjoy with a fresh Parisian baguette or biscuits for an al fresco spring lunch on a bench in the nearest park.
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois is at 47 ter Blvd. St.-Germain, Fifth Arr.; 33-1/43-54-50-93.
Make your way to the Sixth Arrondissement serving inventive tapas from France and settle in for a meal at L’Avant Comptoir. Interestingly, this place started out as a meeting point for diners waiting for a table at the always busy Le Comptoir du Relais next door and it’s now a destination unto itself.
The eclectic, inventive and international menu includes seasonal and locally-produced favourites like artichokes and Bordier butter from Brittany, fleur de sel from the Béarn, jamón ibérico from the Pays Basque and so much more.
Handsome Frenchman Pierre Jancou is a natural wine guru who lived in Italy for many years and likes to keep things simple yet delicious.
Rather quirkily, Vivant used to be a bird shop and it’s now THE place to sample over 150 types of biodynamic and organic wines, and the food is excellent, too. 43 Rue des Petites Écuries, 10th Arr.; 33-1/42-46-43-55.
Great British Bake-Off fans will fall in love with G. Detou! It’s a treasure trove full of endless rows of culinary treats from candied violets; pearl sugar; baking chocolates of all forms; flavor extracts; and tinned sardines decorate this store, which also sells everything a chef could need for his or her kitchen.
You’ll make some seriously interesting food finds here and the foodie gift potential is huge, too – much of the packaging is almost too pretty to open. Rue Tiquetonne, Second Arr.; 33-1/42-33-96-43.
Boulangerie Eric Kayser
Dubbed Éric ‘McKayser’ because of the number of locations he has opened, the famous Paris-based pâtissier owns branches across the French capital as well as in Moscow, Tokyo, and Dakar, Senegal.
A third-generation baker, Kayser’s creative, seasonal treats include a bichon au citron, a flaky turnover filled with delicate lemon curd and a subtle caramel crunch on top.
Everything here is baked to perfection, from traditional baguettes to the most ornate glazed fruit tarts…
Autour d’un Verre
Over to the Ninth Arrondissement now for some hearty comfort food and organic wines in a down-home style setting created by chef owners Kevin Blackwell, from California, and his Welsh girlfriend, Victoria Perry. The two have created a no-frills destination where the food is good and the furnishings are simple, a great place for a low key dinner before bed if you have an early flight back to the UK in the morning. 21 Rue de Trévise, Ninth Arr.; 33-1/48-24-43-74