There’s something to be said about the beautiful people in Paris. And that is that I am definitely not one of them. Not only am I about three feet too short, after two days of drip-feeding myself with macarons, chocolates, croissants, crepes and er, anything else I could get my mitts on, my face is suddenly an oil slick and hello, I have three new pimples to call my own.

Not to mention the bloatedness.

How do French women stay so thin and beautiful? Does anyone know? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?!


Anyhoos. Paris.

This wasn’t our first trip to Paris, in fact it wasn’t even our second, but we decided Paris deserved a return trip to indulge me – possibly the least cultured person on this planet. Panu knows first hand the mind numbing difficulty of convincing me to visit yet another castle or church or museum because I mean, and even you all know this, I’d rather just eat.

So considering I actually all on my own with no coercion whatsoever wanted to see the Mona Lisa and the famed Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, it was a complete no-brainer. Tickets were booked. We hopped on a small plane. We landed in Paris. Oui.

But. Ah-hah. Little did Panu know, appearing somewhat cultured was all part of my grand master plan to return to the land of le bestest patisseries. Because as categorically blond as I may be sometimes, I’m laser focused on some things. Some things like macarons. Sneaky.

We landed on Friday evening and within a matter of minutes, I’d dragged Panu out in search of crepes. We stayed in the Latin Quarter, which is far more my scene than north of the Seine where we’d previously stayed. The Latin Quarter buzzes with life after dark with street vendors selling one thing, and selling it well ~ fresh crepes.

Geezus look at my shiny forehead. Pimple incubation.

Saturday started with me stuffing my mouth with two croissants. At the same time. That went down nicely and was followed by a very cultured trip to the famous Louvre, which was sadly made more famous by Dan Brown’s mostly fictional but somehow everyone thinks it’s real novel, The Da Vinci Code.

I distinctly remember Brown’s vivid description of the parquet flooring and as I moved through the gallery, I felt rather clever, if only for a minute. We spent 4.5 hours wandering the galleries and battling the crowds to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Well, this is her…

… in all her glory behind glass and about 20 feet away.

Mona Lisa done. Lunch time!

Lunch on Saturday took the form of Le Fumoir, recommended to me by the wealth of knowledge that is Twitter. Located directly next to the Louvre (read: perfect for tired feet), it is perfect for those seeking solace from an influx of culture (read: me) and the food ain’t bad also (read: white asparagus soup YUM, chicken ceasar very good, duck delish).

Actually, I lie. One thing annoyed me about the duck. Where’s the skin and fat?! They removed the skin and fat! Oh wait, maybe this is why French women don’t get fat.


Well. Clearly dissatisfied with the lack of fat I managed to pump into my system, we then sought out the legend that is Pierre Hermé. There was a queue. Of course there’s a queue. So we queued. And it was all worth it.

My precious precious macarons! *mwahahaha!*

Dinner on Saturday night deserves a post all to itself, but it ain’t gonna get one because a) I’m lazy and b) I’m lazy. Recommended by a tall, thin, gorgeous French lady, Pershing Hall is a swanky, modern hotel which [random trivia time] commemorates American General, John Pershing.

The restaurant is set above a bar, the venues sharing a two-storey wall that is quite literally a living piece of art.

Stunning, yes? Wait til you see the food.

Pershing Hall serves modern cuisine ~ European influenced by Japanese or vice versa, I really couldn’t tell. The menu ranged from beef tartar to sashimi, black cod to a traditional steak. We started with an amuse bouche of white asparagus and truffle soup and instead of choosing starters and mains, Panu and I opted to share five dishes:

My favourites for the night – salmon tataki with miso sauce and avruga eggs, and beef tartar. The salmon was fresh and distinctly sweet but in all the right ways, and the tartar – a hefty serving for a starter size – was mouth watering.

Next favourites – pan fried foie gras which was served atop the most delicious roasted pear in all the universe, and caramelised black cod, an oldie but a goodie.

And lastly, not that it wasn’t good but rather was just quite ordinary, the crispy prawns, served with three dipping sauces. And that there is my Green Peace mocktail of kiwi, cucumber and green apple juice, served with cucumber sticks and dipping yoghurt. Fun!

Panu and I couldn’t decide on desserts to end this fabulous meal so ah, the creation of all creations, the tasting platter:

  • pear sorbet
  • roasted apple vacherin with light caramel cream
  • chocolate soufflé
  • creamy cheesecake
  • Pershing style chocolate eclair
  • rosemary pannacotta with sangria poached strawberries

The apple vacherin was by far my favourite, the mix of apple and caramel tantalising my taste buds. Most impressive however was the Pershing style chocolate eclair. I mean just look at the thing. A chocolate caramel  mini burger on steroids. YEAH.

Needless to say I crashed and slept like a baby that night.

Sunday! Rise and shine and ready to tackle the Palace of Versailles. Everything in the Palace of Versailles is stunning. Seriously everything, not the least of them the 70 meter long Hall of Mirrors.

Again exhausted from sheer culture, I’d planned to re-charge at the renowned Breizh Café whose crepes are meant to be crazy-delicious-orgasmic. All at the same time. But alas, without being too melodramatic, I’ll just say the service sucked and we walked out. Without eating. Period.

And so it became that Sunday lunch ended up being an omelette at some touristy place. I was left a rather unhappy chappy and Panu, this is why I keep him, he tried to cheer me up by buying me some Ladurée macarons. I smiled a little on the inside but didn’t pose for any photos because clearly, I was still cranky on the outside.


Dinner on Sunday night was something I’d been aching for for weeks. I read this review from LondonEater ten months ago and have since been hanging out for the best steak he’s ever had. Big call, that one.

Le Basilic oozes old Parisian feel with lofty leather couches, hanging lamps and a large cock (the rooster kind) in the middle of their floor space. Hidden away from the main thoroughfare of the Latin Quarter, the clientèle is also predominantly local, which is a good sign. Us and the locals, just the way I like.

I started with escargot, a delicacy made famous by the French but made more famous by Julia Roberts’ endearing “whooops!” as she accidentally flings one across the room in Pretty Woman. I almost did the same. Almost. The squidgy little bastards are hard enough to wriggle out of their shells but the clamp itself is a contraption to be reckoned with.

Panu had some sort of baked eggs with foie gras, served with toast and lettuce. It sounded plain on the menu but wow, the creamy foie gras and creamier eggs and possibly some added cream made this starter a total delight. For once, I wanted his. Gah.

The main event and what I’d been patiently waiting for: fillet of beef (and I didn’t care what sauce it came with).  I don’t think it needs much explanation because just look at it. Perfect medium rare. Not melt-in-your-mouth but not chewy, just enough so you know you’re dealing with some serious meat. It tasted phenomenal. I inhaled the whole thing and oh, the mash was nice too.

Never one to pass on the sweets, Panu had the crème brûlée and I the passionfruit tiramisu – a curious combination that worked remarkably well. Strangely, what stole the dessert show were these black grapes, all lumpy and funny looking and most likely picked from their garden. Astoundingly sweet and firm and honestly the most perfect grapes I’ve ever had!

Enroute home after dinner I had another crepe. And yes, I get it. This is why I have pimples.

I know this post has been epic and then some, but stay with me we’re almost there. Last but certainly not least, my new hero, my new love, Sadaharu Aoki. How I lived so long without knowing of his existence I don’t know. Finding out that his stores were closed on Mondays (late on Sunday night) was like a dagger through my little heart, but alas, we always have the Galeries Lafayette:

And in this fine Galeries Lafayette, we have a Sadaharu Aoki counter which well, firstly they didn’t allow me to take any photos, but secondly, the counter? It was like heaven. HEAVEN. In our whole weekend in Paris, I don’t think I paid attention and studied anything in greater detail. Not the Mona Lisa, not the Palace of Versailles, hell not even the menu at Pershing Hall (and certainly not the breasts at Le Crazy Horse).

I spent a long time looking at every single item on offer. A Long Time. And after A Long Time, I chose my poisons:

A giant matcha dome with an oh-so-incredibly-cute mini matcha macaron stuck on the side; chocorons (chocolate coated macarons); chocolate coated candied orange; bonbons (LOVE!); caramel truffles; matcha sticks; chocolate biscuits.

So that was Paris.

And I wonder why I’m bloated. And pimply. But so incredibly happy 🙂

For more photos, check out my facebook.

26 Thoughts on “with love from Paris: the city of culture, style and culinary decadence

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention NEW BLOG POST: with love from Paris: the city of culture, style and culinary decadence --

  2. I am so thrilled you had such a wonderful time in Paris…. Next time we’ll try to go together and I will bring you to places you would have never imagined!

  3. OMG. all that food looks so delicious. the last time i went to paris unfortunately i spent all my money on shopping as oppose to delicious food…i regretted that deeply.

  4. OMG, yum…all the pictures. I can’t wait to visit Paris, whenever that will be…

  5. Jenny on June 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm said:

    yum YUM YUM YUM YUMMMMMM! What an amazing trip and look at all that food you ate! so jealous!! Sadaharu aoki looks like an amazing place… that matcha dome hahahahaha….

  6. Yutjangsah on June 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm said:

    Man! I wish I was there! I love the little macaron matcha thingmajig! Looks great. Me jealouse. Oui

  7. Mathilde: I loved Paris, always do every time I go and it would be amazing to be there with you! 🙂

    Tracy: Hahaha I can see why, it’s easy to spend money on shopping but somehow my laser focus is only on things I can fit into my mouth 😉

    Rosa: Go! Go to Paris!

    Jenny: Sadaharu Aoki is truly amazing. He’s a Japanese pastry chef and just makes the most incredible sweets. {heart}

    Yutjangsah: I MISSED YOU!!! I so wanted to have our podgy fingers play with macarons together 🙁 🙁

  8. Great post – first time I’ve seen your blog and i really like this post, great writing style and makes me feel like I’m eating all that food. Paris is a great city for eating, isn’t it!

  9. Chardonnay73 on June 2, 2010 at 9:04 pm said:

    Wow, looks like you had a brilliant time. I adore Paris, I wanna go back there now. Fabulous blog, I loved reading it, I may just read it again so I can drool over your photos!!

  10. DB: Thanks! And yes, Paris is probably one of the best places to enjoy good food, especially pastries and desserts!

    Chardonnay73: Haha, please come back and read some more 🙂

  11. I have begun to realise we didn’t have nearly enough macaroons when we just went there. I think that warrants a macaroon buying trip tomorrow (but just to a shop in London).

    Thanks for tempting me.

  12. Maybe they just banish all over-weight local women out of the centre of Paris, that or they’ve got freaky alien DNA. It;s the only way that slender people and those desserts can co-exist surely? 😉

    Great run down of why Paris is such a lovely place to visit. While I find it cold (in an distantly elegant way) to walk around, the consistently good food is a joy and a delight. And then, when you see see their desserts. Wow. Three pimples? I’d put up with 30 for those Sadaharu Aoki concoctions.

  13. Tom: Definitely warrants a mac trip today! I hope you’re going to Pierre Herme!

    Grubworm: I think they all look like Mathilde and all have freakist DNA because have you seen the amount of food she eats?! CRAZY. Oh yeah true, my pimples are totally worth the Sadaharu Aoki goodness. 110% 😉

  14. Oh next time I go to Paris I want it to be with you! You eat soooo well! Delicious! Fabulous and I am marking down these addresses! Glad you had a fab time but obviously the food was the best part for you! That’s my kinda girl!

  15. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Catty! Love your tour of Paris. Isn’t it funny seeing the Mona Lisa from quite a distance with a crowd 4 people deep in front of you? But the drawcard was of course pastries and macarons!

  16. everything looks so good! i get you as much sight seeing and awesome stuff a city may have my focus is the food and the sweets at that! those macarons what heavenly beauty! glad you had a nice time, i hope to visit Paris someday soon 🙂

  17. Jamie: You don’t even live far from Paris do you? You should totally check all these places out, I loved them… and even Breizh Cafe…. just make sure you have a reservation for that one.

    Lorraine: The Mona Lisa is such an anti-climax, but it was brilliant to see her anyway. Personally I’m more into sculptures 🙂 And macarons! 😀

    Natassia: You should totally visit Paris! I think everyone has fun in Paris, especially anyone with a mild obsession with food 😉

  18. That steak looks fantastic but not as fabulous as the macarons and bonbons! Looks like you had a great time – I must go to Paris, haven’t been since I was 14 and looks like a mac lovers heaven!

  19. Hearing ya, museum fatigue man, it hits me hard and early…Food fatigue on the other hand, not so much. Glad you had a fun trip! Just got back from Alto Adige in Italy (the wedding) singing was non-embarassing unless everyone (quite possible come to think of it) was just lying to make me feel better and ate some good stuff too (gelato!) Hope FBC was fun and also: quick! Let’s plan your trip to here.

  20. Anne: Paris is definitely a mac lover’s heaven 🙂 Pierre Herme is my number one at the moment but I also like Laduree, Fauchon and Sadaharu Aoki. Go go go!

    Sasa: You’re back! *yay* It’s not the same when your blog just posts automatic posts. I want to know you’re there pressing the PUBLISH button yourself. Yes, I have dates from my tall+blonde now and can start planning STUFF 😀

  21. Awesome photos! I appreciate the post so much! xoxo

  22. Pingback: Weekly round-up of the national restaurant critics by @OliverThring, 15/06

  23. Pingback: France Tours | world travel tours

  24. That food looks amazing. It really makes me want to go there!

  25. First time I’ve visited your blog… good find Thanks.

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