12 Feb Minn’s Munchtime – Paris
Touring is an integral part of freelance musical life, so I thought I’d take Munchtime on the road and share some Parisian treats! I stayed in the 19th arrondissement down the road from the Paris Philharmonie where it takes just over half an hour to get into central Paris on the Metro. If you’ve got time to spare it’s worth taking the trip to explore. On this occasion I had a lazy cosy time in the hotel so didn’t venture further afield. Here are some local shops and eateries I found or which were highly recommended to me. All are within fifteen minutes walk of the Philharmonie, ideal for local lingering.
My hotel room conveniently came furnished with a kitchenette complete with microwave, toasted, dishwasher and two hobs, not forgetting the all important coffee machine and kettle! This was brilliant for me considering my dietary requirements can be a little tricky to manage when touring. Next-door to the hotel was a well-stocked Intermarché (I’ve listed all the prices for my purchases below in the Stats section). Call me sad, but I love a good old browse in foreign supermarkets. In the free-from section there were many types of microwaveable sachets of quinoa, red and white rice, lentils and bulgur wheat. I chose a lentil and carrot pouch to heat up and serve with some salad ingredients (beetroot, salad leaves, cured tuna). This provided me with two meals worth of food and a happy supply of veggies!
In Europe, I always buy a pack of Milka’s round chocolate wafers for my family (particularly good when kept in the fridge). Whilst at the chocolate aisle I spotted some new flavours of Lindt dark chocolate including apricot, sesame and red grapefruit!
Dinner before performances on a weekend in France can be tricky timing-wise as restaurants are often not open until 6.30/7pm at the earliest. We ended up at l’Horloge, a simple bistro and bar on Avenue Jean Jaurès. It’s not the most gourmet experience but is simple and tasty. I opted for salmon with green beans and chips (turned out to be a mountain of chips!). The salmon was perfectly cooked and dressed with fragrant basil oil. My friends opted for beef pavé which also comes with chips and a salad dressed in sesame oil. On previous trips here I’ve had the chicken and chips and have seen the duck leg which looked pretty fantastic. L’Horloge is nice and casual, a family affair, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch sight of the owner’s tiny fluffy dog.
After the concert we went to Biclowne Café, just down the road from l’Horloge. I recognised the waiters from previous trips, who apparently love London for the ‘discotheques’. Don’t we all 😀 There are many bistros/cafés/bars down the Avenue Jean Jaurès so wander in this direction if you’re hungry/thirsty.
The next day was Sunday i.e. late opening hours day. As there were fewer options than normal for the times we had free, I decided to get some sushi takeaway for the evening train home (it didn’t last that long, I ate it a 4. It was a weird day for meal times!). I’d wanted to try Yoshida or Nagaski, both on our favourite Avenue, but they were closed. I ended up in Nina Sushi Marin ordering a salmon don (sashimi salmon on a bed of sushi rice). The salmon was fresh with good texture but sadly had zero flavour. The wasabi wasn’t real wasabi either so I avoided that. Hopefully next time I will be able to try one of the other Japanese restaurants with more success.
A few doors down on the Rue Marin is a gem of a chocolate shop. Damyel has a variety of chocolate pralines, bars, specialities such as florentines or chocolate coated orange peel and eye-widening gift boxes. Alongside these are macarons, sugar coated almonds and other confectionary like nougat, chocolate spreads and candied chestnuts. The chocolate aroma was mouth watering, I wish I could bottle it and keep it for dire circumstances like rush hour on the tube. That would make a more pleasant commute! I bought two 250g boxes of beautifully shaped chocolate pralines and a box of florentines – they looked so pretty studded with hazelnuts, golden sultanas, pistachios and almonds. The packaging was beautiful, perfect for gifts, and the quality is great and at a reasonable price. After checking their website, it turns out that this chocolate is Kosher too!
If you’re searching for savoury treats, try Fromage et ramage. Many suitcases on the return journey had a faint whiff of fromage about them – I suggest taking some large ziplock bags with you for the more pungent varieties! They have a wide selection of cows, sheep and goats cheese for you to drool over. Up the road is Boucherie Perreau David where you can find all kinds of saucisson, paté and other charcuterie. Both have delicacies for immediate consumption or for storing in your hotel fridge until your homeward trip.
Last year I was introduced to the Panama Brewing Company, a pleasant fifteen minute walk away by the canal. This microbrewery backs onto the water and makes the most of the view with covered heated seating outdoors as well as inside the historical Paris General Store building. PBC brew five beers on site as well as seasonal limited ones. In terms of food, they serve burgers, pizzas and other informal sharing plates. I’ve had their charcuterie board before (comes with three cheeses, three types of cured meat, bread and pickles). I remember it being delicious and extremely plentiful for one person! Staff here are cheerful and help make you feel at home. Definitely one to star on your maps!
Other restaurants I’d like to try on future trips include Hôtel Restaurant Au Boeuf Couronné, a fancy steak restaurant that many orchestral members swooped into on Saturday night. It’s worth booking a table in advance here. For something more informal, perhaps Aux Saveurs du Liban would hit the spot with their mezze menu.
I hope this gives you some inspiration if you find yourself in the Paris Philharmonie area. Be sure to check opening hours online, particularly on weekends to avoid disappointment and the wrath of colleagues’ hunger. All the places I’ve mentioned in this post have links to their websites or Googlemap coordinates so click away! They are mostly within 5/10minute walk and often down the same road so even on a time crunch you’ll be able to satisfy your stomach. Please comment and share this post if you enjoyed it! Bon appétit!
lentil/carrot pouch 2.78, cured tuna 3.95, 1x pomegranate 1.49, salad leaves 1.90, pre-cooked beetroot 1.07, dried figs 3.39, Milka choco supreme 3.62, Lindt Excellence Noir Apricot 2.29, Lindt Excellence Noir Sesame 1.96
Mint/green tea 3.8, pavé saumon 16.8
Nina Sushi Marin: salmon don €12
2x 250g praline boxes, 1x florentines