Paris Resources & Recommendations
- Accommodations– Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile (where I stayed) or find the best prices on places to stay in Paris
- Skyscanner– Find the best deals on flights
- Allianz Travel Insurance– Protect yourself and your trip-get a free quote
- Lonely Planet Guidebooks– The best (and my personal favorite) guidebooks out there. Get the Lonely Planet Pocket Paris Travel Guide or the Lonely Planet Best of Paris 2018 Travel Guide!
About Eating Europe
Screenshot courtesy of Eating Europe
Eating Europe was established in 2011 by American Kenny Dunn and currently offers 18 unique food tours. Each of these tours lasts approximately 4 hours in length and includes 6-7 authentic tastings. Their mission is to deliver non-touristy food experiences in undiscovered neighborhoods across Europe.
There’s a reason they have received over 3,000 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor. They deliver on their promise to fulfill their mission. A non-touristy food tour in an unknown (to the tourist) neighborhood was exactly what I hoped to receive and did receive. And, I couldn’t have been happier!
First thoughts of food in Paris are usually croissants, chocolate, cheese, and wine. While this does describe a lot of Paris’ food, it isn’t nearly the full gamut. With Eating Europe’s new Paris: Hip Eats & Backstreets tour, you get the expected and the unexpected which is what I like to refer to as the best of both worlds.
Paris: Hip Eats
Definition of “Hip”: (adj) following the latest fashion, up-to-the-minute, all the latest rage.
Because this word was in the title of the tour, I expected food beyond the classics. My expectations were correct! Now, keep in mind I said “beyond” the classics and not “instead of” the classics. For those who are wanting those classic French foods, don’t worry, they are included on this tour. In addition, you also get to experience Paris through its trendy food too, just as a Parisian would!
Definition of “Backstreets”: (noun) a minor street remote from a main road.
When I read this word in the title, I figured I would be touring streets I hadn’t yet seen before in Paris and that wouldn’t be full of tourists. This assumption was also correct and you know what? It was refreshing!
If you like to eat like a local when visiting destinations, this is the tour for you!
Paris: The Hip Eats on the Backstreets
Our tour consisted of 6 stops in the 10th arrondissement (borough or district) of Paris. Known as an up-and-coming area of Paris, the 10th arr. is full of chic, trendy cafes, charming parks and the Canal Saint-Martin.
Hip Eats 1: Croques-Monsieurs at Fric Frac
Our first stop was right here on the Canal Saint-Martin to try two different kinds of croques-monsieurs from Fric Frac. A croque-monsieur is a fried or grilled ham and cheese sandwich that originated in French cafes as a snack. However, they are a bit different from what we think of with the American grilled ham and cheese.
We first tried a traditional croque-monsieur. I was pretty excited about this because I personally love croques-monsieurs and I came with a completely empty stomach! 😉
The flavor was amazing. There’s nothing better than warm ham and cheese on slightly toasted bread melting in your mouth!
Next, we tasted the nontraditional croque-monsieur and tried to guess what all was in it. I could come up with two of the ingredients: avocado and basil. It also had peas, pesto, tomatoes, and mint. Interesting combo, right?
Verdict: While both were good, my favorite by a long shot was the traditional croque-monsieur for two reasons. One, I’m just a huge fan of hot ham and cheese and two, I’m not a huge fan of avocado. But I did like the mint twist!
Interesting Fact: The Canal Saint-Martin is 10 meters (33 feet) deep and is cleaned every 20 years. It was last cleaned in 2016 and they found everything from guns to bikes and even bras when they cleaned it!
Location: Fric Frac is located at 79 Quai de Valmy, Canal Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris, France
Hip Eats 2: Charcuterie & Wine at TSF Epicure
Our second stop was at TSF Epicure for charcuterie and wine. If you aren’t familiar with this term, charcuterie refers to the way meats such as salami, ham, bacon, sausage, pâté, and confits are preserved and are typically smoked or dry-cured.
This culinary skill was especially popular before the days of refrigeration and has made a comeback especially in farm-to-table concept restaurants.
Our charcuterie tray consisted of an array of different meats and was paired with
bread, butter and a Pinot Noir from the valley. I enjoyed the different dry-cured meats as well as the pâté. I actually eat dry-cured meats at home quite often!
Interesting Fact: The most traditional charcuterie is a pork with salt from the mountains. Also, charcuterie (especially the pink ham used in croques-monsieurs) is used as a measure of the economy. If less is being sold, prices go down and if prices go up, there’s usually an inflation in the economy.
Location: TSF Epicure is located at 9 Rue Alibert, 75010 Paris, France
Hip Eats 3: Couscous at L’amalgame
Our third stop was at the Moroccan restaurant L’amalgame. I had literally just flown into Paris from spending two weeks in Morocco. I enjoyed seeing the French influence in Morocco and so it was interesting to now have Moroccan food in France!
We sampled the couscous with chickpeas and golden raisins and we topped it with a broth that contained carrots and zucchini. Served alongside the couscous was a spicy sausage called merghez. Thankfully (since I don’t like spicy food), the merghez wasn’t very spicy and I enjoyed it!
I can not leave out the Moroccan staple of mint tea. We washed our couscous and merghez down with a fabulous mint tea. I will say right then (and all throughout my time in Morocco) because of the heat, I wanted to put ice in that yummy, sweet mint tea and cool it down!
I guess you can take the girl out of the South but can’t take the South out of the girl. We love sweet, iced tea here in the Southern United States!
Location: L’amalgame is located at 12 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris, France
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Hip Eats 4: Cheese at Paroles de Fromagers
How pretty is this set up?
Perhaps the coolest of restaurant interiors we visited was downstairs at the Paroles de Fromagers where we got to taste several types of cheese! After all, it isn’t a true French experience without cheese, right? 😜
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see all the different regions in France the different kinds of cheese came from.
We tasted a Crottin de chevre (goat cheese), Brillat Savarin (triple cream), Brie de Meaux, a Beaufort (pressed cheese) and a Tomme de Savoie (semi-firm, mild cheese). This tasting was paired with an almost 2-year-old Chardonnay that had an apple flavor.
Verdict: Although I’m not a huge fan of really strong cheese, I typically don’t discriminate against any kind of cheese. If I had to name a favorite, there would be a tie between the goat cheese and the brie. I absolutely LOVE goat cheese and brie!
Location: Paroles de Fromagers is located at 41 Rue Faubourg du Temple, 75010 Paris, France
Hip Eats 5: Pastries at Yann Couvreur
It’s Paris. Chic box containing delectable French pastries. Win!
Yes, I said it. Pastries. Got your attention didn’t I? Just like with cheese, it isn’t an authentic French food experience without pastries! We actually stopped by Pâtisserie Yann Couvreur earlier on the tour, but since they weren’t quite ready for us, Leo (our guide) picked them up while we were eating couscous and we actually ate them in the park.
We tasted two different pastries. The first was the Tarte Framboise Estragon which is French for a raspberry tarragon tart. It was exquisitely pretty and I didn’t want to mess it up.
Not wanting to mess it up lasted all of two seconds. I was ready to taste it and it didn’t disappoint!
The second pastry was the Eclair Caraibe. An eclair in France! I was ecstatic! I could taste the cream and chocolate icing as soon as I laid eyes on this masterpiece.
Verdict: The Eclair Caraibe most definitely. Hands down. I think it was actually my favorite thing we ate on the entire tour!
Location: Pâtisserie Yann Couvreur is located at 137 Avenue Parmentier, 75010 Paris, France
Hip Eats 6: Coffee & Ice Cream at Buly
Photo courtesy of Leo Goldstein with Eating Europe
The final stop was actually the only stop on the tour I missed. Because the tour was (with prior notice) moved back 30 minutes (and I mistakenly thought it was a 3-hour tour vs a 4-hour tour), I had to leave right before arriving at Buly in order to make another previously scheduled event.
But there’s a silver lining here. This means I just get to go back to Paris because I can’t possibly leave any fabulous food uncovered, right???
Location: Buly is located at Rue 45 de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
Are you hungry yet? I am and I will be dreaming about the yummy food I had in Paris with Eating Europe for a long time to come!
Have you taken a tour yet with Eating Europe? What do you think your favorite food would be on this tour?
‘Til next time…