I’m returning to Europe in a few weeks for my first visit to Berlin, Germany and all I can think of is Paris…
My first visit to Paris was in the late 90s, just a few years after graduating from a big-city college. Raised in a family of first- and second-generation immigrants who just wanted to stay put in the good ole’ USA, I hadn’t really traveled anywhere. College life had, however, given me a wonderfully adventurous best friend who to this day still has an odd affection for airplanes. And when she needed to toast to her last single lady days before getting married, I planned our first escape to Paris.
I hadn’t yet found food, like in the way that one finds a purpose in life, so we bopped from one monument to the next, eating whatever was in our path, meaning, we ate a lot of bad food. Our single splurge was a last minute dinner at Jules Verne, which included my first glass of Champagne. Serious and deep with a flavor that many sparkling wines just can’t match, each sip of Dom Perignon popped next to every bite we hoarded from the smelly cheese cart. We giggled and gazed over the city and, promptly, fell in love with Paris.
The entire experience was quite touristic, classic and reminiscent of some kind of silly-girl-finds-herself-in-France novel, but my food life may have just started on that night. And when I finally did get back to Paris 12 years later, I was far more type-A in my preparedness, having amassed very detailed lists on so many food gems. I also brought along a tiny tome called “Markets of Paris” — a guidebook filled with reviews of the best markets for food, antiques, crafts and restaurants. It was a present, one of those presents you’re not really sure you’ll use until you’re smack in the middle of Paris, alone, clueless and desperate for something delicious.
With guidebook in tow, I strolled from one open-air food market to the next, buying fresh seafood, hoarding more smelly cheese and practically inhaling the salty butter shipped in from the coast. I enjoyed a bowl of risotto draped with thinly sliced ham and a glass, or perhaps three, of Champagne at the Marche de Enfants Rouge. The Galleries Lafayette and Bon Marche blew my mind and I’d happily move into either the moment they start renting out rooms, which I’m certain would instantly double their revenue possibilities.
The second edition of “Markets of Paris” has just been released and it’s packed with more photos, more advice and it’s already found a spot in my handbag for very serious reading between meals. With this follow up book in hand, and my best friend’s love of airplanes, there’s no market experience that we can’t conquer. A glass of Champagne wouldn’t hurt either.
The second edition of “Markets of Paris” by Dixon Long and Marjorie R. Williams is available online now. It would be a perfect item to stuff into your carry-on bag before your next trip to Paris, along with our mini-guide to Paris, too, of course.
All photos styled and taken by Michelle Martin and Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order today.