For those who follow me on Instagram, you know that I spent last week traveling through France. This was my and my husband’s belated one year wedding anniversary trip. Our anniversary was actually in June, but all of my friends who love visiting Paris told us to wait and either make our visit in the fall or the spring. So, fall it was and we could not have timed it more perfectly. The weather was wonderful, consisting of those days where pants or a dress with a light jacket or sweater will do. And, it only rained half a day on our last day there. I have come back with so many things that I love about the cities that we visited, but today I'm going to share with you my top favorites. And, because this is primarily a food and nutrition / wellness space, I’m going to stick with my favorite things from those categories. If you have questions about anything else we did or saw or ate, please message me and I’ll get back with you!
MY FAVORITE THINGS IN….
A cozy little restaurant in Montmartre. Kyle and I grabbed a seat at the picnic tables outside and shared delicious salads with fresh figs, goat cheese, burrata and herbs plus a dish of fresh fish and vegetables. We relaxed and ate while taking in the cobblestone roads and the people passing by. From here we headed on to see Sacre Coure and explore Montmartre.
Le Papilles - an incredible restaurant. It’s tiny so make sure you get reservations in advance! They serve one menu with several courses. When we were there they had the best beef slow roasted in a red wine sauce with carrots and other vegetables as the main dish. They have an extensive wine selection and the chef (and owner) is very friendly. We loved this place so much that we tried to eat here again on our last night in France but could not get a reservation. It’s a must visit!
Cooking class at La Cuisine.
Make reservations in advance! Each class only allows about 10 people. We started at one of the markets in the morning, learning about their different cuts of meats, how to tell when meat is the freshest, and learning about their various cheeses and a few fruits and vegetables. As a group we got to pick what items we wanted to cook that day for lunch and then headed back to the cooking school where we all worked together to prepare a lunch from our purchases. I LOVED this. Among many things, we learned…
The correct way to cut French bread (I didn’t know that there was a certain method…),
How to cook duck and what the difference is between this duck you find in markets and the duck you eat after hunting it yourself (I’m from the South, so that’s the kind of duck I’m familiar with). I was super hesitant about the duck because I’ve never liked it when I’ve had it back in Tennessee or Texas. However this duck was tender and had a much more mild flavor - not “gamey” at all.
What “confit” means, which is basically just cooked in fat. Probably won’t be using too much of this cooking technique in my recipes on this blog but it’s always great to know!
Proper technique for peeling and cutting foods like pears and fennel.
How to cook caramel without a candy thermometer.
Breakfasts at Poilaine and Claus.
We woke up early to get a start on the day and so I loved our breakfasts in the quiet calm Paris mornings. One morning we went to Poilaine and the other morning we went to Claus. I loved them both for their simplicity, the fresh feeling you got when you walked in and the fact that they served a variety of egg dishes, which I was craving in the mornings. I love a good pastry, but I couldn’t live solely on these alone to get me through our busy Paris mornings.
L’As du Fallafel was not a place I would have typically thought to go to. However, it was on every single list that I received from my friends. So, after a morning of venturing through the Louvre and biking to the Arc de Triomphe we found ourselves outside this little dive. There will probably be a line out the door when you go, but don’t worry. They are extremely efficient at getting people in and the service is fast (but somehow doesn’t make the diner feel rushed at all). We waited in line for maybe 7 minutes and were seated. I got the “special” falafel, which was basically roasted veggies, slaw in a tahini dressing and falafel all stuffed into a light and fluffy pita. I can’t remember what Kyle got, but he found it equally scrumptious. Definitely make a stop here if you find yourself in the Jewish Quarter in Le Marais on your next trip to Paris!
We had not intended to stop at La Petit Chatelet. We were actually at the bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, next door and, after getting lost in all of the new and very old books, realized we needed to eat before moving on to Notre Dame and Versailles. Le Petit Chatelet was right next door and we were able to snag an outside table that gave us a view of Notre Dame. While dining we got to chat with the gentleman sitting next to us. He was from Germany but in Paris for the weekend. He asked us lots of questions about Texas but also told us about all of his favorite things about Paris. For our menu selections, we were grabbing lunch so late we decided to split some of the salads. The melon in Paris is so juicy and delightful. I really don’t care for cantaloupe in the states, but here it was absolutely delicious! We enjoyed the ham and melon salad (topped with fresh basil of course) and the tomato and mozzarella salad. Both tasted so fresh and were bursting with flavor. Paired with a glass of rose, it was the perfect low-key lunch.
I seriously cannot say enough wonderful things about the Louberon area. It was incredible and I would recommend anyone stay here on a trip to France. We stayed in a town called Saint Saturnin Les Apt. Our Bed and Breakfast called, Le Mas Perreal, was a house set on a vineyard with towns only five to fifteen minutes away. I think my favorite breakfasts of the entire trip were served here at our Bed & Breakfast. Breakfasts consisted of incredible croissants and homemade jams, a fresh banana smoothie, bowls of fresh melon drizzled with plain yogurt, fresh banana pancakes, and a homemade quiche lorraine. And the view could not have been better. Sitting there, savoring the wonderful meal and sipping my coffee while chatting with Kyle was the most refreshing part of my day.
You could also be really active here. Both mornings I took a jog along the back roads that wound throughout the different vineyards. Kyle went to a nearby town to rent a bike and spent one of the days cycling through the countryside, stopping for lunch along the way.
This was our favorite dinner spot. It was INCREDIBLE. Kyle and I both agreed that it was our number one dinner over our entire trip. This establishment is owned by a woman and her husband. He does all the cooking while she serves and chats with the customers (all in French of course. I don’t think anyone spoke English at this restaurant). It’s cozy, it’s elegant, it’s delicious. You must go!
If we make a trip back to France, I hope that we can come back here to stay in this Bed and Breakfast and eat at this incredible restaurant.
So, those are my most memorable dining experiences in France. If you ever make a trip, I hope you get to stop in at least one of these! And, if you didn’t feel like reading that entire post, I hope you at least leave the page with this….
My top 5 favorite dining experiences:
Breakfast at Le Mas Perreal, our Bed & Breakfast in Saint Saturnin.
Happy travels and happy fueling!