Frédéric Comyn (Gourmet Chick in France)

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.

Comyn’s croissants
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.
If you liked reading this you might enjoy this post on how to eat snails or you can read about the bistro Bloody French in London.


  1. A few years ago, we spent a great weekend in. Is it possible to spend a bad weekend in Paris? Probably not, and I never have.

    For lunch, we’d buy a baguette, some cheese, ham, fruit and find a quiet bench in a park or next to the Seine. It was all very civilised and relaxing, and the quality of the food made those picnic lunches very memorable.

    One time, Jen went to get the bread. She chose a boulangerie, went in and saw a sign with the word ‘baguette’ on it and a price. Nervous, and using some classic English girl abroad type gesturing, she pointed at the sign.

    The baker gave her a quizzical look and said something that in retrospect must have meant ‘are you sure?’, before handing over a long, thin, baguette shaped plastic bag.

    Jen gave him a few francs, and left the shop, plastic baguette bag in hand, no bread, confused look on her face.

    ‘Where’s the baguette?’, I asked.

    ‘The sign said ‘sac au pain’, so I asked for that. I thought it would come with bread. I don’t know what just happened, but we’ve got a nice bag’, she replied.

    We found another boulangerie and finally bought lunch.

  2. Ohhh, thanks for the tip. We’re heading to Paris for the weekend in Sept, so I’ll be sure to find the *right* kind of croissant this time around. xx

  3. Them Apples – hilarious! Love it!

    Top Bird – lucky you, enjoy…

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