48 hours in Paris (Gourmet Chick in France)

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The very definition of decadence is a weekend in Paris when you have already seen all the sights.  On previous trips to the City of Lights I had ticked off the major museums and “must see” cultural activities leaving this weekend entirely free to indulge in eating, drinking and enjoying life.  In the process I may just have discovered the perfect foodie itinerary for 48 hours in Paris.  Here it is…

Pavement dining at Cafe Charlot

1.  Friday 9pm: Arrive on the Eurostar and drop bags at the hotel before heading out for late night sustenance.

L’Avant Comptoir
Go straight to L’Avant Comptoir.  Like they say in Monopoly, do not pass go and do not collect £200, seriously go straight there.  It is the perfect place for a post Eurostar nibble and drink.  The tiny tapas bar from Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir Relais fame has room for only 20 people.  Of course you are not allowed to call the food tapas – it is “French hors d’oeuvres” according to Cambdeborde.  It is literally standing room only with no seats which operates as a clever anti tourist measure as anyone who has been sight-seeing all day will not relish a night on their feet.  If you can squeeze in and don’t mind standing you will be rewarded with fantastic boards of charcuterie (€10), tubs of salty cornichons, a serious wine list and more involved dishes such as the deep-fried pig’s-foot croquettes and chipolata confit in goose fat.

Charcuterie and wine at L’Avant Comptoir

Details: L’Avant Comptoir, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th arrondissement, Paris, France.  No reservations, open every day.  Metro: Odéon.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve. Our bill came to €25 for wine and charcuterie.
8/10

Saturday 1pm: Spend the morning playing petanque along the banks of the Seine on courts set up for August’s Paris Plage before wandering through the Marais to a long lunch at Le Petit Marche.

Le Petit Marché
Imagine a classic French bistro tucked away on a back street of the Marais and you have got Le Petit Marché.  An ecelectic selection of portraits line the wood panelled walls while wooden tables sit cheek by jowl.  The look is old school but the food is actually quite modern as it offers French cuisine with an Asian influence.  The best example, is the so-good-it-should-be-compulsory Chinoise salad (€9.50) an inspired mix of cabbage, shredded chicken and fried won ton wrappers drizzled with a sharp citrus dressing.  It’s generous enough to share as a starter if you can bear to give any away.

The Chinoise Salad

Main courses were fairly plain but hearty.   Thick pork fillet (€19) was sliced into medallions and doused with Sichuan spices alongside some sweet, caramalised apples while tender roasted lamb (€20) was teamed with a sweet basil sauce.

Details: Le Petit Marché, 9 Rue Bearn, Paris 75003, France.  Reservations required for dinner but you should be safe at lunch.
Damage: Pricey.  Our bill came to €75 with wine and no dessert.
7/10

Pork medallions with roasted apple at Le Petit Marche

Saturday 8pm:  Track down one museum you haven’t actually been to before (we discovered the Museum Carnavalet in Le Marais on this trip) before heading to Le Dauphin for dinner and drinks.

Le Dauphin
Salvation is at hand for those who wanted to sample Inaki Aizpitarte’s amazing cooking at Chateaubriand but shied away from the no choice menu or were daunted by the long wait for a table.  Aizpitarte has now opened a small plates style restaurant a few doors down.  It’s a buzzy, modern place with the room decked out from head to toe in white marble and dominated by a central bar which walk in diners can perch at to eat.  Everything we tried was brilliant.  Highlights included the sweet, sharp heritage tomato salad (€9), smoky slices of almost rare wagyu beef (€15),  creamy squid ink risotto (€11) and piping hot matcha flavoured madeleines (€6).  

The heritage tomato salad at Le Dauphin

Essentials
Details: 31 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris (Ph 01 48 06 58 41) Métro: Goncourt.  Bookings required but there are about 15 seats at the central bar which are walk in only.
Damage: Pricey.  Our bill came to €132 with wine.
10/10

Grilled octopus at Le Dauphin

Sunday 1pm:  Spend the morning at a market.  We went to the flea market, Les Puches, at at Porte de Cligancourt for a more food focused itinerary a wander through Marché les Enfants Rouges would also be a brilliant start to the day to work up an appetite for another long lunch.  

Cafe Charlot 
Seats line the pavement outside Cafe Charlot, all facing out for indulgence in the ultimate Parisian sport of people watching.  Inside, Cafe Charlot has designer good looks with white tiled walls, salvaged fixtures and soft yellow lighting.  There is a great brunch menu of juice, coffee or tea, fruit salad, scrambled eggs and salmon and brioche all for (€19) and Cafe Charlot’s signature burger (€15) but for our final meal in Paris we could not go past the Chateaubriand (€29.50).   It was tender but with a thick char and came with green beans and a moreish brown pepper sauce.  It was everything you could ever want from a piece of meat.  Unfortunately the service at Cafe Charlot was pretty abysmal on our visit with our waiter forgetting our frites order, then charging us for them when he eventually remembered to bring us our bill.

Chateaubriand at Cafe Charlot

Essentials
Details: Cafe Charlot, 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France (Ph 33 1 44 54 03 03).  Reservations not necessary for lunch.
Damage: Reasonable.  Our bill came to €80 for two with wine but we did order the most expensive thing on the menu.
6/10 (Would be higher except for the poor service).

Finally, Eurostar home….

Our hotel room (photo taken from outside the door!)

Gourmet Travel Tips

  • My itinerary ignores breakfast as we ate it at the hotel each day.  If you are going out for breakfast I recommend Le Loir dans la Théiére in the Marais.  
  • For this trip I relied on tips from my friend Rachel who spent last year studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris  and blogs at Devour, alongside the excellent resources Hip Paris and Paris by Mouth.  All great reading for Parisian trip planning or just a virtual trip to Paris.  
  • We stayed at Hôtel Serotel Lutèce.  This was possibly the smallest hotel room I have ever stayed in (I took this photograph standing outside the room) and the breakfast buffet was limited to continental style offerings.  However it was modern and clean with a good shower and free wifi.  The location was pretty central with the Jardin Luxembourg less than a 10 minute walk away but I think for the price you can get a better hotel in Paris.  From €230 a night.   Details: 2 rue Berthollet, 75005 Paris, France (Ph +33 1 43 36 26 30) Métro: Luxembourg. 

 

11 comments

  1. Gourmet Chick, perfect timing for my trip to Paris TONIGHT! Merci beaucoup. A leeeetle bit excited. I have been dying to get to Le Dauphin, but the trouble with long weekends in Paris is that you have 500 places you want to eat and all of them are only open on Saturdays. And if they’re not closed because it’s a Sunday or Monday, they’re closed because it’s August. Anyways, I think I’ll be pretty happy cosied up with a croissant and good book in a cafe in St Germaine somewhere. And there’s always the fabulous markets. Wow, long comment. Did I mention I’m excited?

  2. I am so in love with Paris. For me, it was all Pierre Herme, but I did eat at a couple of great restaurants when I was there for my birthday. What wonderful looking foods you ate 🙂
    *kisses* HH

  3. That chateaubriand makes me hop on the next train to Paris!

  4. Nice summary. We are off to Paris for a long weekend in September, staying in the 16th so I’ll keep these restos in mind. Thanks for sharing 😉

  5. L’Avant Comptoir looks like the kind of place I always hoped to find in Paris, but never quite could. THANK YOU.

  6. Greedy Diva – Hope you had a brilliant long weekend and do report back on what is open on Sundays and Mondays. Looking forward to finding out what you get up to.

    Heavenly Housewife – I love Pierre Herme as well – no trip to Paris is complete without a visit

    Katherina – Do it!

    Jacqueline – Hope you have a brilliant trip

    Tori – I loved it – the only issue is squeezing in.

  7. Holy mother – that room was €230 per night?!?! I thought we were talking Easy hotel prices! Agree – you could do better for the price, although the location is fab – love love love the Luxembourg gardens. I also love the Paris Plages – such a fantastic initiative – want one of those misting showers in my garden 🙂

  8. Will be looking to go to paris in october so will be sure to try and get a table at Le Dauphin. Will miss having you in london.
    Safe travels and hopefully seen you in oz!

  9. The free walking tour of Paris was absolutely amazing! We had Onno as our guide by privatetoursinistanbul, he was knowledgeable about the history, answered all our questions and had a real passion for his job. We are a couple in our early 20s and this was probably our best day in Paris. We got a great back story on all the monuments and it just made seeing them in depth the next day so much more interesting. Its a free tour, Onno worked very hard and we were very pleased with how great it was. Well worth our time. He even ended it at a great authentic French restaurant, that was a great deal and so tastey. We loved it so much, that we did the Montmartre the next night. We got Onno again! Go at night!! He will show you an amazing view of the Sacre Coeur that tourist never see! So amazing and a nice glass of wine at the end. Onno even made sure everyone knew where they were headed at the end of the night, and gave us great directions to the airport for early flight the next day http://www.privatetoursinistanbul.com Thank you so much that provide this service to us,made our trip really great.

  10. […] To say I was slightly excited about Entrecote opening in South Yarra is an understatement.  You see Entrecote is “inspired” by legendary restaurant chain Le Relais De’ Entrecote in Paris.  A meal at Le Relais is one of those must do Paris experiences. […]

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