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Where to begin? It’s hard to write anything about Paris without sounding like a total cliché. So, if you can, bear with me while I let it out: Paris is as magical and dreamy and chic as I imagined. I spent every second of every day in awe of my surroundings. I could not walk half a block without stopping in my tracks, stunned by a winding side street lined with apartment buildings adorned with elegant wrought iron balconies or an outdoor market with rotisserie chickens cooking over potatoes or a café with chairs all facing outward, as if to watch a spectator sport, confirmation, perhaps, that the everyday happenings in the streets are as entertaining for the newbies and locals alike.
I kept waiting to turn a corner and find new construction. I never did.
In the seven days I spent in Paris, I cruised around as much as I could, hitting the many shops, sites, and restaurant recommendations sent to me from friends and family in the weeks leading up to my departure.
Confession: I didn’t step foot into a museum, and I only got as close as necessary to the Eiffel Tower to take the requisite photo, though I cannot lie: the sight of the towering structure took my breath away.
I ate baguettes, croissants (chocolate, almond, and everything in between), galettes, falafel, crêpes, cheese, foie gras, sweetbreads, tartare, caramels, éclairs, and macarons, all of which were incredibly delicious. But if I had to pick a favorite—a single item in all of Paris I would miss more than anything— it would be…
…the butter. I managed to get some home. I declared it at customs and answered questions when I got to Detroit, and it was worth all of the anxiety and effort.
Friends, there are many many many photos and links below.
Here are some quick links:
Du Pain et des Idees
Las du fallafel
la Grande de Epicerie de Paris
Le Petit Celine
Here are a few places I didn’t get to but which came highly recommended — Friends, what did I miss?
Le Petit Grain, recently reviewed by David Lebovitz
Fish La Boissonnerie
On my first day in Paris, I went straight to Du Pain et des Idees, which came highly recommended from many for their breads, which were delicious, buy my favorite item there was the sacristan, which is an almond pastry—so, so good!
The sacristan (my favorite):
Then I met a friend for lunch at Mokonuts. Like many, I had read about the cookies, which Dorie Greenspan had written about in the New York Times Magazine a week before I left. What I didn’t expect was to eat maybe the best meal of the entire trip in those first few hours of my arrival. The meal started with labneh, olive oil, za’atar, radishes, and homemade mini pita breads, baked by Moko Hirayama, the wife half of the ownership team. Moko does all the baking, from the cookies and tarts to the pita; her husband, Omar Koreitem, does the savories.
This was so good:
Moko: so adorable and nice.
View from my window at Hotel Panache, where I stayed for the four nights of the photography workshop:
On three nights, I met my amazing cousin and husband, Betsy and Alon, and several of their friends out for dinner. One night we ate at Sauvage, which was both delicious and fun:
Ble Sucre, where I found the pain au chocolate of my dreams:
Around the corner from Ble Sucré is the Marche dAligre, a really fun outdoor market.
Merci, such a fun spot for housewares, clothes, and food:
Loved the lentils in particular:
La Tréserorie, another fun spot for housewares:
E.Dehillerin, iconic kitchen supply shop:
La Droguerie, one of two highly recommended crêperies, the other being
I went with the ham and cheese crêpe. No regrets.
One afternoon I met a friend for tea at Mariage Freres, which was so much fun, not only for the tea, which was delicious, but also because of the celebrity sighting: Jared Leto, who was having tea just a table (or two) away from ours.
Las du fallafel: worth the wait.
Maison Plisson: Great for cheese and other specialty foods or gifts, namely butter.
la Grande de Epicerie de Paris, one of the most beautiful markets I have ever stepped foot in.
Never tasted figs like these.
Oh hey, Notre Dame.
Met a friend for breakfast at Hotel Amour.
The baguette was so incredibly delicious. This below-pictured breakfast is my heaven: good bread, good butter, good coffee.
A few nibbles at Au Passage.
Loved these shrimp:
Bought some spices:
After my workshop, I moved into an Air BnB, in the 8th Arrondissement—loved it.
On my second to last night, I met up with Alon and Betsy at Racines des Pres …
…with Patricia Wells (!) and her husband, Walter, both of whom were so lovely. This was one of the best meals of the entire trip.
On my last night in Paris, I planned to eat at Pizzeria Popolare, which a friend had told me about weeks before my departure. So, after running around all day (buying butter and suitcases), I went back to my airbnb …
brushed my hair …
…then joined the rest of Paris in the Pizzeria Popolare queue. When at 10:00 pm, the chances of getting in didn’t look so good, I booked it to …
…Pink Mamma, one of the other restaurants in the Big Mamma group.
I ordered the octopus salad to start…
…then the mammargherita. No regrets.
Anyway, Friends, thank you for indulging me. I don’t travel, really, ever. And the truth is I don’t have much wanderlust. I’m so happy at home. I hate flying. I only want to travel more when I’m actually traveling. I hope I can. Au revoir xo
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54 Comments on “Paris Favorites”
FANTASTIC travel diary!!!!! It sounds delicious and fabulous.
Awwww, thanks Sally 🙂 🙂 🙂
A (British/Italian) friend recently asked my why Americans seem to love Paris so much. I think you nailed the answer.
It’s really like no other place I’ve been (which doesn’t say a lot, but still :)).
Your photography workshop was time well spent…such beautiful shots thx for sharing
Thank you, Barb! I’m going to dedicate another entire post to the photography workshop itself … it was too much to combine everything into one post. Thank you for the kind words!
wow. just wow
🙂 🙂 🙂
Thank you!! This makes me want to go back ASAP! Your pictures are splendid.
Thank you, Margret!! (And me, too :))
Wonderful wanderlust setting in. No one can see it all and get to it all in Paris! So accepting that every moment was precious, some spontaneous, others well planned — your trip was such a success. You all ready take such wonderful photos so it will be bliss to see where you take us next.
And please, tell us you are working on the falafel recipe!! Looked divine. Most falafels are taste are just a little too dry and you have to smother them in sauce to soften and then the taste of the chickpeas is gone. You’ll nail it, I’m sure (for us!).
This travel adventure will last a long time, but you’re right . . . happiness is home.
P.S. and thank you for carving out this precious thing called ‘time’ to share your new kitchen and your insights into planning, evolving, and succeeding at the kitchen the works just-for-you.
Oh, Mary, thank you so much for all of this! I learned so much at the workshop, and I can’t wait to share those thoughts in another post. And you are SO right about falafel: so often it’s all about sauce. I’ll work on it for sure… I’m also eager to make the crêpes—it was so much fun watching them being made!—and the mini pita à la Mokonuts. I’ll keep you posted!
My mouth is watering- for all of Paris!!!
And my eyes are starting to tear up!
How could anyone ask why we love Paris?
Thanks for the lovely trip in photos!!!
Awwww, Marilyn, thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂 I know, right? It’s such a dream.
Oh, how I miss Paris and France! So wonderful Ali. These are fantastic pictures and memories you shared with us.
Thank you, Dana!
I’m sorry, but you must’ve attended a photography workshop in Paris to be the instructor, am I right? Your photos are gorgeous and so evocative of the spaces, moods, and textures of Paris… the sense of everything being so fleeting and precious and savored really comes through. The food looks just incredible. Really brings the “less is more” idea directly home. Thanks for the wild and so generous tour and narration.
Oh Martha, you make me cry and blush … thank you. I don’t remember the last time or really if there were ever a time during which I felt every second was so precious. Also, I think the other workshop attendees thought I was totally insane because I spent every second of “free” time off exploring somewhere.
Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures
I was so hungry looking at all the wonderful food
A job well done.
It is absolutely my pleasure, Phyllis … thank you 🙂
This was SO enjoyable to read. You did a beautiful job. Your photography was stunning and really captured the essence of Paris. Thanks for sharing!
Awww, thanks, Kimberley!!
Wow! How I envy you. Paris is my most favorite place in the world. I’m making a list of all the places you mentioned ( the great thing about Paris is you know they’ll still be there in years to come) and I intend to visit them all. And I’m passing on your email to one of my daughters who lived in Paris for 3 years in the Naughties and she’s a real foodie and great cook. It’s a long way from Australia but I find it hard to stay away especially as I have gorgeous relatives in Paris. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and writings. Cheers Alex
Oh Alex, you are so welcome 🙂 Isn’t it fun to have relatives in Paris?? I don’t know what I would have done without Betsy and Alon. I could have spent every night out with them eating and drinking till midnight and beyond. Such fun. I hope you make it bake to Paris soon! Would love to hear what would be included on your daughters’ favorites list.
Beautiful pics! I would only add Le Petit Célestin where we had our last group dinner!
Natasha thank you!! I was trying to remember the name and couldn’t, and I kept googling for Jais’s other restaurant, but couldn’t find it. Adding to the list now. Thank you!! ALSO, I’ve been making the beet dip from Maydan … so good! More soon. Hope you are well. xoxo
Yes, the butter!
This was my first time reading your blog, and I think I’ve come to love it. The way you’ve beautifully told about your journey shows how amazing it was, and these pictures really are breathtaking and drooling. 😀
Awww, thanks so much Ushmana!
We spent a week in Paris just exactly a year before you did. Not a single museum for us, either, and no regrets on that score,
although we did walk through the grounds of the Louvre when it was closed. There was a string quartet playing in the courtyard and it was magical, of course. It was an incredible unforgettable week. I’m so glad your experience was the same.
I passed the Louvre in a cab one day and wow: it is astonishing and overwhelming and beautiful, and part of me does wish I had just found a moment to stroll through the courtyard, which sounds, by your and many accounts, so, so lovely. Next time!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I realize how much time it takes to assemble, edit and obsess over the details of such a large presentation. So-o-o much appreciated. Great photos! I’m transported and overwhelmed! Beautiful!
Oh Paula, thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂 Not going to lie: it wasn’t easy navigating up and down the 70+ photos … but it was fun, too.
Did the butter taste as good at home? Or was it only good when you were surrounded by that Parisian atmosphere?
Great question: YES!!
What a fabulous post! I went to Paris just once and recently realized that is now 9 years ago! I hooked up with my brother there, who is ALL about museums and hates to shop, but it was a fabulous introduction to that beautiful city and he was an excellent tour guide. However, we unfortunately had some BIG disappointments in finding good food other than breakfasts, in spite of my doing diligent research for recommendations. I basically went there for the food, after all! I’m still not over that.
So now, after reading your post, oh boy would I love to go back and do it your way! The food, the shops, a good little AirBnB, the spontaneity. I’m saving this for inspiration and maybe even some much needed motivation. Thanks for taking the time to share your great story and your beautiful pictures, Alexandra.
Oh Marcia, that’s the worst! It’s so disappointing when food decisions don’t work out well… I’ve so been there. My favorite bites in Paris nearly all came from the street vendors/cafés — nothing fancy, just good, simply food. I wish your next visit to Paris to be a big success on the food front 🙂
Such fun to see how your trip came together, Ali! Maddie and I just looked through your travel post and had fun remembering our trip there and adding some new ideas from your trip to the list for ‘next time’. Maddie was impressed that you made it a museum-free trip, which is always her goal when we travel (and she managed to achieve it last spring break!). Such fun to see all of this – and love that you ran into Patricia Wells!
Laura!! I was thinking of you and Maddie as I sat alone at the bar at Pink Mamma, wondering where you two sat at the restaurant. Such a fun spot! Thank you for all of your suggestions and notes. I am eager to get back… maybe even tos see a museum or two 🙂
Such beautiful pictures! I have never been in Paris but I have lived in St Petersburg which is similar in architecture. As far as butter…I buy president french butter in Fl at Publix and it is wonderful but of course I cant compare. 🙂
I’ve seen that brand! Will give it a try!
Ohh my! These are the most beautiful pictures! Thanks for taking the time to upload all these incredible pictures of food and places in Paris, I’ve never been to Paris myselft but I am plannin a trip next year, I think I would skip the museums too haha and will visit the markets and such beautiful cafes.
Oh how exciting!! You’re going to have a ball 🙂
Thank you so much for your wonderful tour through Paris. Just spent time there in my mind’s eye.And you met Patricia Wells!
Awwww, you are so welcome 🙂 🙂 🙂
Makes me “homesick” for Paris…and its not even my home!!!
🙂 🙂 🙂 I love it.
Where did you buy the butter in Paris?
Maison Plisson! https://lamaisonplisson.com/fr_FR/
Such a great shop!
Bread, butter, coffee, Paris.
Hi Alexandra! Do you recall where you did the photography workshop? I read in your comments you were going to write a piece on it but after searching through the blogposts I havn’t found it yet. I’m so curious! Thanks (and a happy new year) in advance.
Laura, hi! I know, I never followed up with a post on the actual workshop … maybe I’ll do that in the New Year. I took the course through Olaiya Land and Yossy Arefi. Olaiya’s website has the details for upcoming workshops: https://www.millys-kitchen.com/workshops-and-events
I’m currently only seeing one new workshop, but maybe email her and see if she has anything in the works for Paris + Photography in 2020.