Eating my way through Rue Montorgueil

Discover Walks  invited me and a few other bloggers on a food tour along rue Montorgueil. Our lovely guide, Marie, gave us an authentic tour of this iconic Parisian street that is home to numerous cafes, boulangeries, patisseries, and butcheries. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and all the shops were just beginning to open. Our tour concluded in a picnic with all the French staples: bread, cheese, charcuterie, and pastries…

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Marie posing with our baguette 

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Our first stop was a fromagerie called La Fermette. Marie told us that France has 370 types of cheeses so if you’re up for the challenge you can eat a different kind of cheese each day of the year. Roquefort is the oldest (and smelliest). The origin of the blue color is from the limestone in the Roquefort region. We settled with a less pungent Roquefort and a few goat cheeses.

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Next, we headed to a boulangerie Blouet to buy our baguette. Bread is sacred to the French. The French are so reliant on their baguette that there is a French law forbidding boulangeries in the same area from going on vacation at the same time. Nevertheless, I know French families who keep a frozen baguette in their freezer, just in case. There is a competition each year called the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française for the coveted prize of best baguette of the year. In 2015, the winner was Le Grenier a Pain. Originally the baguette was bread for working men who would get into fights with their bread knives. To discourage the use of knives, the longer traditional baguette was created so it could be broken, not cut. This is why now you break your baguette. Do not make the faux pas of cutting a baguette! Fun fact: the croûton or end of the baguette is supposedly the best part. It is always a fight to get it!

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We then stopped at a butcherie to complete our charcuterie board with pâté, garlic sausage, goose rillettes, and saucisson. We went to a park by Les Halles where we enjoyed all the delicacies we bought from the day.

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#bloggers

Let’s not forget dessert. Next we strolled to Sohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris, where the Queen of England visited. They pride themselves on having the best chocolate éclair in Paris. We ended our tour at Fou de Patisserie, which sells all the best pastries of Paris from the most renowned chefs and shops. We sampled lemon Financiers and the Mille-Feuille, consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream. A perfect ending to the tour!

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If you would like to take part in this awesome tour, use my code BLOGLOVE10 to receive 10% off.

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Best coffee shops in Paris

Boot Café (Marais)

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Carrot Cake + Latte

Adorable little cafe in the Marais, extremely tiny though. There is only room for four tables. They serve gourmet coffee and baked goods.

La Caféothèque (4th arr)

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Go here to study or read. Lots of space and great coffee!

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

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Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Huguette Maison de Famille (6th arr)

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Coffee shop by the Jardin du Luxembourg. One of my favorite lattes in Paris is their Golden Latte avec curcuma, canelle, gingembre, et miel. So delicious! They also have a nice Matcha Latte.

Honor (Champs Élysées)

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Outdoor gourmet coffee shop off the streets of the Champs Élysées

Lily of the Valley (Marais)

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Pink grandma-style tea house in the heart of the Marais. They offer a vast assortment of tea (green, black, white, etc.) that you can also get to-go.

Coutume Café (6th arr)

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One of my favorite coffee shops in the 6th. They serve high-end coffee, delicious baked goods, and healthy breakfast items.

Le Peloton (Marais)

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A coffee shop founded by the owners of Bike About Tours. They offer artisan coffee, homemade snacks, and bike tours.

Best Healthy Cafés in Paris

Wild & the Moon (Marais)

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Acai Bowl

A vegan/vegetarian café using plant-based and sustainably grown ingredients. They offer juices, smoothies, soups, salads, vegetable bowls, and packaged snacks (kale chips, fruit bars, hummus, etc.). Located on rue Charlot in between chic art galleries and hand-crafted jewelry stores. Highly recommend.

Holybelly (10th arr)

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Holy Baked Beans + Champignons

Popular brunch and lunch spot with healthy vegan and vegetarian options. They change their menu monthly based on what is in season— exactly what I like to hear. Relaxed and casual atmosphere. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre)

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Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options. Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture.

La Guinguette d’Angèle (1st and 11th arr)

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Lunch Box (changes daily)

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Known for her beautiful and feminine plates decorated with flower petals and herbs, Angèle brings you gluten-free delicacies. Angèle is leading the way in the emerging Parisian health food movement. She has a small take-away shop in the 1er, a café or salon de thé in the 11è, and a catering service. She is also working on her second cook book and TV show on La Quotidienne. I am slightly biased because I work for Angèle, but I firmly support her philosophy of creating natural and healthy dishes.

Café Oberkampf (11th arr)

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Green Eggs + Feta, Avo Toast, Ham Sandwich

One of my favorite affordable brunch spots in Paris. They offer delicious Shakshuka and Green Eggs + Feta (pictured above), as well as an assortment of toasts and sandwiches. Again, be prepared to wait on the weekends as the café only sits around ~15 people at a time. My friend and I were so eager to eat after waiting 40 minutes that we ordered 3 entrées between the two of us! No regrets.

Merci (3rd arr, Marais)

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Butternut Squash + Lentil Salad with citrus dressing, Lavender Scones

Merci is a combined home goods store and cafe. You have probably seen an Instagram photo of girls posing in front of the vintage mini car (painted either bright yellow or red) that is located in the courtyard. The walls are lined with books and it is common for customers to bring their well-groomed dogs. Enjoy a butternut squash and lentil salad along with lavender infused scones.

13- a Baker’s Dozen (6th arr)

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Delicious healthy dishes. They are known for their homemade biscuits and gourmet coffees (must try the mocha and pumpkin spice latte). It is owned by two charming women— one from Sweden and one from the US. The cafe is very small and cozy, off of the main street and tucked away in an alley. They also speak English here.

Season (Marais)

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Acai Bowl, Salmon Eggs Benedict, Pancakes with maple bacon

Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple. They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Lomi (18th arr)

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Salmon avo toast

Excellent drip coffee and salmon avocado toast. A great place to bring your laptop and get work done.

Ob-La-Di (Marais)

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Matcha Bowls + Drip Coffee

Small coffee shop with organic coffee and brunch items.

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

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Celery Soup + Beet Hummus Toast + Salad

Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Biglove Caffè (Marais)

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Part of the Ober Mamma Italian chain. Not the healthiest brunch items but everything is delicious. We ordered the brioche french toast and truffle eggs, along with a pistachio and chocolate latté.

Other:

Le Tricycle  (10th arr) 100% vegan

Nous (9th and 10th arr)

Pinson (Marais)

Miznon (Marais)

 

 

One Month in Paris

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Le Marais

My love of France stems from my mother. Our cousins are French and my mom lived in France after college teaching English. I grew up sharing her love for the language, culture, and food. Although the most distinct memory I have of Paris as a child is my mom getting pick-pocketed at the Notre Dame, Paris still had a strong appeal to me. I was drawn to the sophistication and grace of the culture. To me, France represented elegance and refinement, traits that as a little girl I tried to emulate. While this is a highly idealized picture of France—it is not all wine, cheese, and romance— I still hold on to those fantasies as an adult.

Coming from a family of ardent travelers, I was exposed to many different cultures when I was young. At ten years old I did not appreciate our month-long escapades; I actually cried when I had to miss a month of school to go to Thailand. However, these trips shaped my view of the world and gave me an innate love of exploring. Once I was mature enough to value traveling, I wanted to live in a foreign country. During university I had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris for four months. Regrettably, I lived in an English-speaking bubble and my French did not improve, much to my mother’s dismay. I took classes with Americans, lived with Americans, and traveled with Americans. My priority was hitting all the touristy places in Europe with my American friends—not meeting French people or getting assimilated into the culture. I also realized that four months is nothing. I needed to go back for a longer period of time. I was not ready to make the leap after graduation and decided work in San Francisco at a financial health care consulting firm. After a year, living abroad was still on the back of my mind. I found an ideal nannying position that allowed me the flexibility to work part-time and pursue other interests. So here I am, working as a nanny, taking French classes, applying to grad school, and interning at La Guingette d’Angèle. I’ve also now started looking into graduate programs in Paris since education is more affordable here than in the US. Highly recommend considering this if you want to go back to school and live abroad!

After a month (and a week), I’m more integrated than I expected. I live in an adorable little studio in the Latin Quarter surrounded by cafes and boulangeries. I’m around the corner from the Panthéon, Jardin du Luxembourg, and the Midnight in Paris stairs. The Jardin du Luxembourg has become my favorite place in Paris. In 1612 Queen Marie de Medici purchased the land and organized the construction of the garden, inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Now, I run here a few times a week and walk through the park on my way to class. Casual. I enjoy watching kids play with toy-sailboats in the pond and people playing pétanque or jeu de boules (a game played with small steel and wooden balls). Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book so I often daydream that I am back in 19th century England strolling through Mr. Darcy’s garden. Even after a month, I am still in awe that a park of this grandeur and beauty exists just a few blocks from my apartment.

During the week I pick up the children (9 and 13) at 16h30 then practice English and play chess with them for a couple hours. The children are extremely well-behaved and mature. I’ve noticed that French children are more independent than American children. The children can walk to school on their own, run errands, prepare their own meals, and even make chocolate chip cookies from scratch! The thirteen year-old girl has started her own food Instagram so we can bond over our mutual obsession of food photography.

The hardest part so far has been going from being a young professional working in the corporate world to a glorified baby-sitter making one-seventh of what I used to make. I find French people surprisingly welcoming and friendly but I am still the expat living in an unknown country. I am not fluent in French and do not understand every conversation so at times it can be isolating and frustrating. Even simple tasks like picking up a package at the post office or opening a French bank account can be daunting. You cannot defend or argue for yourself, which is infuriating when you know you are right. Don’t get me wrong it has been easier to meet people than I anticipated. I automatically had the expat community to fall back on and friends living in the city; then from there I met fellow bloggers, friends of friends, other UCLA alumni, etc. There are countless resources— you just need to take advantage of them. I’ve joined meet-ups, Facebook groups, expat communities, and Franglish. My natural inclination is to get involved and to not miss out (#fomo), a trait I undoubtedly inherited from my mother, who is a social butterfly. Although I am no butterfly, my friends applaud my boundless energy and enthusiasm to try new things. I am still getting my bearings and figuring out what to do next, but for now I am enjoying my chocolat chaud and croissant from the café below my apartment. C’est la vie!

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Château de Fontainebleau

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Monmartre

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Jardin du Luxembourg

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Jardin du Luxembourg

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Parc des Buttes Chaumont

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Paris Photo at Grand Palais

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Paris Photo at Grand Palais

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Le jardin de Monet à Giverny

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Vétheuil

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Château de Fontainebleau

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Fontainebleau

La Cuisine Française

My food adventures from the last month:

Casa San Pablo (Marais): Tapas

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Balsamic mushrooms and calamari

Cute tapas restaurant in Le Marais. Order a few tapas to share and enjoy with a pitcher of Sangria on the side of the street. Waiters are friendly and happy to help you practice French 🙂

Season (Marais): Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple

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Quinoa Salad and Shakshuka

They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I need to go back and try their acai bowl. ALSO GIVEAWAY: if you like my new wood watch (Frankie Dark Sandalwood & Emerald) then enter in a contest for the chance to win a $75 gift card. PLUS everyone who enters automatically receives a $20 gift card.

Wooden Wristwatch

Mariage Frères (Multiple Locations): Famous up-scale tea house

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Classic brunch course (bougie eggs, vegetables, brioche, dessert, and choice of tea)

This is the kind of place I reserve for special occasions. The service and decor is elegant and refined. I celebrated my 23rd birthday here with my friend Dawkins, a dear friend who I’ve known since I was three. They have excellent tea and desserts. My favorite is Pleine Lune (almond black tea with honey) and Imperial Wedding (chocolate black tea with caramel). The tea list is extensive and daunting so ask for recommendations, otherwise you will be lost.

Bob’s Kitchen (Marias) Casual laid-back vegan/vegetarian café

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Green Curry Veggie Bowl

Enjoy delicious home-made food and juices in a relaxed and casual setting. Bob’s Kitchen is hidden off of one streets by the centre Pompidou—you would not notice it, unless seeking it out, like I was. They have a small kitchen and serve dishes until they run out. They are known for their daily vegetable bowls. I got the green curry veggie bowl that comes with brown rice, sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, and broccoli. The other two options were lentil curry and peanut curry.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre) Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options

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Curry lentils with vegetables, greek yogurt, and toasted coconut

Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture. Highly recommend!

Angelina (Rue de Rivoli) Famous tea house known for their chocolat chaud and Mont Blanc dessert

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Famous hot chocolate

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Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon

The best chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) in Paris!  It is touristy but the hot chocolate is the creamiest and richest I’ve ever drunk. It is so thick and decadent that I would almost classify it has pudding. I recommend putting on your most Blair Waldorf esque outfit and coming with a couple girlfriends on a chilly day.

Au P’tit Grec (Latin Quarter) Best street crêpes in Paris

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Crêpe with ham, chèvre, tomatoes, and lettuce

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Extremely delicious street crêpes located on Rue Mouffetard— lucky me it’s right down the street. My favorite combination (because there are hundreds) is jambon (ham), chèvre (goat cheese), salade (greens), tomate (tomatoes), aubergine (eggplant), and herbs de provence!

L’As du Fallafel (Marais) Famous out-of-this-world falafel place

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Situated in the heart of Le Marais, my favorite area in Paris, on Rue des Rosiers. The best falafel in Paris and I’ll go as far to say, the best street food in Paris! For only 6 euros you can enjoy a heaping pita filled with falafel, aubergine, cabbage, and special spicy tahini sauce.  There is always a line so I recommend avoid going on the weekend. You will wait at least 40 minutes.

Du Pain et Des Idées (10th arr)  Delicious baked goods

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A famous boulangerie known for their pistachio-chocolate escargot croissant.