Three of my favorite things are Paris, walking in Paris, and food. And so, when Jane of La Cuisine Paris and I started planning my Paris popup tour, I couldn’t wait to hit the ground. And even though it rained on the day of my tour—comme une vache qui pisse (as they say so charmingly)—my stalwart fellow food lovers and I enjoyed a delicious (albeit damp!) afternoon.
I wanted to offer insights into Julia Child’s Paris, and so one of our first stops was her favorite cookware shop, E. Dehillerin. Julia described herself as “a knife freak, frying pan freak, and gadget freak,” and it’s easy to imagine her wandering the narrow aisles, admiring the giant whisks and rolling pins, and asking the seasoned salesmen for advice. Two photos of Madame Child still hang above the register and one of the clerks said he’d met her in 1986. The shop has been open since 1820, and it’s still targeted mainly to professionals, which means its prices are listed before tax—hors taxes—unlike most retail shops in France.
We stopped outside Au Pied de Cochon, which is the only restaurant I know of in France that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The special dispensation for extra hours was granted in 1947, after several lean war years. I like to imagine Julia squeezing into a narrow booth, digging into a gratinéed bowl of soupe à l’oignon after a frosty, wee hour visit to the market at Les Halles (which used to be located just across the street).
We also visited Stohrer, one of Paris’s most venerable addresses, opened in 1730. When Louis XV married Marie Leszczynka of Poland in 1725, her pâtissier accompanied her to France in her retinue. Five years later, he opened this pâtisserie—and allegedly invented baba au rhum in the same spot. More recently, Le Figaroscope named Stohrer’s éclair au chocolat the best in Paris—a pronouncement that I don’t entirely agree with. Nevertheless, we bought a couple just to make sure :)
The rain, by the way, finally stopped somewhere between the charcuterie and the fromagerie, just in time for us to squelch back to La Cuisine Paris for a decadent dégustation. On the menu: andouille de Guéméné, a tripe sausage from Brittany, which—I’m proud to say—was sampled by every single member of the group. We also tucked into rillettes of goose and of pork, rabbit pâté, foie gras, several types of cheese, and more, accompanied by a spritely white wine.
The afternoon ended with a book signing (every author’s favorite activity :) and then I was sad to say au revoir. I enjoyed meeting such a curious, enthusiastic group and loved introducing them to tripe sausage (among other things). My thanks to La Cuisine Paris for a lovely afternoon—I hope to do it again soon!
If you’d like to create your own walking tour of Paris:
18-20 rue Coquillière, 1e, Paris
tel: 01 42 36 53 13
Au Pied de Cochon
6 rue Coquillière, 1e, Paris
tel: 01 40 13 77 00
51 rue Montorgueil, 1e, Paris
tel: 01 42 33 38 20
Or visit La Cuisine Paris for one of their wonderful walking tours, excursions, market tours and/or cooking classes.
(Photos that include moi thanks to Jane at La Cuisine Paris.)