I studied French for four years when I was at school and it is a source of enduring embarrassment to me that after all that time I can only utter basic phrases and count to twenty. So when the opportunity came up to spend a month learning French in Paris for the summer I jumped at the chance. Of course the not so hidden benefit of studying French in Paris is the chance to do some serious eating with much more scope for exploration than previous trips which have been limited to long weekends in Paris.
J’adore Paris in Summer
I must admit that my first thought upon securing an apartment to live in was to investigate the boulangeries in the area. For what is a trip to Paris without some serious croissant eating? On my most recent visit to Paris earlier this year I made the trip through the snow to A la flute Gana
in pursuit of the perfect croissant. This time my croissant mission is much easier as I am staying right around the corner from Frederic Comyn the winner of the Concours du Meiller Croissant, Ville de Paris in 2007.
Up bright and early to try and secure the freshest possible croissants I use my broken French to order trois croissants. Back at my apartment I tear open the bag and break the croissants apart, smearing them with jam. Delicate folds of pastry curl over each other like tissue paper to form the croissants. The pastry is buttery and soft and almost melts into the jam. Frederic Comyn I salute you.
If you are in Paris and can’t make it out to the fourteenth arrondissement (and let’s face it the best croissants are those closest to your bedroom) try and purchase your croissant from a boulangerie which bears the sign artisian boulangerie as this means that the croissants are made from scratch rather than baking pre made croissants. When you are in the boulangerie ask for a croissant au beurre which means that it is made with butter to give that all important silky taste. Heaven forbid that you should accidentally purchase a croissant ordinaires which is made with (whisper it) margarine!
Details: 27 Rue Friant (14th eme), 75014 Paris, France (Ph 01 45 45 21 54). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Gourmet Traveller Tips
I stayed at hip hotel Mama Shelter
, a Phillipe Starck designed wonder out in the 20th. Housed in a converted garage each room has a slick imac which you can watch DVDs on, TV or use the internet, there are Kiehls toiletries in the bathroom and basically it is designer heaven. Rooms from €89.