*What has happened to the Parisians? It’s as if someone has put something in the collective water system, to render them all (well mostly) cordial. Of course there are still exceptions the man who couldn’t get past my bag at La Grande Epicerie who muttered very audibly “Excuse moi madame, mais il y a pas que vous dans le monde!” (Excuse me madame, but you are the only person in the world).
Similarly, shops are opened later and some even on Sundays on the Champs Élysées, in the Carrousel du Louvre and they have these beautiful mini-supermarket concepts like Tesco Express which tide over the inhabitants of the cartier.You hear that Berlin? I think it’s time to reconsider your strict “no shopping on Sunday policy” and yes I know you can go to the train stations if it’s really urgent but I just say Phooey to that!
My husband had a few hours to spend with me before he flew off to Berlin so we had a light lunch at the Mariages Freres in the Louvre before going to see Ralph Lauren’s famed car collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.He left the hotel and 15 minutes later, my girlfriend Beata knocked on the door, having come down from London to meet me.
For once, I decided it would be better to just spend time together organically instead of dragging her along to various scheduled food shop visits. I did, however, take her to the Grand Epicerie. The French are a nation of gourmands, no matter what their social or financial standing, they will hold out for a good thing. You only have to visit their supermarkets and look at how many varieties of butter are on sale. At a small Monoprix I counted over 40.Imagine then, what is on sale at the Grand Epicerie? The best of everything.
And I mean, everything. There was a shelf dedicated to molecular gastronomy with a starter box for €49. I came very very close to buying it and a kilo of cherries for €15 before Beata came and gently removed them from my hands, with a look of “Now you are going too far.” But I did buy agar agar because I am sure there was a recipe I wanted to make that called for it and in Berlin, I had only spotted a large tub of it at Frische Paradies for €50.Because we spent the entire day walking, I didn’t have the opportunity to find somewhere new and notable for dinner. I decided to go to Jipangue, a little Japanese / Korean BBQ place off the Champs Élysées. My discerning Japanese friend, Koko, had shown me the place when I went to school there in…wait for it…1995! Let me do the math, that was 16 years ago! I wondered if it would still be there, still be good? The answers are yes and yes. Although, it has not been updated in all these years so it looks very worn. The man who had been making Sushi when I was a teenager, was still there; significantly shrunken, bent over and with only a few lone white hairs on his otherwise bare head.
Beata and I ordered a half a bottle of Sancerre, took our time grilling our delicious entrecote and talked and talked. Then we walked back to our hotel and she coloured my hair, it felt great to be so free and girlie again. A great weekend in Paris.
Mariage Freres Tea Shop at the Louvre
Carrousel du Louvre
Place de la Pyramide inversée
99, rue de Rivoli, Paris 1er
T. 1 40 20 18 54
La Grande Epicerie De Paris au Bon Marche
38 Rue de Sèvres
75007 Paris, France
T. 01 44 39 81 00
96 Rue la Boétie
75008 Paris, France
T. 01 45 63 77 00
* I will be writing from various cities in Europe for the month of June and will be back to Berlin and Berlin based posts from July. In the meantime check out “Places I’ve Eaten in ” for more reviews on restaurants in Berlin and “Berlin Favourites” for the places I recommend. And of course, I always love your comments and your emails so write!