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10 Pastry filled days in Paris: Trip report


May 28th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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10 Pastry filled days in Paris: Trip report

Here’s a trip report of our 10 days in Paris. It’ll take me a few installments but I hope you enjoy it! This was our 5th time to Paris and were mostly there to wander and to eat. I particularly wanted to track down some of the most serious pastry in Paris.

Where we lived: We rented an apartment in the 14th http://www.vrbo.com/78870 This was a great apartment in a wonderful neighborhood. It was well outside the city center and added 10-15 minutes to most metro trips to get to more central destinations but we loved living in a real neighborhood with no tourists. There was a fantastic boulangerie (Le Grenier a Pain http://www.legrenierapain.com) 3 minutes from the house and many wonderful shops in the vicinity as well as a great street market twice a week (Convention.)

Transportation: We flew Air France in and out of Boston and brought everything we needed in our 2 carry on cases. It was so great not to have to wait for checked luggage! We filled our Pass Navigos and bought RT RER tickets at the airport. Arriving on a Monday morning allowed us to use the Navigos to the full advantage. On the following Monday, because the weather was rainy and we lived far out of town, we bought Mobilis passes for the day. Then on Tuesday we bought a carnet which got us through until we left on Wednesday. Metro stops were 5-10 minutes to walk to and 2 good buses were 2-3 minutes away.

Day 1- Monday: Got to the apartment around 11:00 AM after being up all night. This was the only totally clear and sunny day of our whole trip. We dropped our things and took the metro to St. Michel. Wandered the area, stopped and had a coffee at sidewalk café, enjoying the scene that is Paris! Then we headed to our usual first meal haunt: La Rotunde Montparnasse (105, Boul. Montparnasse – 75006 Tél : 01 43 26 48 26 – Brassiere open continuously til 2:00AM) for a late afternoon supper of croques and salads.

After a quick stop into the Monoprix for staples, we headed home, stopping at our fantastic neighborhood bakery, Le Grenier a Pain, for a Paris Brest. After devouring the pastry (excellent, but a little too light on the hazelnut flavor) we unpacked and pushed ourselves to stay up until we were falling over and finally crashed at about 9:00 PM and slept like logs.
plafield is offline  
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May 28th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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My kind of trip. Waiting for more.
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May 28th, 2012, 04:23 PM
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Your apartment looks very nice, and it is so reasonably priced.
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May 28th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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Can't wait to hear more,as we leave pa June 9th for 2 weeks of eating and walking...
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May 28th, 2012, 04:42 PM
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You totally drew me in with the mention of pastries! Will look for more!
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May 28th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Looking forward to more!
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May 28th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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Sorry, bad link for grenier a pain
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May 28th, 2012, 06:48 PM
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Bookmarking to drool over the pastries.
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May 28th, 2012, 07:48 PM
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Waiting for this report as we plan to be in Paris(with friends), in september.
Meanwhile, departing wednesday for Vienna,Budapest, Praga , Berlin and Madrid;(you guess, lots of strudel in sight).
More please!!!!
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May 28th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Eagerly waiting for more!
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May 28th, 2012, 10:33 PM
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Trying to figure out if there's a Le Grenier a Pain located near the apartment we will be staying in the 5th arr this September!

Looking forward to more! Sounds like my kind of holiday!
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May 29th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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I'm joining the folks waiting for more.
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May 29th, 2012, 05:28 AM
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Yes bookmarking for the next instalment
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May 29th, 2012, 05:35 AM
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LOVE the apartment and your mission!
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May 29th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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Thanks everyone. Here's the next installment!

Day 2-Tuesday: We woke up around 9:00, totally refreshed and ready to go. We had coffee at home and then headed to the 8th for a walk before our scheduled lunch at Le Cinq (31, avenue George V (8th) 33 (0) 1 49 52 70 00)

This was our big splurge meal for this trip and our third time going for lunch at Le Cinq. While the room was as gorgeous as ever and the service was amazing, I was disappointed by the meal. All the bells and whistles were as incredible as always (that brioche with the Bordier seaweed butter was simply to die for!!)but the entrees and plats were not up to snuff and I felt that for 95E per person, we would have been better off making a different choice. It was a huge disappointment that the only 2 choices of plats for the meal were things we would never have ordered under any other circumstances: mullet and kidney. In retrospect, I wish we had asked if it was possible for them substitute something. I'm guessing they would have accomodated us but we thought we'd be adventurous assuming that if anyone could make something taste good, Chef Briffard could. But not really...

first amuse: smoked mackerel –parmesan crisp-radish butter sandwich (all fantastic)
second amuse: crisp fried prawn heads- shrimp steeped in green tea, coconut milk and curry-velout of fresh peas w/ crème freshe (again, all great)
Bread service w/Bordier butter (sublime as always!)
Entrees: Mine: Oysters, horseradish/ginger tofu, asparagus in puff pastry with asparagus sauce (bland and unimaginative)
DH: Foie gras ravioli in spring vegetable broth (tasty but mostly veggies. They very stingy on the foie in the 2 tiny ravioli)
Plates: Mine: Red mullet with bone marrow, chorizo, zucchini, peppermint and almonds (extremely fishy)
DH: Veal kidney with roasted onion, blueberry, gelee, tiny new potatoes au jus (very gamey and chewy)
Pre-dessert: sheeps milk ice cream with cucumber gelee,cumquat, and olive tapanade (I do not get olives with dessert! The ice cream and gellee were delightful, the olives ruined it)
Desserts: Mine: wild strawberries in Fontainebleau cheese, strawberry milkshake, coconut lime sorbet on biscuit (fantastic!)
DH: Caramel, pear/ginger sorbet? Vanilla mousse parfait, biscuit and balsamic pears, pear mousse (also amazing)
Dessert Trolley
w/ 2 glasses of wine and bottled water, no coffee 242E

One benefit to the food not being so spectacular was that we were not stuffed to the gills by the end of the meal as was the case the last 2 times we lunched at Le Cinq. This time I could actually enjoy the extra sweets offered from the sweet trolley.

After lunch we went home to change our clothes after stopping to buy a hot baguette and a piece of pastry from Le Grenier a Pain for later in the evening. Then we headed back into town to the Invalide area for an early evening stroll.

This area is one of my favorite places to walk during sunset/twilight It’s incredible to see the light on the golden dome of Invalide and on the statuary of the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Walk over the bridge and enjoy the view of the seine and the passing boats as well as the Tour Eiffel as the lights go on. Luckily, though it had rained earlier in the day, it cleared enough that evening for us to enjoy a gorgeous walk. Back at our apartment we had a late supper of omelets, fresh baguette and a raspberry, lemon coconut tart from Le Grenier a Pain. A lovely day.
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May 29th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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Day 3- Wednesday: We woke up and though it was threatening rain, we took a long walk around our neighborhood, the Plaisance area, with our primary goal to buy what I believe to be the best butter anywhere in the world: Raw milk butter from Pascal Beillevaire (86 Rue Raymond Losserand 75014 and other Paris locations, I believe.) We also bought 3 delicious cheeses and some fresh eggs.

Wednesday was the weekly closing day for our beloved Grenier a Pain so we made numerous stops at many bakeries as we walked the area. This is a neighborhood rich in great bakeries and we found a few stand out things on our travels including fantastic poppyseed rolls and seriously flaky croissants from Quartier du Pain (http://www.lequartierdupain.com/ ) and a great almond croissant from La Fournée d'Augustine (http://www.la-fournee-daugustine-angerville.com/ ) all devoured back at our apartment, slathered with Beliievaire butter and washed down with good coffee.

After that satisfying brunch we headed out in the gentle rain to the Musee Cognacq-Jay, a lovely little free museum full of 18th century art and artifacts in the heart of the Marais. Then a walk through Le Marais as we made our way to Jacque Genin for pastry.

Jaques Genin (133 Rue de Turenne in the 3rd) is said, by some, to be the most masterful patissier in Paris. He is also extremely well known for his chocolates and caramels. He has a gorgeous shop and little café where you can sit and enjoy his creations with coffee or try his outrageous hot chocolate. Last year we devoured his millefeulelle, which are made to order and totally outrageous. This time I was intent on trying his version of the Gateau St Honore. I was not disappointed. A shatteringly crisp pastry base is topped with 3 perfect choux puffs filled with chocolate, vanilla and caramel cream on one side and on the other side a wide piping of vanilla bean laden Chantilly cream. Just fantastic. DH had the Choux Vanille, the essence of delicious simplicity. YUM

After that pastry pigout we headed back to our apartment where we were meeting a Parisian friend of ours we had invited over for cheese and wine. We had great visit and enjoyed tasting and sharing some of the great cheeses we purchased that morning.

Later that evening we went for dinner at Le Grand Pan, (20 rue Rozenwald, 01 42 50 02 50): This restaurant was a 5 minutes’ walk from our apartment but is worth travelling for if you’re a fan of big cuts of meat.

We shared entrée of oysters with espuma of smoked haddock, lardon and seaweed puree, which was one of the best things we ate on the entire trip. For our entrees I had duck breast with sauce of red fruit, served with mushroom duxelle puree of celery root and DH had Porc Iberia with spring onion and mustard sauce, with potato puree. Both were excellent but I must say that when I saw the big slabs of beef with frites being delivered to other tables, I had a serious case of ordering envy.

Desserts were not so great and totally not worth ordering: brownies w/ white chocolate mousse (dry very nutty brownies) and Brioche with almond sauce and pear. With 1 glass of wine and bottled water the bill was 79.50E. Good value and would have been even better if we’d skipped dessert and had pastry waiting for us at the apartment. Wish we had known!
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May 29th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Really enjoying this Plafield.

I've suddenly realised now that I had promised to give you some restaurant recommendations in and near the 15th from my time spent there last October, but I completely forgot to do so. I am sorry, but am happy that you seem to have had no shortage of delightful places to eat at, and I wouldn't be surprised if you actually got to a few of the local greats that I would have suggested.

It was my first time in that area last year and I'll be returning again this October so your report will be extremely useful.

Thanks again.
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May 29th, 2012, 08:36 PM
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Enjoying your report and looking forward to more.
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May 30th, 2012, 04:33 AM
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I will be staying in Montparnasse in September, so this is great to read and get some ideas of neighborhood eats!
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May 30th, 2012, 05:28 AM
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Buttery topping.
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