Paris – Foodie Heaven

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Yes, foodies, what they say is true – Paris is a haven for fine food.  Bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, fresh produce, it was beyond amazing.  My biggest regret was that I was too caught up in the moment to take pictures of most of this amazingness.

But honestly – As much as I really wish I had pictures to remember those fabulous places by, I enjoyed my time there much more when I was less focused on capturing everything on camera.

As far as what I ate on a daily basis goes, it was pretty all over the place.  No real schedule, and I ate much bigger meals, less often – not what I’m used to, and not what I really like to do, but it worked while I was there.  Breakfast was usually some stuff the hostel had – cereal, baguettes & nutella – which was nothing fancy, but less money to spend.  And it tasted good, so I ate it.

After I was done overdosing on nutella, bread and coffee, I’d head out to do most of what I planned for the day, maybe grabbing a croissant (so good!) or some healthy snacks I packed along the way.  Then at about 3pm I’d have my big meal for the day, since restaurants are cheaper at lunch time.  Then I’d do some more wandering/touring, and grab a few things from the grocery store for a light snack/dinner.

Money aside, were a few foodie things I made sure not to miss in paris:

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Falafel in the Jewish quarter.

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With all the fixings.  This was even better than some falafel that I’ve had in NYC.

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Spices and salts are amazing.  Excuse the blurry grocery store photo – the herbs and spices at the markets were even more amazing.  If I go back with unlimited funds and weight allowance for my suitcase I would definitely come home with some herbs de provence, or fleur de sel.

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A salad? Yep, I was with a woman I met on a tour, and we walked by a restaurant window and these salads looked really good.  But holy crap, that’s a lot of cheese! No, I did not finish it.

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Especially since she ordered fondue.  I know, fondue is Swiss, but it’s still better in France than the US for example.  They also brought us baked potatoes (why??) and cornichons (little pickles).  This was so delicious, but my stomach hated me for that one.  Lots of dairy really does not sit well with me.

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Many of these grabbed on the go.  Cheap, and fantastic, at pretty much every little bakery (boulangerie).  The bakery culture is fantastic.  People go in and grab a croissant in the morning, lunch and a pastry/tarte/cake midday, and a fresh baguette at any time.  Nobody buys bread in bulk – it’s always just one baguette at a time, just for that day.  Everything was so fresh!

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Crêpes on the street – a must.  Seriously one of the best sweet things I’ve ever had – banana & nutella crêpe.

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This was a crêpe sucrée (sweet), so it’s not buckwheat.  But I don’t think I’ll ever have a more delicious crêpe in my life.

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Paris has a ton of covered markets – in every neighborhood.  Especially compared to what I’ve seen in Sweden these past few months, everything looked so incredibly fresh.  Check out the color of those tomatoes!

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There came a point where green juice was just necessary.  Never felt so good after so much chocolate and bread.

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Speaking of chocolate – I tried a sample with fleur de sel caramel.  Mmm.

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Yes, there were healthy snacks too!  Lots of apples and munchy fruits and veggies from the grocery store as well, but I didn’t stop to take pictures of them.

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Cheap, but super fresh salad from a bakery – eaten on the lawn in front of the Louvre.  It was surreal.

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I didn’t buy much coffee there (shock!) – mainly because the hostel had pots of coffee at the breakfast buffet, which was included.  But, the few little coffees I did buy were quite good!  They mainly drink espresso, café crème, or café au lait.  If you ask for drip coffee, or ‘café long’, they know you’re a tourist.

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Walking up the Champs-Elysées, I came across a place that was famous for having the best macarons.  I had to stop in to try one.  The place was so adorable inside, but the manager did not want anyone taking photos, so I respected that.

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Fleur de sel caramel – I died.  So delicate, not overwhelmingly sweet (but definitely very sugary).  And of course, I couldn’t decide on just one, so I had to try another little one.

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Pistachio.  Lighter than the caramel, and so delicious.  And macarons are definitely not my first choice of dessert, but these were amazing.

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Another street crêpe!  Actually this is a galette – a savory buckwheat crêpe.  Dare I say I liked these more than the sweet ones?  This one had cheese, tomatoes, salad, and walnuts.  An odd combo, but so good.

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Many of these were consumed as well – pain au chocolat.  The one in this picture was definitely the best I had on the trip.

Natural food store were everywhere!  I walked around many of them, but left empty-handed for fear of going overboard.  The one thing I did pick up was this little gem.

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Goat yogurt!  It’s been so long.  While I was there, I saw so much goat cheese and other raw cheeses – so much good quality dairy, more than I’ve ever seen in one place.  While sometimes I think I could be vegan – definitely not if I lived in paris.

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I decided to shell out for a good vegetarian meal – yes, in Paris, known for their meats and cheeses.   And I do not regret it – plus they had a fixed price lunch menu which was very reasonable.

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Started with a paté vegetale  – which tasted like it was made of chickpeas.  Cumin & curry spiced, and delicious.  So fresh.

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For lunch, the zen plate.  Brown rice, veggies, tofu, and some of the best lentils I’ve ever had.  I’ve heard that French lentils are really great quality – and you better believe it.  This was kind of like a macro plate, and I loved it.

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I didn’t really think about it before, but it makes perfect sense that ice cream in france is also fantastic.  I read about one place in particular – Berthillon on Ile de Saint-Louis, near Notre Dame.  I got a duo of chocolate and fleur de sel (yes, again) caramel – those scoops are actually rather small, but it was perfect.  Now I don’t have to eat ice cream again for a really long while – it’s not something I regularly crave.

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Another of the open, covered produce markets.

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After loving the street crepes so much, I wanted to try one gourmet crêperie.  I read tons of amazing reviews of Breizh café, in the Marais district – one of my favorite areas of the city.

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Again, in a very un-Rachel-like style, I wanted something savory.  Maybe from too much sweet stuff earlier?  Still, a fantastic decision – I just went with a simple egg and cheese galette.  They used raw Gruyère.  I spent such a long time eating this – savored every bite.  Want more!

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Bakeries everywhere.  And they’re pretty much all good quality.

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The only foodie things I didn’t try were things like duck confit, foie gras, escargot, and other things like that – mainly because I knew I wouldn’t care if I didn’t get to them, and they’re the most expensive indulgences.

I definitely ate more white bread, butter, and sugar in the past week than I think I have in the past year.  Once I got past the initial mind block, I did not regret a single bite.  Will I be paying for it in the next week or so? Probably.  But hey, who knows when (yes I’m going back) I’ll be in Paris again.

Where is your favorite foodie destination?

What, of these indulgences would you bend your healthy eating for?

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