paris

post51 // 48 hours in paris

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bonjour! i hope your november is off to a wonderful start, with the bundling of scarves and sipping of hot cocoas already making you feel the coziest you’ve been all year. at least that’s how i feel 🤗.

it’s truly fall here in paris! the leaves have almost all fallen off their mama branches and the temperature is starting to drop. daylight savings is past and i can now wake up without it being pitch dark outside, woohoo! in celebration of this beautiful season, i compiled a 48 hour guide to paris, specific to this leafy, festive, and warming (check) time of year! some notes:

this guide is not for the list checker. no, it doesn’t include every major sight and you may not recognize every area or name. instead, this guide is for someone who wants to really see paris: to see the brasseries, to see french people sunbathing in luxembourg gardens, to see what they eat and how they are. of course, there’s some great food in here too. so if you’re interested, hop on board!

day one, morning

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pastry breakfast at a local boulangerie: all hail the boulangerie! for those of you who were stumped by the word like i was, it translates to a bakery, specifically one focused on bread products. many boulangeries in paris also include viennoserie — typically laminated bread products i.e. puff pastry, croissants, the pain au chocolat above — and sometimes patisserie — a term you’re likely more familiar with, indicating pastries i.e. macaroons, tarts, etc. regardless of your hotel (though i’ve listed some great suggestions below!), you’ll be seconds away from a solid boulangerie in paris. they’re frequent and smell wonderfully doughy from the outside sidewalk so don’t be shy — head in and pick up a croissant! find it! but do note that many boulangeries are not open on sundays

rodin museum: this museum is a true treat in the fall as the gardens are shades of green, yellow, orange and everything in between. the artist behind the museum is auguste rodin, a french sculptor during the late 19th-century, early 20th-century. below you can see his (arguably) most famous work, Le Penseur a.k.a The Thinker. additionally, the gardens and museum offer a fabulous view of the hôtel des invalides. 77 rue de varenne, 75007 paris, open 10am-5:45pm every day except monday

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afternoon

lunch at kapunka: it’d be a shame for you to come all the way to paris and not taste some of the incredible ethnic foods this city has to offer. it’s half the fun (or more)! kapunka is a thai restaurant that i have absolutely fallen in love with here. musts: tom kha kaï soup to start, pad thaï, and their mango rice. 32 rue delambre, 75014 paris (with other locations in paris), open 11:30am-3:30pm and 6:30pm-11pm every day but sunday

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a walk through luxembourg garden: there’s no prettier place to digest a big lunch than here. if the sun’s out, grab a seat like a true parisian and get some color on your face. despite the crowds, this place can make you feel miles away from the city. jardin du luxembourg, 75006 paris

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snack time at pierre hermé: depending on how long you sunbathed, you might be a bit hungry! never fear. ditch the touristed and overblown macaroons at ladurée and head to pierre hermé. their entire showcase, macaroons included, are exquisite and definitely something you can’t get anywhere else! my favorite? their salted caramel macaroon. 72 rue bonaparte, 75006 paris, open 10am-7pm daily

evening

if you’re like me than the following activities don’t begin without a nap. grab some quick zzz’s before heading out for a night on the town!

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walk through saint-germain: it’s hard not to be enchanted with this neighborhood. saint-germain is filled with gothic architecture, pedestrian-only streets, live music, bustling brasseries, shops, the list goes on! for a weekend night, it’s a wonderful place to soak up culture and enjoy the evening. walking through saint-germain’s alleys and under it’s arches will definitely wake you up and work up an appetite for dinner.

dinner at le relais de l’entrecote: now, there are many, many, many!!! steak frites restaurants throughout paris. i am not here to say le relais de l’entrecote is the best as i haven’t been to them all. but, if you are looking for a solid steak frites option, this is a great one. service is wonderful, food is served immediately, and there’s a beautiful indoor-outdoor patio out front. there’s no menu so all you have to choose is wine. voilà! 20 rue saint-benoît (with other locations in paris), 75006 paris, open 12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-11:30pm daily

second round of wine at bar etna: a cozy bar in the middle of a bustling street! bar etna will make you feel at home, and their wine doesn’t hurt either. 33 rue mazarine, 75006 paris, open 6:30pm-2am tuesday-saturday

day two, morning

breakfast at fragments coffee shop and cafe: i linked to this gem of a cafe last week in last week’s post and i still can’t get enough! their sweet potato cake is superb and though you may never feel as cool as the hipsters who walk in here, it’s a great place to people watch the young and hip frenchies. 76 rue de tournelles, 75003 paris, open 10am-6pm on weekends

sit in the place des vosges: this is the oldest planned square in all of paris and boy was it planned well. take in the sun and grab a seat at one of the endless benches that line the square. place des vosges, 75004 paris

afternoon

lunch at glou: luckily you didn’t fill up too much at fragments, leaving plenty of room for a delicious lunch at glou. though they offer both entrees and small plates, i’d recommend the latter. highlights: comte cheese, eggplant. 101 rue vieillle du temple, 75003 paris, open 12pm-5pm and 7:30pm-11pm on weekends

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shopping in le marais or le pompidou: your choice! in terms of shopping, le marais is the place for interiors and clothing. my favorite shop in the marais has to be les milles feuilles (translates to the thousand leaves), an interior shop. give it a look! 2 rue rambuteau, 75003 paris, open 10:30am-7:30pm on saturdays and 2pm-7pm on sundays

and the pompidou! check out the exhibits they’re running as you get ready for your trip. some are pretty unbelievable. not to mention, the architecture of the building itself: a staircase you don’t want to miss! place georges-pompidou, 75004 paris 

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walk down to aux merveilleux de fred: eat a true french meringue, covered in chocolate shavings, exploding with buttercream from all sides. sounds good, right? the meringues at aux merveilleux de fred are so beautiful and inviting, you might just have to have more than one. think of it as dinner’s appetizer! 24 rue de pont louis-philippe (with other locations in paris), 75004 paris, open 9am-8pm

evening

eat dinner at la régalade saint-honoré: come here for the soufflé. stay for the soufflé. eat the soufflé. 106 rue saint honoré, 75001 paris, open 12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-11pm on weekends

nightcap at harry’s: end your trip with a nightcap at the home of the bloody mary and the french 75. known as the original cocktail bar, this “new york bar” was a popular spot for expats in the 1920s. with history and liquor on your side, head to harry’s for a true time warp. 5 rue daunou, 75002 paris, open 12pm-2am on saturdays and 4pm-1am on sundays

lodging recos

hotel relais saint germain 9 carrefour de l’odeon, 75006 paris

hotel emile 2 rue Mahler, 75004 paris

or this uber chic airbnb rue delambre, 75014 montparnasse


planning your trip yet?


all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs with the exception of the 6th photo by sofitel, and the 5th and last photo by her mama, caroline fawcett

 

post49 // french wine, explained

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hey hey! happy tuesday! the past couple weekends have been a crazy whirlwind of adventures for me sandwiched between days and nights spent cake making and fish gutting during the week. i know it’s only tuesday but i hope you’ll have a glass of wine tonight after hearing my learnings from the most informative wine tour there ever was…

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a significant wine program is offered at Le Cordon Bleu, where students learn about wine and food pairings as well French wine, it’s history, how it’s made, how it tastes. though i’m not enrolled in their wine program, the department offers a wine tour of the loire valley each trimester. they didn’t have to ask me twice to join! along with some friends from my cuisine and pastry program, and my mom who was in paris visiting at the time, we set out at the crack of dawn for the two hour trip south of paris.

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first stop: Vincent Carême Winery in vernou-sur-brenne

if the entrance to this wine cellar wasn’t enchanting enough, margaux, the winery owner’s oversized dachshund was. margaux accompanied us on our morning visit through the Carême vineyards and well into our wine tasting there. the region we visited within the loire valley was known for it’s sparkling white wines, and specifically vouvray at the Carême vineyards. vouvray wine is made from the chenin blanc grape. it can be produced into both sparkling and still wines, my favorite from our tasting being their sparkling vouvray.

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wondering how they get such great sparkling wine? here are some reasons:
  1. fermentation. the actual sparklization (i made up a word today!) of the wine occurs because it has been carbonated — in Carême’s case by an extra fermentation. this fermentation happens as sugar ferments into alcohol. most interesting to the Caréme wines though was that they don’t add additional sugars to their wine. none! instead, the natural sugars from their grapes do the work, leaving a wine that is wholly organic. it’s great for avoiding hangovers too, bye excess sugar!
  2. soil. if i learned one thing on this tour, it was that soil matters. with both vineyard visits, letting the soil do it’s own thing was of the most importance. for the Carême winery, they hand-pick all their grapes, limiting as much machinery as possible used from grape to bottle. this way, they can ensure they snag all their grapes in entirety, and don’t damage the vineyard with machines trudging through.
  3. weather. as the past year has been a cool one, Carême and other vouvray producers in the area will shift to making more dry and sparkling wines for production. if the weather had been hotter and more humid, there would be more sweeter, dessert-type wines. the weather in this region is highly variable so you take great risk being a wine producer here!

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second stop: La Cave restaurant in montlouis-sur-loire

a great place to rest your legs and visit when in the loire valley. the restaurant offers delicious french fare, accompanied of course by wine from the region. make sure you get their meringue for dessert! it’s unmatched in lemony flavor, and size. and fyi, cave doesn’t mean cave in french, it mean’s cellar!

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third stop: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups with Mr. Jacky Blot in montlouis-sur-loire

just a quick drive from la cave sits domaine de la taille aux loups, the vineyards of jacky blot. that’s my mom and i outside his home and tasting room!

jacky took us on a ride through his nearly 5000-acer vineyard property and boy did we learn something. unlike the Carême vineyard, Jacky hadn’t yet picked his grapes. this meant that we actually got to go into his fields and see the grapes just as they were about to be picked (he ended up picking them a week later!).

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jacky explained to us one of the most important stages of the grapes for his production: noble rot. i’d never heard of the stage myself but for this specific vineyard, acheiving noble rot is necessary in producing their wines. to get a grape to noble rot, the grape must be highly ripe and have taken on a grey layer of fungus on the outside skin. yes, fungus sounds gross but i promise it makes a damn good wine!
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here jacky shows the inside of a noble rot — yes, he sacrificed a grape for us! — and you can see it resembles a raisin in the middle. for this reason, the noble rot grapes can produce highly concentrated sweet wines. yum!

there’s a very small time frame between when the grape takes on noble rot and then develops grey rot, a damaging form of the rot that will ruin the grape for production. as you can see in the image of the grape bundle above, some of those grapes have taken on grey rot and shriveled, thus unable to use in production. as we visited, jacky mentioned how he’s been checking the weather like crazy, figuring out which exact day to pick his grapes.

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if you hadn’t deducted already, my title is a bit misleading as i couldn’t possibly explain all of french wine to you. that would take a very long book and decades of research! but, i did learn an enormous amount about wine and grape production and i hope you enjoyed the knowledge bit too. below you can find the two wine producers’ information and their profiles on wine.com. they both have tasting rooms where you can drop in and visit but you might have to do some extra sweet-talking if you want to get into their vineyards 😉

and in this week’s other stuff!!!

  • best. leather bags. ever. get you one! (they ship internationally and through etsy)
  • if you’ve got a knack or interest in politics, sign up for my brother rob’s weekly newsletter! starting five supplies you with all the know-how to keep up with today’s state of politics

that’s all folks! xx


Vincent Carême Winery 1 rue du haut clos 37210 Vernou sur Brenne
Purchase: wine.com
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups  8, rue des Aîtres – Husseau 37 270 Montlouis sur Loire
Purchase: wine.com

post47 // paris market tour

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hiya friends!! bienvenue à mon tour aux marché parisien. (welcome to my paris market tour). last week our chefs at le cordon bleu took us on a three-hour walk through the saint-charles market, which happens to be right around the corner from school! this market is open on tuesdays and fridays from 7am to 2:30pm. if you come to paris you’ll find that many of the markets are open on specific days of the week, so you have to plan your market tours accordingly! thankfully chef was watching out for us and already had some cheesemongers and farmers awaiting our arrival.

*i’ll be referring to chef throughout the post! if you want a visual, here’s chef kerdranvat! he’s one of my cuisine chefs and we get along great due to our shared irish heritage. he comes from brittany in the north of france and was thrilled with all the produce from brittany on our tour!

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we began the market tour with fruits and vegetables! don’t they look so tasty? all the produce here that i’ve eaten has been exceptionally fresh and i think (along with other reasons) it’s because markets like these are so popular! at school, our ingredients come fresh from farms and at home, my host mom shops reguarly at this very market. a local food movement in the flesh! but that truly is paris. just 20 miles outside the city you’ll find real farms that make me feel like i’m in the middle of america.

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chef k was very excited to show off the mushrooms as they are in peak season this very second! you can see the regular white buttons in the photo above, along with the chanterelle mushrooms. should i go mushroom foraging this weekend??

next stop: cheese!! ohhhh the cheese. a tent we came across offered such cool variations on their cheeses like nut fillings and herb coloring. i learned that now is the best time to eat fromage de chevre (goat cheese) and this has helped me finish two packs of goat cheese this week! all for seasonality purposes, of course.

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our group befriended a cheesemonger and she had some fun showing off her crème fraîche. her cheese comes from normandy which is famous for this cream so chef k was very, very excited. when in normandy, make sure you eat crème fraîche.

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next came the butcher. these days i’ve been feeling like a butcher myself as i’ve been chopping off chicken heads, trimming veal fat, and taking out pork bones all day long! i have a very long way to go in this department so it was awesome to see a true butcher at work. what was interesting about this stand at the market was that there wasn’t a speck of food waste. every part of the meat was on display. gizzards? yes. heads? yup. tongues? oh yeah! blood? wrapped in a sausage casing — that’s what blood sausage is!

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after a nice tasting of brain cheese and blood sausage (i’m not kidding!! it was good), we moved onto oysters and fish! this tent at the market was extremely busy so we had a feeling the seafood was fresh. chef k tested the waters and cracked open an oyster. very fresh indeed!

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just before the market, our class made two recipes with fish, one being a sole fillet braised in fish stock and white wine and the other a breaded whiting fish with tartar sauce. if you’re on the lookout for some fish recipes, remind me to share these with you!

after a great walking tour, chef k treated us to an 11am cheese and meat plate, wine, and a dessert plate with espresso. i felt like a queen! c’est la vie français.

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i hope you enjoyed my virtual paris market tour! i’ve had some recipes bubbling that i’ll be cooking up for next week’s post. stay tuned!


this week’s other stuff!


all photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post44 // paris, first look

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bonjour mes amis!!! greetings from paris. i made it! today was my first full day in this city and i am a wonderful combination of jet lagged and excited at the moment. i’m writing to you from my host family’s apartment in the 15th arrondissement, a neighborhood situated in the southern part of paris. i got lost finding the apartment yesterday with all my luggage in hand but one taxi and two mobile stores later, i found them! #immersion #frenchinprogress

for those of you wondering why the heck i am in france — i’ve just moved here! i’ll be in paris for the next year attending le cordon bleu, a culinary school here. while i get some cooking and baking skills, i’ll be living with a french family, learning the language, figuring out paris, and eventually working at a bakery or restaurant here as an extern. woot woot!!

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upon arriving yesterday, my host family greeted me with a homemade lunch of quiche lorraine, a warm baguette from the neighborhood boulangerie, and a simple green salad. it was so quintessentially french. and the good food didn’t stop there — from the milk that i poured on my cereal to the croissant that i ate at orientation this morning, everything has tasted both delicious and wholesome.

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my orientation was just a half day so that left me with the entire afternoon to do whatever i wanted. so i walked! i explored my neighborhood, the neighborhood around le cordon bleu, and beyond. the eiffel tower is just down the street from school so i headed that way first. even on a gloomy day, paris looks beautiful!

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during my walk, i found a great bakery called boulangerie le moulin de la vierge (translated: the mill of the virgin lol). i wasn’t familiar with it as i still have yet to sift through my list of bakery recommendations — that will be this weekend!  — but it was a true french boulangerie and a great place to stop if you find yourself in paris. they have locations in both the 7th arrondissement where i was today, as well as across the seine river in the 1st arrondissement. i tried their croissant and it rivaled what i had at le cordon bleu this morning. buttery, flaky, just as it should be!

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the boulangerie also offered fresh jams. i’ll have to pick one up the next time i stop by!

the rest of the afternoon was spent feeling camera happy. evidence below 👇

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i’d say it’s a photogenic city.

 

last night my host mom, martine, whipped up some tasty crêpes. i watched her and helped a bit, realizing as she went through the motions that sarah dadson’s crêpe recipe, which i shared on foodstuffs a month back, is almost a clone. bravo to sarah! i’m including her recipe below so that you can make them yourself!


and in this week’s other stuff…

i haven’t taken this denim jacket off since i bought it two weeks ago

my cousin greg and his new bride victoria (aka my new cuz!) stepped out to this song on their wedding night and everything was perfect

questions from me to you: what are your favorite things to do and see in paris? and eat? please comment so that i can do all the things!

goodnight! (bonne nuit!)


french crêpes

makes 12 crêpes

fixings

4 eggs

4 cups milk

2 cups flour (all-purpose is fine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (+ more for coating the pan)

1 teaspoon salt

sour cream

toppings: parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, nutella, powdered sugar, maple syrup, etc.

special tools

a medium-sized fry pan

instructions

  1. mix the milk, flour, eggs, and salt together to form your batter. heat the fry pan over medium-high heat. prepare any toppings such as slicing or shaving the cheeses.
  2. pour a large spoonful of batter into the pan and move it around so that the entire pan is coated in a thin layer. let warm until the bottom side turns lightly brown. turn and repeat. take the crêpe off the burner and let it rest on a nearby plate. repeat until you’ve baked off all the crêpe batter.
  3. you can eat your crêpes now as is with sweet toppings but if you are looking for a more savory crêpe, keep your fry pan warm and add a crêpe back to it.
  4. top crêpe with a thin layer of sour cream. add your egg immediately to the center of the crêpe. as the egg begins to cook, add other toppings around it. cover pan until the egg cooks off and other toppings have melted.
  5. fold the crêpe in an envelope manner, as i described above. visually divide the crêpe into three, fold the bottom third up and fix it together by folding the top third down. you can use a little sour cream to seal.
  6. serve immediately and enjoy!