From the blog

Food-filled Escape to Paris

“Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there was no cure for Paris.”

That quote really speaks to me. I cannot quite put my finger on it, try hard as I have, but there is just something about Paris that sets my soul on fire, and I am always shocked to hear that some people don’t quite feel the same. Perhaps I’ve been influenced all my life by the authors and poets that wrote of it, or my favourite art movement which was born there. I guess it is a combination of its architecture and history, art and style which makes it so timeless to me, and keeps drawing me back. And one other thing, of course …

Food is an integral part of French culture, and the Parisians take their food pretty seriously. As Julia Child once said, “In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” While French cuisine – long hailed by many as the greatest cuisine in the world – has throughout the years been arguably overshadowed by strong rivals, there are three areas in which it is, in my personal opinion, unbeatable – cheese, bread, and pastries … and on all three, I am quite obsessed.

The Paris food scene is today diverse and sizzling, allowing you to sample everything from the very best of French to over 60 international cuisines, from the traditional to the modern. As the city with the second most Michelin stars in the world after Tokyo (on that, please refer to my Japan post), there are plenty of impressive places where to splurge. However, there’s (literally) countless eateries for you to enjoy on a more moderate budget, too, and that’s what I’ve gone for in my two most recent trips.

As for what to see and do in Paris, the list is endless. The below are simply a few of the city’s most popular landmarks and areas which I have re-visited recently and which you can check out on a long weekend in the city; they simply scratch the surface, but there is plenty of available information on this elsewhere (for example, check out


The Île de la Cité, one of Paris’ two islands in the middle of the Seine, is one of my favourite spots in Paris, together with its surrounding areas. With the magnificent gothic cathedrals of La Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, as well as other landmarks such as the Palace of Justice, this relatively small natural island in the heart of Paris is understandably a popular tourist spot. After the recent unfortunate incident, I hope that the Notre Dame will be able to welcome visitors once more in the near future. The view from its bell tower is particularly close to my heart, perhaps because I grew up watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame on loop. After you explore its main landmarks, get away from the crowds in the serene Place Dauphine, then pop into the gorgeous Shakespeare and Company bookshop across the river.


I visited Au Bougnat on both my latest trips to Paris. This small and cosy bistro, a stone’s throw away from the Notre Dame, serves up a seasonal menu of simple but well-exucuted French cuisine. I visited once on a cold afternoon when it was quiet and easy to find a table, and another time on a sunny day when it was packed (mostly by locals) and thankfully had a reservation – I suggest you err on the side of caution and book a table through their website ( Keep in mind that you will be seated in close proximity to other tables and it will be a little loud when full, but it’s all part of the charm and character of the place. I will definitely return again on my next visit. The escargots de Bourgogne and shrimp risotto on my first visit were excellent, and my mushroom soup, filet mignon and crème brûlée on my second also hard to fault.


You cannot visit Paris without sampling a croissant and pain au chocolat, and Blé Sucré is just the place to do this. This award winning bakery, located around 15 minutes on foot from the Place de la Bastille, has arguably the best versions of these famous pastries in the city, and definitely the best I’ve had. I could try to explain the immaculate flaky pastry, but it is truly something that has to he experienced to be appreciated. So impressive!


The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world, just edging out the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (on that, refer to my post on Russia) at 782,910 square feet. The museum, which is home to over 38,000 art pieces, is part of the Louvre Palace, constructed in the 12th century. It is the most visited museum in the world, with over 10 million visitors in 2018. Amongst the masterpieces housed inside it one finds the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, the Raft of the Medusa, and Liberty Leading the People, although the controversial I.M. Pei’s Pyramid – the large glass structure that forms the entrance to the museum – also deserves a mention in itself (I personally think it is nothing short of stunning). Right next to the Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries is the largest park in central Paris, where you can stroll through picturesque gardens, admire statues by great masters, and even view Monet’s works at the Musée de l’Orangerie.



For a change from traditional cuisine, Benedict in the buzzing Marais district offers hip and modern fare centred around a number of varities of eggs benedict and burgers. It’s popular amongst the Parisian young crowd and doesn’t accept reservations, so you might have to wait a while for a table.


When I think of French comfort food, the first thing that comes to mind is Boeuf Bourguignonne. The tender and dark beef stew is a staple of French cuisine, and after much research I settled on trying Café des Musées’ version, which comes served in a pot alongside mashed potatoes which soak up all that lovely red wine-based sauce, and it definitely did not disappoint (although it’s not cheap and you should not expect large portions; it is a rich dish after all). Starters of garlicky escargots-filled mushrooms and cauliflower soup were also very enjoyable. I also suggest that you make a reservation through their website ( or you might not find a spot in this popular Marais eatery.


Breizh Café is a popular spot (now also having some outlets in Japan, one of which I visited in Tokyo) for a large variety of savoury and sweet crepes/galettes to make a meal out of or for a sweet post-lunch/dinner bite. Reservations are possible in certain time slots; ours was a last-minute decision and we had to queue for a short while. Skip the coffee (it was pretty awful), and pick a cider instead.


Montmartre is perhaps the most charming neighbourhood in Paris, with its cobbled stones, pretty streets and picture-perfect cafés. It manages to retain that village atmosphere that appealed to some of the city’s most famous impressionist painters. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as the Sacré-Cœur, is Montmartre‘s most famous landmark. Take your time to explore the winding roads packed with street artists and little boutiques, take a few shots of some striking buildings, and spot your native tongue on Le mur des je t’aime, an art installation in a small public garden consisting of a wall with the words ‘i love you’ written in over 250 languages. It’s even worth splurging on an over-priced coffee or fresh orange juice at the Relais de la Butte restaurant, just so you can sit in their outside seating area – that little square has something quintessentially Parisian to me, and I could sit there all morning.


I am a bread afficionado, so I spent the better part of one morning and afternoon on my latest trip sampling some of Paris’ most popular sandwhiches.


What is, in my opinion, the king of all bread – the baguette – is traditionally enjoyed by the locals with simply some butter and fresh ham, known therefore as a Jambon-beurre. Grenouilles, right next to the Sacré-Cœur, serves up an excellent version, with the crusty, chewy bread shining through (although they add gherkins to theirs for added flavour). If you come for lunch or later you might be able to sample a warm raclette version, apart from other options throughout the day.

Abri is a whole-in-the-wall Japanese eatery that serves up a Saturday lunch sandwhich special (the only thing on the menu for Saturday lunch) which has gained some notoriety. Its tonkatsu pork sandwhich consists of brioche bread sandwiching juicy tonkatsu pork, purple cabbage, cheese, omelette, mayo, mustard and a tangy sweet and sour sauce – this is prepared right in front of you in the tiny kitchen in the middle of the few available tables. Perhaps a touch too acidic for my taste, but definitely satsifying and different. Again, they have a no reservation policy, but tables usually change over fairly quickly, or you can take it to go. The complimentary madeleines at the end of your meal are a nice touch.

Frenchie-to-go is a popular fast-food establishment that serves a small menu including pulled pork, fish and chips, and Ina Garten’s favourite hot dog. I went for the famous Reuben sandwhich stuffed with layer upon layer of gorgeous pastrami together with a tangy pickled beetroot/cabbage combo. Another busy spot which also offers takeout option, and I hear their breakfast options are good too.

My final spot on my sandwhich tour was a lobster roll from Homer Lobster. You can choose from a number of different rolls, but I suggest the Classic. The perfect brioche roll stuffed with the simple, fresh lobster and crayfish mix is heavenly, and the only downside is that this costly, ultra light sandwhich ends in a few bites (although for a few extra Euro you can opt for some extra filling stuffed into your roll through their XL version).


Stohrer is the oldest patisserie in Paris, founded in 1730 by King Louis XV’s pastry chef, Nicolas Stohrer, and the claimed birthplace of the Rum Baba. Now that you’re sufficiently impressed, you can perhaps justify splurging on some of their sweet or savoury pastries. Being super full after my sandwhich tour, I opted to just taste one of their famous Puit d’Amour (which translates to Well of Love), a small puff pastry case filled with creme patisserie and caramelised with a traditional branding oven. Delightful.


Often described as the world’s most beautiful Avenue, the Champs-Élysées runs from Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located, just under 2 kilometres in length. The most famous street in Paris is lined with high-end stores, cafés and offices, an ideal shopping or strolling spot. The The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is a famous Parisian landmark honouring those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. You can examine the names of victories and generals inscribed on its surfaces, visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and even climb to the top of the Arch for sweeping views over Paris.
Elsewhere, another road worth visiting for a colourful shot is Rue Crémieux, a pedestrianised road of private residences with their façades painted in gentle pastel colours.


A Melbourne-inspired cafe that has gained notoriety as a modern must-go breakfast destination in Paris is Holybelly 5. Sampling their pancakes, poached eggs or other hearty options will require you to wait in line, but my bourbon butter-maple syrup-bacon-egg-pancake combo was definitely worth it.


The macaron (to be distinguished from the entirely unrelated macaroon) is yet one more French gift to the world. The delicate meringue-based almond cookie is found in the best bakeries all over the world, but perhaps none more renowned than Ladurée. The French based bakery is one of the world’s best-known sellers of the double-decker macaron and still my favourite so far (even to the popular Pierre Herme’s, which were visually superior and had interesting flavour combos but were a touch too sweet in my opinion). I was lucky enough to try their incredibly well-balanced matcha flavour in Tokyo, but when in Paris my go-to flavour is the Marie Antoinette, a blend of Chinese black tea, rose, citrus and honey (although I suggest sampling a multitude of flavours). With three locations in Paris, including the popular outlet on the Champs-Élysées, these are a must-try when in the city.


Ramen is gaining ground in Paris, and I had a pretty memorable bowl from Kodawari Ramen (and I’ve eaten ramen in Japan). We waited for over an hour for a seat, but stepping inside this dark eatery designed to look like a Japanese alleyway lets the outside world slip away. Try not to salivate too hard as you wait for your steaming bowl of heart-warming noodle broth. Go for their black sesame ramen special for a seriously flavourful treat. The dorayaki made a lovely dessert, too.


There is no landmark more synonymous with Paris than the Tour Eiffel. The 324 metre-high wrought-iron lattice tower, the highest structure in Paris, received great criticism at the time of its completion. Designed by engineer Gustave Eiffel, who lent it its name, the Eiffel Tower is today the most visited paid monument in the world. Previously holding the title of highest building in the world for around 40 years, you can today climb it by elevator and enjoy 360 degree views over Paris, or even dine at the Jules Verne restaurant 125 metres above ground. The Champ de Mars, the large garden leading up to the Tour Eiffel, is a great spot for a stroll or picnic with the tower in full view.


Steak-frites (steak and french fries) is a common and popular meal served in many restaurants in France. There are many places where you could enjoy this; I have personally visited Sacrée Fleur (first two pictures below) and L’Aller Retour (following three pictures) and both were memorable.


With a number of gardens and parks, as well as the Seine embankment running through the city, Paris is a great place to enjoy a picnic on a sunny day. Purchase some lovely Brie, Camembert or Morbier (and Bordier Butter if you have a knife handy) from Laurent Dubois and a fresh baguette from Eric Kayser and you’re good to go! You can buy your cheese from the outlet on Boulevard Saint-Germain, bread from the outlet right around the corner in Rue Monge, and enjoy it all in Jardin du Luxembourg just a 15-minute walk away. De rien!


I hope you’ve enjoyed my suggestions on some of the food you can feast on and things to see when in gorgeous Paris, and that I’ve inspired you to visit one of my favourite places on Earth.

I realise in retrospect that most of my choices were meat based. Although I try to follow a plant-based diet on most days, I allow myself to order what I want when on holiday. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, do check out the above eateries’ latest menus before your trip, as they might have something appropriate for your diet.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next time! K x