Renowned french-australian chef Guillaume Brahimi believes the French know how to live life to the full. They call it ‘savoir vivre’, and French food culture is the beating heart of the nation. Here he shares some of the best of Parisian cuisine and lifestyle with Explore France magazine.
The Rue du Nil 2nd arrondissement
It’s a foodies’ paradise filled with wonderful cafes, bars, artisans, providores, and Michelin starred restaurant, Frenchie. Chef Gregory Marchand also runs a fast-food lunch spot with the most succulent pulled pork sandwich! The Rue du Nil is as close as you can get to paddock to plate. If I lived in Paris I’d visit once a week!
Gregory Marchand from Frenchie (photo © Stef Forester)
Berthillon Ice cream 4th arrondissement
In France, Berthillon is synonymous with luxury ice cream. Opened in 1954 on Île Saint-Louis (one of the river islands of the Seine) by Raymond Berthillon multiple generations continue Raymond’s legacy of making all natural ice cream and sorbet. The beautiful tearoom looks like an ice cream cake! My favourites are pistachio, wild strawberry, pear and salted caramel …
Le Train Bleu 12th arrondissement
Paris is probably the only place where you can visit a train station to dine rather than travel. Le Train Bleu is designed to resemble a first-class train carriage. Its painted murals, ornate ceilings and gold chandeliers are an impressive example of Belle Époque era design. Try the roast lamb, which can be served within 20 minutes. Or the Crêpes Suzette, prepared and presented at the table by expert dessert chefs who finish their performance with a flambé of Grand Marnier.
Belle époque design of Le Train Bleu (photo © Stef Forester)
Pâtisserie de saison 13th arrondissement
It’s the largest commercial and cultural centre for the Asian community in Paris and the best place to find Chinese or south-east Asian cuisine. It’s home to fantastic Asian markets and eateries including the delightful Pâtisserie de Saison. The bakery focuses on Asian specialties with French ingredients like bánh mi - the classic Vietnamese sandwich made on a baguette. I’m crazy about ginger and coriander!
Underground urban farm, La Caverne 17th arrondissement
Paris is called the ‘city of light’ due to the bright white limestone of Paris apartments that reflects light. Beneath the city, however, there are mushroom farms! In the 1800s, tunnels left behind after limestone extraction were used to grow mushrooms. The tunnels’ instability saw Paris mushroom farming come to an end. Today, fungi growing in Paris is back! La Caverne has converted disused underground carparks into farms that grow many types of mushrooms, as well as greens, for cafes and restaurants across the city.
La Caverne (photo © Stef Forester)
Paris, the foodies’ paradise (photos © Stef Forester and Aisha Cooper)
For passionate foodies visiting Paris for the first time.
- Staying in an Airbnb? Visit the Local Market and cook.
- Pick a fine dining restaurant. An institution.
- Try two or three bistros. Visit Rue du Nil.
- Stop at a terrace cafe at 5pm, have a glass of wine, and take it all in. Let the flow of the terrace dictate your experience. Order saucisson, radish butter, a baguette and a glass of Chablis. It doesn’t get any better than that a Parisians do this every day.
Guillaume Brahimi prepares a dish with fresh produce (photos © Stef Forester)