19 May, 2017
Brilliant food writer Harry Eastwood is author of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, The Skinny French Kitchen, A Salad for All Seasons and most recently Carneval. We cannot wait for her to cook over our campfire in September. This week we met up with Harry in Paris, where she lives, and she gave us a whistlestop tour of some of her favourite places. It was so good that we asked her to share her Paris top ten with all of you, so here it is, over to Harry.
HARRY'S TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN PARIS:
1. Grab dinner or lunch at Les Arlots on your way in or out from the Gare du Nord. Book ahead at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's a 5 minute walk from the station. The places opposite and around the Gare du Nord otherwise are expensive and pretty crap.
2. Get a cocktail at Candelaria, the bar behind a little trap door, in the Marais. Green Hornet is the one to ask for as an aperitif, then I like drinking Sol with my tacos. Maybe a Margarita. Go early, it gets very busy after 10PM. You can finish the evening at Le Connetable, which is open until 5AM and if you're lucky, they'll have a live band playing in the cellar downstairs.
3. Picnic in the Buttes du Chaumont when the sun shines OR join the hippy happy young folks on the edge of the Canal St Martin, drinking chilled rose in the sunshine, with their legs dangling over the edge. If you're craving a burger, Blend is amazing and just round the corner. They do take away. You can also order take away cocktails to be delivered to where you are by ordering from www.nighthawks.paris.
4. Get a coffee at RadioDays on Rue Alibert and order their excellent stack of banana pancakes. Drinking great coffee and reading the papers (they have both English and French language ones, including the NYTimes) is one of my favourite weekend things to do. On a Sunday, the market is on between 10-2PM on Rue Alibert too. Good cheese and fresh produce to be found. A half pint at the Carillon after the market is also a tradition of mine.
5. Nip into Merci for kitchenware and beautiful glasses in the 3rd. The clothes are outlandishly expensive but the kitchen and lighting departments are great. The cafe is good there too, if a little heavy on the vegan menu for my taste.
6. Ride a Batobus all the way from Jardin des Plantes to the Eiffel Tower and back- it's a lovely hour and a half spent on the water if you go for the full circle, but of course you can hop on and off all day too. Fantastic way of seeing the city and getting a sense of where everything is. They don't talk too much either thankfully and I use it as a means of public transport (I have a year pass but a daily one is around 13 euros/per person).
7. Have dinner outside at Les Philosophes and order their Salade des Utopistes with hot grilled goat's cheese toasts. The wine selection is great, the food is affordable and the produce is first rate, including the meat. They take bookings until 7.30PM and after that it's first come, first serve. The lighting in the evening is better outside at the sister restaurant, La Chaise Au Plafond. Same menu and their terrasse is lovely and on a private road so it's safe for children to play outside. Anytime you go to a terrasse, you should assume that 80% of the folks around you are smokers.
8. Buy a good bottle of wine and some salami from Quincave on Rue Brea in the 6th. The guy who runs it is called Fred and he only deals with small producers, which is why what he suggests is ALWAYS spot on. Go and sit in the Luxembourg Gardens just round the corner or if you're feeling like walking, go to the Rodin Museum gardens and have a picnic amongst the bronze statues...
9. Go for an early morning run on the banks of the Seine, before having a slightly touristy but oh so much fun brunch at La Favorite on the Ile St Louis. It's a chain but a good one- and they do eggs as well as decent croissants. For great coffee, you'll need to nip over the water to La Cafeoteque, a 5 minute walk away. Berthillon ice cream on Rue St Louis en L'ile is as good as the hype makes it out to be. It may sound unadventurous but trust me on this: try their Vanilla.
10. Le Perchoir de l'Est is a rooftop terrasse on top of the Gare de l'Est and is hip and cool and loads of fun. It's great for an early drink before you go to La Patache for red and white check tablecloth, hearty French grub. If you're in the mood for beef, order the Cote de Boeuf from the ardoise- this is where they keep the good stuff. The ardoise is the chalkboard and is home to the rare breed, well hung beef. You'll also get instant respect from your waiter, which is not something that happens often in Paris. This beef is the reason for going here, apart from super friendly service, a comforting atmosphere and good value. Even if the chips are crap (not homemade) and make sure to order your salad dressing on the side because it's almost always over-dressed, this is still a great place for dinner. The bar next door is open till 2 AM and is hands down my favourite haunt in Paris. Grimy in a delightful, honest way that is rare in a city full of tourists all year round. Cash only, so come prepared. Mind you, the drinks are cheap.
There are so many more! This is a good first stab. Have a wonderful time in Paris! It's the most wonderful city, and such a friendly size.
And once you've booked your Eurostar tickets, you can book your tickets for The Good Life Experience here.
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