Thursday, 29 November 2012

French Foodie in Paris: From Cinderella to Le Potager (Day 1)

After eating my sweet crepe (previous post here) there was something I really wanted to do: see the Christmas decorations at Galeries Lafayette.

It’s something I loved as a child when I was going to Paris before Christmas. The window displays at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are unbelievably magical!

In the Galeries Lafayette there was a full size Cinderella horse carriage that made all the little girls and also grow ups dream. It was just like in the Disney cartoon.

Beside it, there was a Dalloyau counter. Dalloyau is a luxury food brand, they have restaurants, tea rooms and shops. They also cater for receptions and events. They have been creating pastries and dishes since 1682, yes more than 300 years. In Galeries Lafayette they were selling “Cinderella macarons”.

Dalloyau Cinderella macarons
Cute boxes for the macarons

The giant Swarovski Christmas tree pointing to the majestic ceiling was one of the most amazing trees I’ve ever seen (even having seen New York and London at Christmas time).

Impressive Christmas tree

The shop was jammed with tourists from everywhere in the world, even if the shop is huge it was almost difficult to walk around.

We went to the basement to the Pierre Hermé shop but there was a long queue and had no patience to wait, Pierre Hermé shops are all around Paris so I delayed my purchase of the sumptuous macarons till later.

Which one? They all look fantastic!

Christmas gift idea
Colourful display
Then we decided to head to the other iconic Parisian department store: Printemps. It’s located only a few steps away from the Galeries, we passed a gorgeous Ladurée macarons window display on the way and then the magic started.
Ladurée at Printemps

They had a series of Christian Dior luxury fashion brand window displays. They aren’t your usual window displays and were all filled with animated puppets.

The Parisiennes ice-skating

Flying away
Candy floss and lollipops

The puppets were dressed in miniature reproduction of Christian Dior's winter collection. Each display had a different scene: ladies ice-skating, ladies in a hot-air balloon, all moving like they were alive in the rhythm of the music. Kids can climb a mini stage placed close to the window display and the adults stand behind them.

After our walk around the shops we were pretty exhausted and needed a break in our hotel before dinner.

Hotel lobby

We were nicely surprised to find a lovely box of chocolates in our room. They were called “Galets de la Durance” and really looked like the pebbles found in the Durance river. I found their website if you ever want to try them.

Chocolates or pebbles?

Mr. FFID wanted us to go to this little restaurant we love and have visited many, many times while staying in Paris. I wanted to go for something different but it’s true that I’ve been there so many times that it deserves to be mentioned in this blog.

We headed to Montmartre, made famous worldwide after the movie “Amelie”. I  loved Montmatre even before the movie. It’s touristy but also very Parisian. On our way we passed “Café des deux moulins” where Amelie works as a waitress in the movie. I’ve been a few times to this café and once while I was having a drink with a friend at their terrace late at night, the waiter gave us free apple pies, baguettes and croissants to bring with us.

So we arrived at our favourite little restaurant “Jardin d’en face” located on rue des Trois Freres. It’s tiny and of course on a Friday night without a reservation we couldn’t get a table.

Luckily, they have a sister restaurant just across the road called “Le Potager ” with the exact same menu. It was the first time we went there.

The place is also very small with just 20 or so seats, all very close to each other. You have to pull the table into the aisle to get to your seat.

It isn’t high gastronomy, more rustic French dishes. It’s inexpensive, warm and cosy. The place was filled with Parisians so not too touristy for the location, you sit very close to each other and it's quite dark. They have a menu of 7 starters, a few mains, tartines (toasted Poilane bread with toppings) and desserts.

I always order the “Oeuf cocotte au foie gras” (€7) which is simple but tasty. It’s some foie gras and crème fraiche with an egg on top, baked in a ramekin for a few minutes. They serve it with strips of toasted Poilane bread that you can dip in. It’s totally addictive and it’s the most ordered starter at this restaurant.

Mr. FFID went for “Cochonailles” (€6) and got brought a huge portion of terrine and a few pieces of different cured sausages. It was too much for one person so I gladly helped, but we still couldn’t finish!

Cochonailles: maybe a bit too much Mr. FFID?
This terrine is part of the Cochonailles: huge starter!

After that, I had the “Tartiflette au magret de canard fumé” (€13), it’s like the recipe I posted here but with “magret de canard fume” (smoked duck breast) and some walnuts on top. It was freezing in Paris that night and it warmed me up straight away.

Tartiflette au magret fumé

Mr FFID had the "magret de canard a la sauce a la figue" (duck breast with fig sauce) and once again, he likes his spuds!

Not a great pic, darkness + Mr. FFID took it ;-)

We were absolutely stuffed, we couldn’t even finish our bottle of St Nicolas de Bourgueuil! It was as good as in our memories of their sister restaurant and we left well contented.

Across from "Le Potager", there is a restaurant that could be great to try for a hen or a stag, I don't know about the quality of the food but diners drink their wine in baby bottles while eating fondue sitting at communal tables. It could be fun and it's called "Le refuge des fondues".

Eating fondues and drinking in baby bottles

Then we wandered in the city of lights by night, thinking about all the magical displays, beautiful shops and delicious food we had. Have a little break yourself, what's coming next will be even more delicious!

Arc de Triomphe by night
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Shop until you drop?
Galeries Lafayette
40 Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

64 Boulevard Haussman
75009 Paris

Buy Cinderella Dalloyau macarons?

Pierre Hermé Macaron lovers?

Do you prefer Ladurée macarons?

Edible pebbles?

Feeling like Amelie Poulain?
Café des 2 Moulins
15 rue Lepic
75018 Paris

Dinner in Montmartre?
Le Jardin d'En face
33 rue des 3 freres
75018 Paris

Le Potager
16 rue des 3 freres
75018 Paris