France to me, can be defined by a few things:

  1. Long days. Similar to the rest of Europe, Spring and Summer means that shops operate until late and it is generally still bright and warm at 9pm!
  2. People watching. I love that cafes arrange their tables and chairs like a cinema.
  3. Baguettes. Fresh, fluffy and crisp… baguettes make awesome sandwiches.
  4. Coffee. I am addicted to the French cafe noisette! Three a day, please. Cafe noisette are espressos with a dash of frothy milk/cream. This has been commonly served with a tiny block of 70% dark chocolate or chocolate coated coffee bean. The aroma… yum!
  5. Patisseries are everywhere -yippee, but the good ones seem to be on opposite ends of the city. So I quickly familiarised myself with the metro system and went hunting.
  6. Bins. Picture a plastic tube-like bag hung onto poles like a basketball net. You might be able to see goo et al in the bins, but hey, at least there are bins at train stations! Take the hint Cityrail.

Day One in Paris saw us lining up in the cold, outside Rose Bakery for about 40 minutes. Let me tell you, it was totally worth it. Brunch was soupe haricot verts and tomatoes (soup of French green beans and tomatoes) , scones au toast, confiture et beurre (scones with jam and butter) and pancakes et syrupe d’erable (pancakes with maple syrup). It was a small reminder of Britain and a warm welcome to France.

Bench with cakes, fruits and scones at Rose Bakery, Paris
Bench with cakes, fruits and scones at Rose Bakery, Paris

Vegetable soup at Rose Bakery, Paris
Vegetable soup at Rose Bakery, Paris

Day Two, I had a long awaited reservation at Le Cinq -73rd (formerly 24th) on the World’s Best 100 Restaurants list. 8 courses for 230€ ! I hadn’t done detailed research into cost, assuming it would at maximum cost slightly more than Tetsuya’s $180 (AUD) but soon enough, we realise that at that cost, we would only be able to afford a starter! So we took the plunge, just so there would never be a "what if", and ordered the tasting menu. To be continued… (blog post to come shortly; the tasting menu is below for those imaginative ones)

Red tuna belly in a tartar with green apple and wasabi jelly

Green asparagas from the Luberon region, blanched with poultry jus and served with lemon flavoured gnocchi and Jabugo ham

Abalone from the Brittany Sea with seaweed butter, fondant watercress, hen broth flavoured with lemongrass

Net-fished blue lobster cooked on aromatic salt, lobster jus claws in vegetable fritters with pink radish

Saddle of lamb from the Aveyron region served with smoked red pepper, fried lamb sweetbreads with small borad beans and bayaldi of vegetables (I swapped mine for the Guinea Fowl from the Dombes region, breast fillet browned with chateau Chalon wine, watercress macaroni, "gras de cuisse" and mousseron mushrooms with cream).

Selection of cheeses (I absolutely adored a hard cheese from Franche-Comté).

Red fruit vacherin with tangy lemon meringue

Madagascar chocolate soufflee pie with semi-candied raspberries

Tasting menu at Le Cinq, Paris
Tasting menu at Le Cinq, Paris

Having a picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower and wandering around the Louvre Museum were some of the things I had daydreamed about. Why wait five years to fulfil your goal when you can do it now?

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower by night, Paris, France

Below is me, during my hunt for the best pastries.

Jennifer Lam eating a croissant on the streets of Paris
Me eating a croissant from La Flute Gana on the streets of Paris

La Tartelette feuilletee aux pommes
La Tartelette feuilletee aux pommes from La Flute Gana

palmier from Regis Colin
Palmier from Regis Colin

Mille-feuille from Regis Colin
Mille-feuille from Regis Colin

Pierre Herme's macaron display
Pierre Herme’s macaron display

Meals I have had include some tasty terrines and tartares but I mainly filled up with late brunches and sweets… hehe :)

Terrine de betterave au chevre
Terrine de betterave au chevre from Le Trumilou

Jennifer Lam sipping on a cafe noisette while people watching
Me sipping on a cafe noisette while people watching

Fresh baguette in Paris
Fresh baguette in Paris

And in the South of France, I felt like we were on the start of a second holiday. Each day was filled with a heavenly combination of sun and seafood. Private beaches were luxurious with carpet (to protect your feet from the hot stones), shade, lounges and drink / food service. We ate plentiful seafood platters and bouillabaisse (fish stew).

Fresh seafood platter in Cannes
Seafood platter from Restaurant Astoux & Brun

bouillabaisse
Bouillabaisse with rouille and crusty baguette slices from Restaurant Astoux

Roaming the small streets of Vieux Nice (old town), we stumbled across some lovely family-run restaurants. Of course a visit to Nice wouldn’t be complete without a casual lunch of socca (chickpea crepe), beignets d’aubergines (eggplant fritters) and the renouned Nicoise salad.

Restaurants in Vieux Nice (old town)

Street food in Nice -socca, nicois salad, aubergine fritters
Street food in Nice -socca, nicois salad, aubergine fritters

A private beach in Nice
A private beach in Nice

So, this week I’m in Italy – Bologne, Venice and Rome, then off to Santorini and Dubai and back home!

Le Petit Puchet
Place de Clichy
Paris 18eme
Phone: 01 45 22 36 76

Regis Colin
53, rue Montmartre
Paris 2eme
Phone: 01 42 36 02 80

Rose Bakery
46, rue des Martyrs
Paris 9eme

La Flute Gana
226, rue des Pyrenees
Paris 20eme

Pierre Herme
185, rue de Vanigirard
Paris
Web: http://www.pierreherme.com

Le Cinq
Four Seasons Hotel
31, avenue George V
Paris
Web: http://www.fourseasons.com/paris/dining/le_cinq.html

Le Trumilou
84, Quaide
L’Hotel de Ville, Paris

Lou Pilha Leva
10 rue du Collet (Corner of Place Centrale)
Vieux Nice

Restaurant Astoux & Brun
27 avenue Felix Faure
Cannes

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.
16 comments
Gary
Gary

the seafood platter looks amazing. great blog

Jodz
Jodz

i love your pics Jen!!! Awesome! And the food looks amazing... :) Welcome Back btw. PS. Hooray for the EOS 50D heheheh

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

Great pic of the Eiffel Tower. Looks like you definitely made the most of the amazing food on offer in Paris!

Maria T
Maria T

I have died and gone to heaven reading about your European adventure! I will be in London in Sept and hopefully will squeeze a visit in to the south of france. Thanks for sharing!

billy@ATFT
billy@ATFT

Welcome back and well done to cover so much food! Cant wait for ur post of the Le Cinq. And I am surprise there is no Escargots involved in your gastronomical journey in Paris. :)

Jen (jenius.com.au)
Jen (jenius.com.au)

i was using the Ixus 500 until not too long ago so mine is slightly more ancient! I use manual functions, mainly flash off and macro on. a steady hand and natural lighting also help :)

Catherine
Catherine

Do you use manual settings or just use the auto function? I currently have an ancient Ixus 60 & use manual functions. Thanks ^_^

Jen
Jen

lili - pikeletandpie, a pleasure to share with you ;) Debzillah, yup, thanks for that! i wish i was in Paris for longer, there was only so much sugar i could take in each day, but such a bliss Tina, it was around midnight!! i went the following day as well, for morning pics, LOL FFichiban, thank you! Linda, i didn't end up spending as much time in Italy as I would have liked, but the next post on Italy is in the works ;) Forager, i'm sure the recent weather in Sydney will just remind us of London! Catherine, it's a combination of both depending on my enthusiasm as carrying a DSLR around can be quite a pain. The photo with fruits in the background was taken with the Canon IXUS 110IS (as you can see the tip of the DSLR hanging off my neck). I would absolutely recommend it if you're after a compact camera, it has some uber cool specs.

Catherine
Catherine

Do you mostly use the digicam or the SLR for the food shots? I especially like the photo with the fruits in the background, the colours were quite vibrant. I'm after a new camera so I wanted to know whether the Canon Ixus 110 IS takes good shots. Cheers

Forager
Forager

Oh my.. Cannot describe how much I want to be in Europe right now. The meal at Le Cinq looks amazing! And looking out my office window at the dreary Sydney weather makes the beach at Nice so much more inviting right now

Linda
Linda

OMG I am soo jealous of all the food that you're having. With it being soo cold here in Sydney, I wish I was in Europe just sight seeing and eating. Looking forward to your accounts of Italy.

FFichiban
FFichiban

Looks like you are having the time of your life ^^! How funnnn! and yummm at all the food :) Brilliant shot of the Eiffel Tower btw ^^!

Tina
Tina

la tour eiffel - what time were you there? When I went, I was there at 9pm and there was still daylight... so no pretty night pics for me :(

Debzillah
Debzillah

Did you get to the gelaterie I mentioned in Nice?? I certainly hope you spent time wandering rue montergueil and rue montmatre in paris - le cartier pietons (pedestrian area) and got to sample the AMAZING chocolates located in the little boutiques therein!

lili - pikeletandpie
lili - pikeletandpie

Looks divine, and makes me wish that I was on a lovely French holiday too. Thanks for the dreams :)