Paris is fashion, art and oh my, food. It is my guilty pleasure. I will sneak out of a new exhibition just to munch on still warm pain au chocolat accompanied with a perfect espresso. It does not help that every street is full of boulangeries and shops selling mouth watering macaroons. According to some opinions, the best ones are to be found on Boulevard Magenta, at Marché couvert Saint-Quentin (St Quentin covered market).
Last year I spent my birthday in Paris treating myself to a lunch at Alain Ducasse‘s Rech. It is his signature seafood restaurant in the heart Paris’s 17th arrondissement, just minutes from the Arc de Triomphe and Place de l’Etoile. The place dates back to 1920s and is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary with specially crafted menu. The food was absolutely perfect, the service not so much. In a typical french fashion, the wait staff was very much stuck up and über snobbish. Despite that, the experience was exquisite and I look forward to exploring his other restaurants. I feel like trying Benoit next time, have not decided yet if it will be in Tokyo or New York.
It is all about the location
My favorite, 10e arrondissement is like foodies heaven. It might be a little shabby and off the beaten track but it’s where the real stuff happens. Upscale dining, bistros, french fast food, brunch and burgers. There is always something for everyone. I love that it’s always crowded and full of life. Nobody waits for the weekend, they are enjoying themselves right there, in the middle of the week like naughty kids never worried about tomorrow.
During my last trip two weeks ago, I discovered John Viande – home to tasty burgers with a great selection of beers. It was a perfect end to a crazy packed twenty four hours in Paris. I love its odd decor and the easygoing vibe. Paris has a similar problem to Milan, unless you know where you want to eat or have something recommended by the locals, you will most probably end up at an overpriced tourist trap. So better do your research beforehand.
Airports matter too
It is always great to pop in, whether it’s a quick business trip or a longer weekend gateway. The only thing that spoils the experience is the airport or rather both of the Parisian airports. Orly and Charles de Gaulle are equally terrible, however the latter one is a bit better connected to the city. Thanks to the metro, you can reach Gare du Nord in roughly half an hour. Orly has a tram and train but whenever I head there, it feels like the whole trips takes forever. And if you ever consider a few hour overlay at either of the airports prepare for a painful experience. Better, opt for a layover at Amsterdam, Munich of Frankfurt. Stuck at CDG before 6am I had an option of one duty free store and a tiny cafe. There was nothing else. It made me miss Helsinki airport, which is quite an achievement. Even if it is considered to be one of the best airports in Europe (Lufthansa’s hub, Munich is number one).