Eating Experience

Breakfast anyone ?

I’m not sure if this is a kind thing to do or not. As my bakery is classed as an Essential Service (of course!) and therefore open from 8am until 4pm every day during lockdown, I thought we could reminisce about the bakery breads and pastries you had, or will have, during your Parisian breakfast.

Normally your Day 1 Parisian breakfast order is all my favourites from the Maison Landemaine bakery. One must try baguette so my first day choice is always baguette aux céreales (multigrain baguette). I buy a croissant au beurre for each guest but not one for me. I’ve come to love the Viennoise aux noix (walnut bread). I love walnut whips and even then I don’t eat the walnuts but this bread is so moist because of the oil from the walnuts, and sweet – I hadn’t realised how sweet they were! The pièce de résistance is the Chausson aux pommes (Apple turnover) literally apple slipper in French which is pureed fresh, eating apples in pastry so light and with so little sugar that I call it ‘practically diet food’ and everyone agrees.

baguette croissants nut bread and chausson
Day 1 Parisian breakfast 🙂

What happens on Day 2? Well that depends on how picky, complicated, hungry … you were on Day 1. There are always 5 delights in Grandma’s silver tureen but almost never the same, except perhaps for croissants.

Did you eat both croissants? If not we might reduce to just one or, if you shared one yesterday and we’re in luck, there may be 2 mini croissants in the big basket of ‘mini-everythings’. They’re crispier than a normal croissant but as rare as gold dust.

Brioche aux pepites

You may be wolfing down an Almond croissant from our ‘Monday bakery’ otherwise on the occasions the Landemaine bakery makes them I’ll always take one, they’re so delicious.

Making almond croissants used to be the method for using up left-over day-old croissants by slitting them and adding almond paste, sprinkling almonds on the top and re-baking, but how often does our bakery not sell out?

We will journey through the different baguettes; Traditional baguette or Country baguette but not Baguette Blanche because you get enough opportunity to eat that everywhere else in Paris.

Instead of the walnut bread we can swap to Pain Sportif (Sporty bread), full of fruits and pistachios or we can skip through the brioches; the plain Brioche à tête, chocolate and praline but never the sugar one.

My favourite is the chocolate brioche which is unusual because I’m not a great chocolate fan and I get tense when it’s dropped into the paper bag with the rest of your goodies because sometimes it’s so warm the chocolate melts and sticks to the bag 🙁

Squishy Kouglof

I think up shapes for the brioche à tête, often chickens, UFOs and snowmen but always yummy eaten unadulterated as they’re yellow for a reason! I’ve probably encouraged you to take a brioche loaf home, I get about 10 slices from it as it’s so fluffy so ask the bakery to send it through the slicing machine (if it’s not too fresh and warm) then you will be eating ‘cloud’ for days!

Apple chausson becomes a squiggly, moist but flaky Pain aux Raisins, the Kouglof is a scientific experiment in how much liquid butter and sugar can be retained in the sponge solution or a multi-layered pain au chocolat on steroids, the famous Drops that I have to cut into 4 to stem arguments.

Whole fig and hazlenut bread

I have 2 totally favourite breads I always try to showcase if we’ve enough days to try everything, they’re the Pain Forestier (whole fig and hazlenut bread) and the gluten-free chestnut flour bread with, if we’re lucky, whole chestnuts inside. I can get a chuck of the fig bread to slice but I have to buy the whole chestnut loaf so you need to warn me if you want to try it.

It’s 70 paces to the door of Maison Landemaine from our now, sadly, grey and not red door and, despite the best planning in the World, I can be faced with this – gaps! So luck also plays its part 🙂

Bakery goods from Landemaine bakery

That’s why I try and make sure I set off 15 minutes before breakfast if you’ve chosen to eat before 8.30am, leaving as much time as possible for things being ready (if the local hotels haven’t swooped in like vultures and whisked them away at opening time). Otherwise it’s 8.30 latest, the cut-off time to avoid the massive queue out the door for the rest of the day!

Did you pop your shoes on and make this trip with me any or each morning? Will you make a date to walk with me or are you happy enough to have a surprise Parisian breakfast each morning?

Here are a couple of options to ponder :

Croissants, pain sportif, drops and multigrain baguette
Country-style baguette, pain aux raisins, apple chausson and an almond croissant

In the meantime, tell me which were your favourites or if there are any you would love to test taste as soon as possible!

See you on the balcony soon!

See you on the balcony soon!
Eating Experience Great Touristy Things to do Helpful Information Holidays

Best local restaurants in Paris and lots more information

Even in Paris, a capital city famed for its gastronomy, it takes a little planning in order to have the most amazing culinary experiences. Here are some hints on how to avoid the tourist traps, navigate the ‘dining rules’,  and eat like a local in some of my favourite and best local restaurants in Paris.

Eating Experience Great Touristy Things to do Helpful Information Trips and Tours

The best boat trip on the Seine

I am always being asked about the plethora of different boat cruises on the Seine, starting with “Is a boat trip on the Seine a good thing to do if we only have a couple of days in Paris”?  “Are they a tourist trap”?  “Should we spend the money on dining or just take a guided tour”?

My reflex answer is “yes, definitely, no matter how short your trip, make space for a boat trip”.  You have a completely different perspective of Paris from the river;  the buildings are stunning and even more beautiful when lit in the evenings. The round trip can be relatively quick and you get to rest your, often very, weary, feet.

So many of the most important buildings were either built on the river or have unhindered views from it ; the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and everything on the 2 islands – Notre Dame, the Conciergerie and Saint Chapelle, never mind that every single other building seems to have its own individual style and story to tell so that you could travel the Seine for months and still see something else you hadn’t seen before.

Yes, it is also a tourist trap but that doesn’t mean to say you are ripped off – there is enough competition to keep prices down and service efficient. In fact, if you can, take the trip twice, once during the day in the sunshine and again in the evening at dusk.

As there are so many different types of boat trip here are my thoughts :

For starters, there is the BatoBus, the watery equivalent of the Hop-on Hop-off bus.  Batobus_ParisThere are 1 or 2 day tickets for these boats that come every 20 minutes to any of the 9 stops. This is a great option if you think you are going to sightsee along the river and want to take in as much as possible.  It’s also quite a great option for children who may get tired easily because there is so much to distract them. However factor in it’s not a way to ‘see’ all of Paris, the metro is a lot quicker.

Then there are the cruises :

Vedettes du Pont Neuf offer a basic cruise all afternoon / evening from the Pont Neuf with commentary in French and English from a real guide.  Bring a picnic!

Vedettes de Paris has a one way ticket and roundabout tickets from 10am – 6pm with audioguides or guides and the starting point is right in front of the Eiffel Tower.

The famous Bateaux Mouches and Bateaux Parisiens are much larger cruise boats so cheaper for their guided (taped) tours. However you could opt for food with the lunch, brunch or dinner menus.  Bateaux Parisien boats are smaller and the Bateaux Mouches have a dress code for dinner. Dinner is prepared fresh that day and you are accompanied by a small band on both so you can dance between the tables if you like.

I have not taken the lunch or brunch trips but have only heard good reviews from guests. I have taken the dinner trips on several occasions and the food is very good however with pricing for dinner starting at €90 per person, sharing with a couple of hundred other people, you can also ask me to give you a couple of dinner options before taking a night cruise.

However, my total favourite is Le Calife, a wooden converted barge.  Calife barge restaurant

You have to be careful not to miss the view when chatting or eating the delicious food at lunch or dinner time (in fact le Calife is listed in the Top 20 restaurants in Paris on TripAdvisor). There is no guided commentary and no live music, it’s just an excellent meal eaten whilst floating by a gorgeous view at 3 price points depending on which of the 3 levels of the boat you choose (Terrace, Veranda or the Salon lounge) are all excellent just don’t want to book the ‘music lounge’ which is below deck.

Do tell me which one you preferred.

Please find more recommendations by reading my suggestions of the best restaurants minutes from 52 Clichy or dive in with my in-depth Guide to Living Like a Local. I am sure they will make your trip to Paris very special.

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If you haven’t already considered visiting Paris and staying at 52 Clichy, take a look at my website or read some of my 150+ 5 star reviews for the B&B or the +120 5* reviews for the Apartment.

Eating Experience Helpful Information Holidays

How to choose the perfect teapot

The perfect teapot – Grosche Budapest

If you stay with me at 52 Clichy almost everyone gets to see my ‘perfect teapot’, the Grosche ‘Budapest’.

Put the tea in the centre chamber, lower it into the water and wiggle it about a bit if you want to speed up the brewing process.

The real perfection for someone like me who doesn’t like strong tea is that when the water gets to the right colour you just lift the lever which raises the tea above water level so the tea stays your perfect strength and doesn’t stew.

On first introductions, practically every guest wants one or knows someone for whom this teapot would be perfect and for a while I had supplies I could sell to guests who had enough room in their suitcase on the return journey but, oh horror, the shop closed.

To the rescue came delightful guests from Australia who found a near-perfect solution but, drumroll, gorgeous English guests found the real thing!

Grosche Barcelona

So now, never fear, you too can have the perfect teapot, my ‘Budapest’ or, am I being disloyal here, maybe one that has a sleeker design, the Grosche ‘Barcelona’. In this design the glass doesn’t touch the table surface.  At $35 each, and cheaper on other sites, I might allow myself both!  If you can’t get hold of Grosche, alternatives there are a-many.

Oggi teapot

What about this one?  Does it resemble anything? At around $20 who wouldn’t plump for the  Oggi 6577 teapot  I’m not sure it isn’t a Grosche in sheep’s clothing? Or how about the €20 Rosenstein & Söhne branded version that is available is Europe.

There’s also a Scandanavian teapot design by Norm Architects and this one from the HappyLuckys website looks fun too.

My lime green teapot in my 52 Clichy Paris apartment

There are choices out there! But for the moment if you stay in the apartment you have to put up with my adorable green teapot (I love lime green). Do tell me which you prefer or what you use.

Maybe I don’t have the perfect teapot – although I think I do! In any case, come and stay at 52 Clichy and test mine out by clicking on the link and checking out my Availability.

If you haven’t already considered visiting Paris and staying with me, take a look at my website or read some of my zillion 5* reviews of the B&B or the Apartment from TripAdvisor and elsewhere.

Also do take a look at my suggestions of the best restaurants minutes from 52 Clichy or find out lots more information about French food and where and how to eat it in my blog page on  where and how to eat well in Paris.

If you’re getting ready to visit Paris you might also want to dive in with my in-depth Guide to Living Like a Local.

Hope you found this informative and I look forward to your comments.

A très bientôt,

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2016 Eating Experience Great Exhibitions Great Touristy Things to do

Carambolages : take the kids

Check out tickets for Carambolages at the Grand Palais until July 4th 2016.  Just the kind of museum exhibition the children will enjoy too.

Carambolages – I had to look it up – means a pile-up in the sense of a train crash or someone playing billiards and ‘cannoning’ one ball into another.

In this exhibition there are 185 pieces, all mixed up, the only thread  is that each piece is connected to the next by an association of ideas or forms but at no time does the museum tell you how!   It is not structured by artist, country, date or medium, nor are there any explanations typed by each piece giving you any clues.

There is a line of paintings, sculptures and videos and it is left to the viewer to figure out what the connections are and as there are no answers provided, everybody is right!   If you need a hand take a look at the video screens in each room which give you the name of each work which may help a little.   Some well-known artists are on show; Rembrandt, Man Ray, Giacometti interspersed with anonymous ones.

I don’t know any young children who could go but if you do please leave a comment on whether you or they found the connections easier.   The exhibition also has a workbook for children and a downloadable app (not sure if it is in English).

Open from 10.00 am to 8.00pm on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays et Sundays and late nights on Wednesdays from 10.00 am to 10:00 pm.  Closed on Tuesdays.

Pricing : Full : 13€   OR    Tarif ‘tribu’ (4 people incl.  2 between 16 et 25 years old) : 35 € (When did they start this !!)

For more information in English : click here


The perfect eaterie in walking distance is the Brasserie le Grand Palais, just hang a left past the Palais de la Découverte, also a good choice of Museum for children, and it is across the road opposite the Aston Martin showroom. There is a smart part with sunny terrace and a large café part with wicker chairs. There are at least 2 menus and the lunch food is very reasonable: bagels, sandwiches and gi-normous hotdogs in half a baguette, cheaper in most cases than drinking there!

Hope you enjoy it.


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