Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Top tips for a budget pig out in Paris
One of the great joys of living in Paris is the seemingly inexhaustive supply of amazing places to eat. I’ve been here ten years, and until yesterday, thought I had a relatively good handle on the gastronomic pleasures to be sampled and supped in this fair city. But then the most recent edition of Olive magazine arrived in the mail. Olive is food and wine magazine published in the UK by the BBC. The good folk at Olive had asked me to contribute to an feature they were preparing for this month’s issue on navigating your way around “Bargain Paris” - the best places to eat and drink on a budget. Why they assumed an author and journalist would know how to live cheaply in the City of Light, I cannot begin to imagine. I managed to deflect the slight that I am a cheapskate long enough to churn out 800 words of sterling copy on the subject of cheap eats in Paris – almost every one of which is now appearing in an Olive mag near you.
What I discovered this morning as I read through the article, was how little I knew about the broad range of amazing eateries that hide out in this city. The article also features eating-on-a-shoestring tips from fellow Parisian foodies/bloggers/dwellers, Meg Zimbeck, Adrian Moore and Olivier Magny.
Between the three of them, they know a treasure trove of great little cafes, boulangeries, bistros and brasseries where your euro will stretch that little bit further. From Meg’s contribution, I almost had to change shirts after reading about the white chocolate pain au chocolat in the boulangerie Blé Sucré in the 12th. Adrian’s enthusiastic appraisal of Frenchie, the hip new resto off rue Montorgueil had me reaching for the phone to make a reservation, and Olivier (the only French man among us and whose company 'O Chateau' does excellent “Discover French Wine” courses) shared a couple of secrets from his leeetle black book, including restaurants Le Reminet and La Biche Au Bois.
Which goes to show it doesn’t matter how long you have lived here in Paris, or how well you think you know the eating scene, new and interesting places are always coming across your radar. So while my waistline may not thank you – Meg, Adrian and Olivier – my stomach definitely does. Merci.
Oh – and in the interests of fairness to the Olive folk, I will hold off until the end of the month before letting you all in on my top tips for budget eating in Paris ..