French Bread & Parks

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We can actually find very good bread in Bellingham, thanks to a few artisan bakeries there. But in Paris, there is fabulous bread everywhere. Every neighborhood has a few good Boulangeries with window displays that make you want to stop—even when you’re not the least bit hungry. But being in Paris for such a short time, we had to research the best bakeries. One on the list was Du Pain et des Idées, in the 10th arrondissement. Even though it’s a metro ride from the center of Paris, it’s worth the trip. We tried their popular pain des amis, which had an amazing crust. We also had to try out their mini-pavés for our morning snack. Go there in the late morning when it’s not too busy. You can enjoy the quaint atmosphere of the shop while the friendly staff describe each tasty item (in French or English).
The bread in Paris is one of the few bargains you’ll find. The French love their bread. They often start their day with a croissant and espresso, and when the workday is over, you see them rushing home with a baguette under their arm.
It may seem like we’re spending all of our time eating or admiring food. Well, we are! You can’t help it when there’s an amazing food vendor or specialty shop on almost every block throughout the city. Then there’s an entire section of a neighborhood dedicated to food, like the famous rue Cler or a new one for us, the rue Mouftetard, near the Pantheon. This long street is just past the Place Contrescarpe, which is near the university district, so you can find some better deals. They even have some small boutiques worth checking out.
One of our best resources for visiting Paris, this time is a fun book called Paris Walks, by Duncan & Glass, which provides over a dozen neighborhood walks based on different themes. Today we mixed our own itinerary with a walk and ended up exploring the neighborhoods for over 7 hours. We discovered the city’s botanical gardens—Jardin des Plants, which is over 58 acres of open space near the Left Bank. We also walked part of the 56 acre Luxembourg Gardens, which was full of locals enjoying a sunny afternoon. We were running out of energy by then, so we sat in some comfortable garden chairs and soaked up some sun, too. Yesterday we discovered another large park that’s in construction near the Pompidou. We’re really impressed with the amount of open space the city maintains for its citizens. They have to go somewhere to enjoy all those treats they’re buying.

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About msraaka

I am a writer, ESL teacher and desktop publishing consultant living in the Pacific Northwest. After our first visit to Italy, my husband Bob and I have found ways to spend more and more time there. We love the people, the language, the food, architecture, art and the history of this amazing place.
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One Response to French Bread & Parks

  1. Jeff Lomax says:

    Sounds like you guys are traveling through Europe on your bellies. Instead of a pub crawl, it’s a gustatory gallop. Careful, or you’ll develop the gourmand’s gait. One of life’s greatest mysteries has to be how the French maintain their compact bodies, or, more to the point, how their cardiovascular systems avoid all the tedious pitfalls described by the US medical professionals. I’m hoping it’s the wine. Will you be monitoring your email while in France/ Italy? We have taken Bob’s advice and hired a car to take us from the airport in rome to our hotel, not wanting to have babies thrown at us in the Statione Termini as our first experience in Italy. Jeff & Anne

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