A Gourmet Guide to Paris
From butter-scented patisseries to secret walled vineyards, food fanatic and wine-lover, Emily Jones goes in search of Paris’ most decadent culinary experiences during her stay at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris…
The very scent of Paris stirs the taste buds – the streets hang heavy with an infusion of butter and bread as the sun rises, shifting to garlic, wine and fresh herbs as the sun sets
If you spend an afternoon getting lost in Paris' backstreets, two things are guaranteed; firstly, you will probably return with a fabulous fashion purchase from one of the many independent boutiques; secondly, you will probably not be able to fit into this purchase having been lured into countless patisseries, wine bars and cheese shops during the course of your adventure. Indeed, the very scent of Paris stirs the taste buds – the streets hang heavy with an infusion of butter and bread as the sun rises, shifting to garlic, wine and fresh herbs as the sun sets.
Staying at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris only adds to a foodie's culinary journey. The former residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte (Napoleon's grandnephew), you can almost hear the echoed clinks of crystal glasses from the grandiose feasts of Paris' past. Built in 1896, the hotel has been carefully restored to evoke all the glamour and opulence of its former owner, and everywhere you turn, there is a breathtaking mural, a dazzling chandelier or an intricate piece of masonry that has you staring at the ceiling in wonder.
Vive le bistro!
Paris' tiny backstreets are home to hundreds of privately run bistros that offer fantastic prix-fixé lunches (a set menu of house specials that is generally great value for money). Bistros are a Parisian incarnation that likely developed out of basement kitchens and are like tiny temples for classic French cuisine. There are so many to choose from, it is worth happening upon your own hidden gem but for guaranteed delights, you can't go wrong with Le Baratin (3 rue Jouye-Rouve) for a cosy bistro experience; Casa Olympe (48 Rue Saint-Georges, 9th) for fabulous bohemian home cooking and Le Bistrot Paul-Bert (18 Rue Paul Bert) for decadent classic Parisian fare.
Paris' secret vineyard
Few tourists realise that in Paris you can combine two of France's greatest pleasures in one daytrip – a visit to Sacré-Coeur cathedral and a hazy afternoon tasting locally produced wine. Clos Montmartre is a fully functioning vineyard tucked away on a sun-facing slope of Montmartre hill. The vineyard has produced wine since the Romans built a temple here dedicated to Bacchus (the God of Wine) and with 1,556 square metres of vines, it yields around 1,500 half-litre bottles of Gamay and Pinot Noir every year. During October, the vineyard plays a pivotal role in Les Fête des Vendanges de Monmartre - a celebration of food and wine held in the streets of Montmatre (for the full programme check out the website here)
Taking a little piece of Paris home
Strolling through the food markets is a true Parisian pleasure and The Marché Biologique (Organic Market) on the Boulevard Raspail is the most well known of Paris' outdoor markets. Every Sunday, Parisians browse (and taste) the vibrant, fresh produce - from piles of fruit and vegetables to dairy products and seafood – at the small stalls lining the streets between the Rue de Rennes and the Rue du Cherche-Midi. Alternatively, take a stroll down Rue Cler any morning and you will be delighted by the Chocolatiers, Crêperies and Fromageries.
Your home away from home
Sometimes the best experiences can be found right under your nose, and this is the case, if you are staying at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. L'Abeille is the hotel's fabulous fine dining restaurant situated down the grand stairs on the edge of a tree-lined courtyard. It is the perfect place to indulge in true French gastronomy (particularly as you only have a short distance to roll back to your room after dinner!) where Chef Philippe Labbe remains true to his classical culinary roots, whilst exciting the palate with innovative twists. The six-course tasting menu takes you on a luxurious journey, using Paris' best ingredients – from delicate salmon to decadent chocolate – and ticking off quintessential French pleasures along the way, including a wonderful wine pairing with insight from the knowledgeable sommelier, and an incredible cheese board that is a gastronomic experience in itself.
After such a day of indulgence, there is no better way to digest and reflect than savouring an aperitif on the beautiful balcony of a suite at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris and watching the Eiffel Tower dance with lights in front of the glistening Seine.
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I want the fashion & food of Paris.. It must really be cool to be at Shangri-la in Paris :D