||Food, Glorious Food in the 7th arrondissement:
One of the advantages of staying in a vacation apartment in Paris is the ability to shop for your fresh ingredients or even select gourmet takeaway meals at local shops.
Rubino: Patisserie de la Tour Eiffel:
Ave. de la Bourdonnais and rue de l'Universite. GREAT for cafe au lait and croissants in the morning. Also good for light salads and lightly-grilled foods for lunch. They have the best croissants in our quartier, so you can go there first thing and buy a bunch then bring back to the apartment. Also excellent desserts and grain breads. Closed Mondays and one month each summer.
Other Patisserie: My other favorite patisserie for desserts is the Patisserie at 187 rue de Grenelle. Their desserts are fantastic and croissants and breads as well. They are usually open when Patisserie de la Tour Eiffel is closed.
Bakery at 141 rue St. Dominique:
We have always bought our baguettes there, as they are excellent. We think the croissants and desserts are much better at the two mentioned above. When my husband Philippe was in Medical School, it was owned by a different couple who had a lot to learn about client service. Being French, Philippe was able to say and do all the things we dream about when a clerk has been rude: He once bought a Pain au Chocolat from them, to find it tasted stale. He went back and argued with the baker's wife for a refund. They refused to refund his money and he carried on arguing while a line of people formed to buy baguettes. Philippe offered to let anyone in line try the pain to judge whether it was stale; which started them all laughing. Many agreed with him that they sold day-old pastries. She wouldn't give him a refund so he threw it on the floor, stamped on it and walked out. From then on, he insisted that she wrap his baguettes in paper when he bought one --the law in France, but something she was too cheap to do.
The bakery was sold to a younger couple several years ago. They are much nicer, have remodeled the shop, make excellent baguettes and also nice sandwiches - a good idea for picnics.
Rue Cler Bakeries:
Several excellent bakeries with 7 grain breads, etc - especially the one at the corner of rue de Grenelle and rue Cler. You'll recognize it by the line outside. Le Fournil de Pierre is a few blocks up on rue Cler, also famous.
On rue Jean Nicot. Well-known throughout Paris for its breads and croissants. We happen to prefer the other ones above, but part of being in Paris is going on excursions and trying everything.
On rue St. Dominique near rue Malar. Many locals say it is the best pastry shop in Paris and it is excellent.
On Rue St. Dominique:
Everything you need is on rue St. Dominique including supermarket, a good fruit and vegetable store, an excellent butcher. She will tell you the best way to cook a cut of meat, a la francaise. They also roast chickens in the afternoon which are delicious and easy for a quick meal.
Guests love the fact that they are staying in a beautiful vacation rental and experiencing life as a Parisian.
RUE CLER IS A MUST.
It is a gorgeous street, one of the most famous in Paris for its food stores. It's known throughout Paris for a huge range of butchers, fish shops, pastry shops, fruit stands, cheese stores, flower shops, pie shops, etc. Open on Sunday mornings, too -- all the people in the neighborhood go there to buy what they need for a big Sunday lunch. The street is closed on Mondays.
Great Italian Deli on rue Cler right halfway between Grenelle and next street up. Called Davoli. Good hams, ravioli and other dishes. Best choucroute in Paris, too. This is particularly good on cold, rainy days. Easy to recognize because of the long lines out the door.
Wonderful quiches and tarts at Tarte de Julie, before Deli. Shop used to be one of the last horse butchers in this quartier; until recently, there was still a horse's head above the shop.
There are several excellent bakers on rue Cler who have wide selections of whole meal and country breads. Also more delicatessens and pastry shops.
The big fish shop on rue Cler is excellent as is the butcher. At Christmas and New Years, the butcher sells whole boar's heads and other seasonal specialties.
Good flower stall after the fish stall; prices best in the neighborhood.
One of the best cheese shops in Paris is on the left -- can't miss because of the long lines outside. If you like goat cheese, this is the place. Be sure to tell them which day you want to actually eat your softer cheeses (today, tomorrow, in 2 days, etc) so they can pick out the right firmness. That is the epitome of France and food.
If you walk all the way up rue Cler and turn right on the big street Ave. de la Motte Piquet, you'll see "FLO". It's a fantastic "takeaway" store, just before the Ecole Militaire Metro entrance and supermarket, Hamon. Food is delicious, less expensive than a restaurant, and you can buy everything you need for a meal. There's always a moderately priced main dish, going up to very extravagant main dishes. Well worth a visit.
Frozen meals, soups, ingredients:
You must visit a French frozen food store. The shop is called Picard, which is on Rue de Grenelle next to one of my favorite pastry shops. Turn right on rue Augereau. The corner of rue Augereau and rue. St. Dominique has a beautiful flower shop which supplies most of the Grand Couturiers in Paris; go right at the flower shop, walk to end and then turn left. You'll see a sign with a snowflake across street -- Picard. You've never seen anything like it -- from frozen mousse and fruit purees, frozen soups, entrees, breads, fish meat, appetizers, desserts and ice cream -- to frozen diet dinners and frozen sauces from the best chefs, as well as frozen exotic meals. I always go there first and stock up on ice cream (neat miniature bars for the kids), fish entrees, soup bases, vegetable dishes, casseroles etc - for when I'm too tired to go out or cook.
Pate's, ham, conserves:
On rue Augereau, you'll pass a store which sells ham, pate and conserves from the southwest of France. They make up nice gift packages -- where you choose what goes in the box, so it can be reasonably priced.
You must go to the open market at the Pont de l'Alma on Wednesday or Saturday mornings! It's reputed to be the largest open market in Paris. Cross the Alma Bridge and head left up Ave. President Wilson. You'll see all of the little trucks which have come in from the country with their wares: pate's, local wines, cheeses, fresh flowers, 5 types of escargots, fresh fish, fresh-baked breads, chickens, meat, pasta etc. You'll find yourself wandering up to the Trocadero; stop and admire the view across the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower as you head home with your packages.
Blvd. De Grenelle: between Dupleix and Motte Piquet, across from the Champ de Mars. Open on Wednesday and Sundays. Blvd. De Grenelle has also started an open antiques and 'brocante' market on Sundays: watch for the banners which are put up near the big intersection at Ecole Militaire.
Ave. de Saxe: On Ave. de Saxe between Pl. de Breteuil and Ave. de Segur. On Thursdays and Saturdays. Slightly smaller than the two above, but more organic products and slightly more upscale.
Click here for our insider's list of best restaurants in the neighborhood.
Click here for a few ideas and activities for your Paris vacation.