Michael and I had the fortune of finding some real treats during our long Easter weekend break, which our trip to Paris simply would not have been the same without. These little pick-me-up’s may even have been the highlights of my short holiday, so definitely check them out when next visiting the city of lurrrve if you want to experience some serious taste sensations.
1. Buy a croissant & coffee from ANY bakery with a long queue:
Michael and I did this every morning during our most recent trip and I cannot even tell you how much better the croissants and pastries are from a bakery versus even most cafés in Paris, and obviously every café back home. The bakeries are dedicated to rolling out this staple French favourite and you can spot the good ones from their snaking queue that doesn’t lessen until around noon – I urge you to join it, the croissant will be the best of your life!
(Not to mention, the coffee is freshly brewed and half the price of any bistro serving breakfast = Bonus.)
2. Angelina (Palais des Congrès, 2 Place de la Porte Maillot, 75017):
OK, so this was hands down the best discovery that we made. Located close to Rue Saint-Honoré and the Champs-Élysées, there is no excuse not to make a short detour to this temple of sweet treats. It’s a pretty high-brow place with all the usual fancy bells & whistles, with the exception that their servings are unusually worth the heavy price tag.
Since Michael and I stumbled across Angelina on a grey day mid-afternoon, it’s hardly surprising that there was a long and very much standstill queue in the foyer and leading out of the front door.
After waiting a good 10 minutes and not budging so much as an inch, we decided to cut our losses on the whole grand experience and settle for simply picking up a cup of their infamous African hot chocolate from the very sheek to-go cart parked in front of the extravagant saloon.
Little did I know that we were FAR from settling.
The hot chocolate is the best that I have ever tasted. EVER. (Yes, even better than mine, but then the phrase which haunts every woman – “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” doesn’t factor into my health-boosting version). The liquid happiness is thick & velvety and coats your taste buds in rich, sumptuous, chocolate-y heaven. I’m not joking when I say that Michael and I walked around for the duration of our favourite ever paper-cupped-beverage non-stop rambling about how unbelievably amazing & incredible this drink is. I can assure you that is the face of a VERY happy girl:
When we next visit Paris I am going to come armed with time on my side and the patience to wait, as I want to experience dolloping my own spoonfuls of fresh clouds of whipped cream on top of the decadent potion. However, the take-away option is a sure-set quick way to instant happiness. Whatever your style, you absolutely have to get your hands around this hot chocolate. Trust me.
3. Falafel from the Jewish quarter (23 rue des Rosiers, 75004)
There are no less than 4 falafel shops located along this street, within a 50-metre radius of one another. Although I only sampled the food from Mi Va Mi, judging by the long queues that led from each of them I feel pretty confident that they all serve up the same quality of Middle Eastern classics.
Having said that, however, a friend had recommended that we go to L’As du Fallafel as it serves the only falafel in the world personally recommended by Lenny Kravitz (as it proudly states in their window), which was our intention, but as mentioned in my My Favourite Places to Take a Stroll, for whatever unfortunate reason it is shut on Saturday’s, so, until next time!
Mi Va Mi most certainly didn’t disappoint though. All of the small restauranteurs offer both a take-away or sit-down option, with different queues for each. Unlike the queues outside Angelina, the queues here move, fast. So don’t let first appearances put you off! Plus, the homemade, fresh errrrythang and famed combination of warmed pitas heartily stuffed with moist, flavoursome falafel balls, smoked aubergine, crunchy salad, hummus, and chilli oil will seriously steal your heart.
You pay a little and get a lot, so make sure you pop by.
4. Macaroons from Pierre Herme:
I used to think that I did not like macaroons. Oh, how very, very mistaken I was. After sampling some (/many) of the macaroons offered by Pierre Herme it is safe to say that I am a macaroon-convert, and that they rank really rather highly on my scale of sweet treats. Macaroons are not just a moment of taste, but a tasteful journey – yes, I’m getting poetic about macaroons… at first there’s a soft crunch, followed by a more resistant chew, which leads you to the soft, goo-ey, liquid-y centre of this vastly improved take on the traditional sandwich. I am alllll about texture & sauce in my food, and this bite-sized treat encompasses both of those things beautifully.
As well as this, it is almost astounding how many different flavour combinations you can find. Pierre Herme makes all of the classic flavours (chocolate, vanilla, raspberry etc.), as well as more exotic, intriguing flavours (orange & basil, Earl Grey & cinnamon, passionfruit & honey, etc.). I went for a mix & match of a large assortment and can tell you with severe difficulty and reluctance that my favourites were the classic vanilla and salted caramel, which were just out of this world, crazy good.
Since Laduree is the most famous for its macaroons, it would have been rude not to sample some of their offerings, at least for comparison purposes, right? The result was disappointing, to say the least. As with most ventures that start out ahead of the game, they far too quickly rest on their laurels and let their standards slip, allowing others to overtake. Thus, my advice (supported by none other than trusty tripadvisor as you can see from clicking on the links) would be to avoid the tourist trap, and head for the real star, which produces far better tasting and looking macaroons at a cheaper price. I call that a win, win, win.