How to eat around Paris this summer


Paris will host the Summer Olympics this year, and while athletes may need to watch their diet, tourists can enjoy the city's gastronomic delights.Photo/Tamara Hinson

This year the Summer Olympics will be held in Paris. Sadly, the country's athletes will have to avoid delicious, calorie-packed foods. Good news? The rest of us are free to spend our time, and Tamara Hinson knows the ins and outs of where to go when hunger strikes.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the only people deserted on Rue Montorgueil in Paris's 1st and 2nd arrondissements are residents strolling around with onion wreaths around their necks. This semi-pedestrian boulevard is famous for its gastronomy and has a great French atmosphere. I suspect Claude Monet would agree — in 1878 he painted this painting: Avenue Montorgueil in Paris. Feast of June 30, 1878A work depicting a cityscape with the French flag flying.

It has a rich history. One of his oldest businesses, L'Escargot was founded years before Monet immortalized the street. Unsurprisingly, escargot is a specialty here, with a giant golden snail standing at the entrance. But I'm not talking about just any snail. Snails from Burgundy are blanched, marinated in court bouillon (soup) and served with truffles, brie or Espelette his pepper.

Do you have a sweet tooth? If you're like me, head across the road to Charles Chocolatier, a family-owned business founded in 1910. In this cocoa-scented paradise, you'll find everything from the Eiffel Tower to handbags made from the finest chocolate. Are your all-important blood sugar levels still high? Why not stop by next door to Amorino? Here, the brand's famous gelato is carved into the shape of a flower and served in a cone. We recommend the mango flavor, which uses mango juice imported from India.

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Charles Chocolatier, founded in 1910, offers a variety of chocolate sculptures, including the Eiffel Tower and handbags, while Amorino offers gelato in the shape of flowers.Photo/Tamara Hinson
Charles Chocolatier, founded in 1910, offers a variety of chocolate sculptures, including the Eiffel Tower and handbags, while Amorino offers gelato in the shape of flowers.Photo/Tamara Hinson

read more: Where to eat in Paris: Off-the-beaten-path dining guide

For me, Rue Montorgueil is the star of the show in Les Halles, a district named after the 11th-century market that once stood here. In the mid-1800s, the famous French architect Victor Bartard designed the beautiful glass and iron Market Hall in Les Halles, which became one of his most famous landmarks in Paris. It was demolished in the 1970s and is now (somewhat sadly) a shopping mall owned by Westfield. On the plus side, the Lego store's window display includes a very nice Lego sculpture depicting a pastry chef and a plate of macarons. We also recommend the nearby Saint-Eustache church. Enter this huge church and admire its eclectic architecture. Built in 1532, the building has undergone numerous restorations, incorporating Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical styles. It also houses France's largest organ (free concerts are held on Sundays).

Let's get back to talking about food. Montparnasse is also a district with a vibrant Parisian feel. There are sidewalk cafes with chairs filling the sidewalks and fragrant flowers hanging from pinstripe awnings. Spending a sunset at the small bar Le Tournesol is the perfect opportunity for people-watching. I forgot to count the number of spoiled dogs that waddled past. Almost all have bright white fur that somehow repels the city dirt that clings to dogs from other places.

Considering the diversity, Pigalle would be the answer. In the 19th century, this district was a hangout for some of France's most famous artists. Today it is known for its culinary diversity. At Hotel Rochechouart, which has a beautiful Art Deco façade dating back to 1929, we ate at the recently opened restaurant Maggie. It is known for its steaks and seafood, but for dessert you can't miss the crepe his cake, which has already attracted many fans. Finish with cocktails on the hotel rooftop. Paris appears wider and flatter when viewed from above. The lack of skyscrapers, apart from the Eiffel Tower in the distance, adds to the feeling of time standing still here.

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Paris is famous for its macarons. Macarons are delicate, colorful sandwich cookies made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar and filled with various flavors of ganache, buttercream, or jam.Photo/Tamara Hinson
Paris is famous for its macarons. Macarons are delicate, colorful sandwich cookies made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar and filled with various flavors of ganache, buttercream, or jam.Photo/Tamara Hinson

We also recommend strolling through the Le Marais district, famous for its old buildings, church-lined streets, and rainbow-colored crosswalks (it's the most LGBTQ-friendly district in Paris). It's home to some of the city's best vintage shops and has a wonderfully eclectic vibe. I just don't understand the nature of a business where there's a stuffed fox in a shop window wearing a feathered hat. And my favorite place is Moose, which is also a beauty salon. And a coffee shop. It feels like a world away from your next stop. La Reserve Paris is a luxury hotel near the Champs-Elysées, but I feel that it is delicious without being known. Here we have Le Gabriel, which has earned his three Michelin stars. My advice? Head to the hotel's other (and slightly cheaper) restaurant, La Pagode de Cos, helmed by the same chef, Jérôme Banktel. If possible, grab a table in the hotel's cozy The Duc de Morny Library. Here at Banctel, we offer traditional French cuisine and modern cuisine. Highlights include lobster rolls with wasabi mayonnaise and blue lobster salad.

The most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in Paris, Le Marais is lined with old buildings, church-lined streets, and eclectic shops such as Mousse, a combination hair salon and coffee shop. Photo/123rf
The most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in Paris, Le Marais is lined with old buildings, church-lined streets, and eclectic shops such as Mousse, a combination hair salon and coffee shop. Photo/123rf

Finally, Parisians love brunch, and one of the most decadent examples is the brunch served at Le Lobby at The Peninsula Paris. Yes, it's expensive (185 euros or $332 per adult), but I'm sure we've eaten the equivalent with scallops alone. No expense is spared. There's a huge plateau of oysters, a giant hunk of ham cleverly propped up on a scary-looking slicing machine, and dozens of cheeses arranged with the flair of a Louvre curator. If you have time, you can also enjoy desserts, from beautiful cakes to towering chocolate fountains. The environment is wonderful as well. Le Lobby, with its delicate sculptures and potted palms, is an explosion of the Belle Époque, and Marcel Proust and Picasso were once regulars (he opened the first hotel here in 1908). Proust was also a fan of Paris. In its Salon Proust, named after Proust, you can enjoy one of his best afternoon teas in Paris. The highlight here is Madeleine. This small, fluffy, cloud-like cake is the signature dessert of the hotel's pastry chef, François Perret.

La Réserve Paris, a luxury hotel near the Champs-Elysées, offers delicious food at the three-Michelin-starred Le Gabriel and the more affordable restaurant La Pagode de Cos.
La Réserve Paris, a luxury hotel near the Champs-Elysées, offers delicious food at the three-Michelin-starred Le Gabriel and the more affordable restaurant La Pagode de Cos.

Last tip. Staying at a hotel with bikes available to guests is a great way to offset the calories, or at least the guilt of overindulging. You can also get a better view of Paris from the saddle than from the subway. My recommendation is Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero, which has a gorgeous rooftop with views of the Eiffel Tower. Oh, and of course there are bikes to rent if you can tear yourself away from the rooftop bar…

Find out more things to see and do in Paris here. www.france.fr/en



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