Before this week i’d visited Paris twice, both very short trips, but long enough that I thought I had a good understanding of the city. I’d done the Eiffel Tower, climed the Arc de Triomphe and wandered along the Seine. In essence i’d visited the traditional Paris, the city that exists in film and in old photographs.
So when my brother (who know’s what he’s talking about when it comes to Paris) suggested we take a trip, I was excited to see what else the city had to offer. Lindsey Tramuta refers to the “New Paris” in her book – examining all the new businesses that have come up in the city in the last decade as the city has adapted and innovated. Whether it’s speciality coffee shops, modern patissiere, or restaurants that don’t fit into the traditional idea of French cuisine, this is what we were going to explore on this trip and I couldn’t wait.
I’m not going to write reviews of everywhere we visited – that would take way too long (we fit in a lot in 4 days) – but here are my favourite places from this trip.
Bread and Patisserie
Even with the new Paris you can’t come to this city without visiting one of the many patisseries, bakeries or viennoiseries that populate each neighbourhood. And of course, when travelling with a baker, you’re going to hit up some of the best. My two favourites were Pain Pain near the Sacre Cour where we enjoyed freshly baked Pain Suisse, Chouquettes and Baguettes, and Yann Couverer in the Marais where my favourite was one of the simplest things on the menu – a lime and mint pound cake.
The other place that I would have to recommend is Pierre Herme – and while a lot more established than everywhere else in this list, the use of flavours and technique is extremely modern and absolutely worth checking out. If you only try one thing make sure you go to the Rue Bonaparte location in the 6th in the morning to get one of the Ispahan croissants – they sell out fast. This combination of Rose, Lychee and Raspberry is so good and the croissant was the best of the trip.
Pain Pain – 88, Rue des Martyrs, 75018, Paris
Yann Couverer – 23, Rue des Rosiers, 75004, Paris
Pierre Herme – 72, Rue Bonaparte, 75006, Paris
Other Sweet Stuff
If you’d have told me that I’d go to Paris and have one of the best doughnuts i’ve ever had, I wouldn’t have believed you But that’s just how good the doughnuts are at Boneshaker. In a relatively non-descript shop the focus is all one thing – the quality of the doughnuts. More American than French we ended up trying three – the red wine and chocolate, the beer glaze (!), and finally because I couldn’t resist it the whisky and caramelised bacon. The beer glaze was totally new for me, but it’s a great idea and tasted fantastic. However it was the bacon and whisky doughnut that i’ll remember – the bacon was perfect. It had managed to stay crispy and was really meaty as they hadn’t over done the caramelisation to make it too sweet. I had to restrain myself from not going back the next day for another one.
Boneshaker Doughnuts – 77, Rue d”Aboukir, 75002, Paris
After this trip Paris has jumped up the list of my favourite coffee cities, largely in thanks to Belleville, a roastery with two coffee shops not far from Canal St Martin. As well as visiting their shop Fontaine de Belleville for breakfast, we enjoyed a cupping at their current roastery – they’re moving to bigger premises later in 2017 – before visiting their newest location at 50 Rue de Belleville (where they have just taken over the old Cream location). The coffee at every location was excellent, and the roastery clearly knows what they’re doing.
The other coffee place i’d recommend is also the tiniest shop we visited. With just three small tables Boot Cafe is possibly the cutest of all the coffee shops in Paris. Based in an old shoe shop Boot Cafe has kept the original shop facade meaning it might not immediately be obvious as a coffee shop, but it’s hard to miss the blue shop. This was also the location we ridiculously found ourselves in the middle of a post-Paris fashion week photoshoot as a photographer and two models (in ridiculous clothes) came in and just started shooting – so look out for me in the next issue of Vogue 🙂
La Fontaine de Belleville – 31-33, Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010, Paris
Belleville Brulerie – 10, Rue de Pradier, 75010, Paris
Cafes Belleville – 50, Rue de Belleville, 75020, Paris
Boot Cafe – 19, Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003, Paris
We arrived into Paris on the very first Eurostar train from St Pancras meaning we got into Gare du Nord at just before 9.30 – the perfect time for a late breakfast. And with a couple of hours before we could check into our Airbnb we headed straight to Holybelly in search of good coffee and pancakes. I’ve followed Holybelly on instagram from pretty much the day they’d opened back in 2013 and so had high hopes they would live up to the hype. And they absolutely did. The pancakes were light and fluffy served with a great maple syrup from Quebec that coincidentally i’d had earlier in the year while in Canada. Also noteworthy at Holybelly is the coffee – they clearly know what they’re doing here and my filter coffee from Belleville was exactly what I needed after a 4am start.
On our first night we went out for dinner in the Marais and because our chosen restaurant never answered the phone to book a reservation we ended up at Ellsworth. It turned out to be the best second choice as we had a wonderful meal. We started off with a couple of glasses of champagne around the courner at Verjus Wine Bar before enjoying a meal of small plates that included a super soft beef cheek ragu served with a potato foam and potato crisps, and their signature fried chicken with a buttermilk sauce. If I lived in Paris I think this would quickly become my favourite neighbourhood restaurant.
Holybelly – 5, Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010, Paris
Ellsworth – 34, Rue de Richelieu, 75001, Paris
Suffice to say we had a great four days in Paris, we walked about 40 miles over 4 days, ate a lot of pastry and drank a good number of bottles of red wine. My only question is when can I go back?