Happy Monday everyone! I’ve got a guest post up from Marta Lopez, a travel writer based in London. You’ll love the insider tips she has to share. (And since I don’t get out much, someone’s got to tell you about these things). Please welcome Marta.
Six Dishes to Discover the Soul of Paris
There is much more than moules frites, baguettes and cheeses when it comes to choosing le plat du jour in the French capital. Paris is a beautiful mixture of 20 arrondissements and behind each one, there is a whole world of contrasts and cultures. Forget what you have learnt about French cuisine and prepare yourself to travel around the City of Lights. Here you have six different dishes to get the real image of each quartier.
- Champs-Elysées: A sophisticated seafood menu
There is no other arrondissement like the 8th when it comes to choosing a chic and expensive Parisian menu. From La Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, you will be able to find historical and art nouveau-inspired style restaurants. If you want to savour the real taste of this quartier, don’t hesitate to ask for a seafood dish – or what the French call “un plateau de fruits de mer”.
Going to Les Champs-Elysées? Don´t miss your chance to visit an exposition at Le Grand Palais (3, Avenue du Général Eisenhower)
- Montmartre: Experience Amélie´s quartier with a crêpe
Montmartre – located in the 18th arrondissement – used to be an independent village in the North of Paris, and it was a breeding ground for artists like Picasso and Dali. Today this little village pleases travellers, with its little cafés and narrow streets during the day, and vibrant clubs at night.
Image: M. López
Going to Montmartre? Don´t miss a bière at Le Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie Poulain worked as a waitress.
- Le Marais: The most exquisite falafel in Paris
It has become one of the most fashionable quartiers in the city at the moment. Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement catches tourists’ attention with its wide variety of cafés, art galleries, and chic boutiques. Le Marais is home to the largest Jewish community in Paris; that’s why you’ll find here the most delicious falafels in the city. After a visit to the beautiful Place des Vosges – where Victor Hugo used to live – pop in at L’ As du Fallafel (34, rue des Rosiers)- You might have to wait, but it’s definitely worth it!
Image: M. López
- Quartier Latin: Le poulet de la Rue Mouffetard
La Rue Mouffetard is located in the 5th arrondissement, and was described by Hemingway as a ‘wonderful, narrow crowded market street.’ A former Roman thoroughfare, La Rue Mouffetard hosts a good number of merchants selling fruits, cheeses, and all kind of delicatessen. If you wonder what dish to try, have a go with le poulet á la broche (roast chicken). The delicious smell from the rotisseries will invite you to come in …
Going to Le Quartier Latin? Don´t miss the chance to visit Hemingway´s house (74, Rue du Cardinal Lemoine)
- Belleville: Noodles with the best views
La Belleville (“beautiful city”) is the second highest hill in the city, and is considered to be the new Montmartre. Spanning four arrondissements – the 19th, 20th, 10th and 11th – it used to be the Chinese quartier in Paris, and is now home to a large community of immigrants, bohemian artists, and musicians. If you want to embrace the real soul of the streets where Edith Piaf was born, you won’t want to miss Le Marché Belleville, which opens Tuesdays and Saturdays. Don’t hesitate to taste some Asian noodles and Arabic baklavas. And if you fancy some amazing views, follow the hill until you see a green area without tourists.
Image: M. López
Going to La Chapelle? Don’t forget to visit La Maison de L´Air (Parc de Belleville, 47 Rue des Couronnes, 75020 Paris)
- La Chapelle: Couscous at the best price
La Chapelle is located in the 18th arrondissement, and is famous because of its multicultural atmosphere. It’s been chosen by immigrants and young couples looking for a break from the touristic centre. The variety of ethnic restaurants available is just amazing; for those wondering about the real taste of the neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to try the couscous – the star dish here due to the large African community that has settled in the area.
Going to La Chapelle? If you want to buy local products, visit L’ Epicerie Indienne Exotique (197, Rue Fbg St Denis).
Marta López is a travel writer based in London. She loves travelling, Mediterranean cuisine and French cinema. She is currently working on her first novel, based in the City of Lights. Follow Marta on twitter @Martazepol.