Layovers are basically travel purgatory — you’re stuck in this state where you’re not yet there but you’re not yet home. Generally, I detest layovers but last week a layover landed me in Paris for 24 hours and I only wish it could have been longer.
But then 24 hours in Paris is still 24 hours in Paris and it was enough time for the city to infect me, in the best possible way. In that time, we stumbled upon an amazing brunch, we strolled through gardens to watch kids race boats and old men play chess, and lazily spent the afternoon letting the art at the Pompidou wash over us. Those 24 hours gave me time to visit my favorite shops, check a few new ones, have a café noisette to start the day, a glass of wine to end it, and time to catch up with friends.
Part of me wishes I stayed in Paris after culinary school — by now I’d probably speak fluent French and would hopefully finally have a green card. But then part of loves that I don’t live there so that I can miss it. Because by missing it, I always see the city through rose-colored glasses. Here’s what I loved on this latest layover:
Colorova Patisserie – We stumbled upon this gem of a patisserie as soon as we landed in Paris and based on the decor alone decided to stop in for brunch. The prix fixe menu was both sweet and savory including brioche french toast, fabulous house made compotes, and desserts that were as gorgeous as they were delicious.
La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marché – I know, it seems weird that I’m writing about a department store but Le Bon Marché is not just any department store. When I lived in Paris, I’d regularly stroll through the bottom floor — La Grande Epicerie — just to peruse all the food porn it housed. From the meat counter with butchers breaking down sides of beef before your eyes to shelves of color coordinated artisanal products and more bottled water than you probably thought existed, I always stop in to snag a few food souvenirs when I’m in town.
Terroir Parisien – Chef Yannick Alléno opened this latest restaurant last year and my expat friend suggested we check it out. The interior is super sleek and modern but the restaurant is thoroughly locavore, using as many ingredients from the region as possible. With a big group at dinner, we got a chance to try a lot of the menu with my favorites being the charcuterie plate, the trout, and the classic dessert, the Paris Brest.
Coutume Cafe – After a week of French coffee, my inner coffee snob was in need of a cup of strong black small-batch roasted coffee. My friends recommended Coutume Cafe since they roast their own beans on premises and serve everything from the classic French, flat white to a v60 pour over.