Burning calories in Paris
September 21, 2009 § Leave a comment
During my food-leaning weekend in Paris, I decided that I needed to burn a few calories as well as ingest them. My solution was to take an early morning run from my hotel in the Rue d’Arras on the Left Bank along the Seine then down through the Jardins de Luxembourg and back again through St Germain. This would make a pleasant change from my usual running route back home in Manchester when I swap the Seine for the Bridgewater canal and the Left Bank for Moss Side.
First stop was the Ile de la Cité and majestic Notre Dame thrillingly free of tourists at this early hour:
Just setting up on one of the Seine quais nearby was a Gascon food market filled with enticing looking goose-fat laden produce but sadly not yet open for business.
Crossing back onto the Left Bank I stumbled across the famous Maison Ladurée tearoom and pâtisserie in the Rue Bonaparte and couldn’t resist taking a picture of its over the top window display. Ladurée is quite an institution now, a marketing man’s dream as its website demonstrates http://www.laduree.fr/. I had a bit of a snigger at the whole section of the website devoted to the photos and life history of company President David Holder. That said, he and his father (who interestingly is the brains behind the Boulangerie Paul concept) have clearly built an impressive business on the basis of a single tearoom.
Returning along the Boulevard St Germain, now rather crowded with people looking at the bizarre sight of me, the lone female jogger dodging traffic and pedestrians, I spotted three famous gastronomic establishments. First, Brasserie Lipp, founded in 1880 by Léonard Lipp and now flagship restaurant of the Groupe Bertrand. How times change…
Just across the road are the Cafés Flore and Aux Deux Magots, both haunts of the existentialist and artistic crowd including Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Simone de Beauvoir. Thousands of tourists (self included) throng their now sampling the nostalgia and hoping a little of the stardust will rub off.
Just a little further along the Boulevard St Germain was an enticing collection of neighbourhood food shops: a fantastic looking butcher with ducks on display ready to take flight, a fishmonger with the freshest looking sea urchins for sale and cheese shop with an array of unusual regional cheeses:
How lucky to have such inspiring shopping on your doorstep – it beats the central Manchester offering of Tesco Metro or M&S food hall hands down!
I was on the home straight now as I turned into the Rue Monge but I stopped to photograph one final entrancing shop window, that of Le Bonbon au Palais, the sweetshop of your dreams:
Inside, there were tantalising glimpses of crystallised violets and rose petals and other goodies, all displayed in gorgeous glass jars. Not a branded plastic package in sight. A little bit of internet research reveals, pleasingly, that Le Bonbon au Palais is an independent shop which has delighted bloggers the world over. The website gives you a flavour of what to expect http://www.bonbonsaupalais.fr/.
Run over, it’s time for a well-earned breakfast.