I’m still not sure how it happened, but my work sent me to Paris. PARIS. For a week of real, important work things and a weekend of me running around the city and squealing because I was in Paris and eating an absurd amount of pastries. Actually the pastry-eating happened all week too. Please.
For a surreal week in an alternate reality, my morning routine became a run along the Seine from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower and a croissant/pain au chocolat/chausson aux pommes in Luxembourg Gardens before getting on the commuter train to an office where people greet each other with double kisses and every discussion happens over espresso. Seriously, though, how is this real life?
Because I apparently have a guardian unicorn who sprinkles magic dust on my life, I also got to meet up with friends from Chicago and Strasbourg who now live in Paris. Chris, Claire, Nicole—so good to see you guys! Thank you for cat snuggles and dancing.
I definitely didn’t have time to thoroughly scope out all of the food that Paris has to offer (I’m open to sponsorship for a future trip!), but I packed a borderline-concerning amount of food into a pretty incredible eight days. Some of my favorites:
A year in Strasbourg, France during college taught me to fear swans and to love tarte flambée and Picon bière, and dinner at Au Bretzel took me back to my 21-year-old self without nearly as much anxiety or chemistry homework.
I sat at the bar counter at La Régelade and pretended to read a magazine while in fact watching the servers perform the complicated dance of a busy dinner service. They don’t stop at bread for the table, bringing terrine and cornichons to accompany it—you’ll want to save room for dinner and not eat all of the terrine, but you’ll also want to eat all of the terrine. Embrace the dilemma.
The Louvre stays open until 9:45 on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I spent an evening wandering up grandiose staircases and reading about perspective in 18th century Florence. It was already past my bedtime when I showed up at Champeaux Restaurant and ordered charcuterie and a pistachio/salted caramel soufflé for dinner—such good choices.
Work colleagues and I ventured out of Paris to Les Saveurs Sauvages in Gif-sur-Yvette. Twenty minutes of confusion while attempting to order in both English and French earned us three courses that pulled off both gorgeous plating and the kind of delicious that makes you stop and exclaim after every bite.
I can’t get over how the random patisserie on the way to the train casually serves up perfect croissants and the small town at the end of my commuter train ride had prettier cakes than the fancy bakeries in Boston. So while I highly advocate stepping into every pastry shop you pass because it’s going to be amazing, a few of the things I found made me stop in my tracks: the Paris-Brest at La Pâtisserie des Rêves, the raspberry financier at Maison Kayser, the salted caramel macaron at Ladurée, the rose-shaped ice cream cone from Amorino.
I went into this trip cynically thinking that I’ve been to Paris and basically seen the city—and then I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower unexpectedly around a corner and totally melted. Crepe in hand and cobblestones underfoot, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
For up-to-the-minute pastry pictures from my next trip, follow me on Instagram.