I’m a little late with my little update this week, because I took a little jaunt to Paris this weekend and got back late last night. On Friday, I hopped aboard a train with my friends and woke up two hours later just outside of Paris.
After settling in, we began our walk across the city. From the Marai district, we embarked on a casual exploration, following the Seine to La Tour Eiffel. Starving, we stopped for a bite at one of the many cafés across from the Musée d’Orsay on Rue de Lille. Tabac d’Orsay served as the first dining destination of the weekend.
This moment commenced a non-stop consumption of French food, where I was met by a great internal struggle between attempting to nourish my body with healthy, nutritious food, and wanting to sample all of the hallmark foods the city of Paris conjures in my imagination – crêpes, macarons, beignets, brie – exasperated by the buttery aroma of croissants and baguettes each morning on every street corner.
What I discovered in Paris was that it is possible to get a satisfying, vegetarian salad at every restaurant. A hard-boiled egg, or slices of avocado came with every salad I consumed. In addition to the protein, haricots-verts (green beans), peppers, tomatoes, corn, potato, and hearts of palm were just some of the ingredients included in the typical “Salade Végétarienne.”
When I dined at La Terrasse Sainte Catherine, all of the salads came with meat, but they generously produced a delicious vegetarian option for me upon request. And the croutons were to die for.
I can’t recommend just one place to sum up my entire weekend in this beautiful city. L’Esméralda Brasserie, where I ate my last French meal before returning to London, had a wonderful vegetarian salad, and an impressive array of vegetarian omelettes and sandwiches. And of course, there’s no better place to stop on the street for a breakfast crépe on a whim than on your way to marvel at the Musée du Louvre. So here are my tips, for enjoying everything France has to offer, without doing damage to your body. While an indulgent weekend is good for everyone, too much sugar, too many carbohydrates, and too little by way of protein can put a serious drag in your sightseeing plans.
Recommended Dishes: Don’t be afraid to eat like a true Parisian and start your day off with a delicious croissant, or demi baguette. But try stopping at any streetside vendor to grab a fresh banana or apple to pair it with. This will help fill you up, without needing a second pain au chocolat. A fresh omelette is a great day to get your protein right from the start, but a hardy salad at lunch will help you get through the second half of a day, while you give your feet a much appreciated break.
The Not-So-Good: Paris is one giant temptation. Let’s be honest. Boulangeries and Chocolateries on every corner make it hard to walk two feet without stopping for a sweet, or another carb. It will happen. Sharing with friends, however, is a great way to try a little bit of everything, without going overboard, or breaking the bank. I split an order of sugared beignets with friends, and shared a sweet apple and cinnamon crêpe one evening.
The Good Bite: Like London, Paris has many outdoor markets and vendors. On Saturday, my friend and I visited the Rue Mouffetard, where we grabbed a bag of fresh cherries and strolled along. No matter what you decide to eat, if you grab it from a market such as this one, or the Sunday morning farmer’s market outside Maison Blanche, you can be sure you’re getting the freshest ingredients.
The Best Bite: With so many amazing places to eat, and so many wonderful foods to try, my number one best bite in Paris came down to location. I spent the weekend in Paris staying with my friend Laura, who currently has an apartment off of Maison Blanche. She suggested we head to the local store, and stock up for a little picnic on the Seine. A fresh baguette from the bakery, a wedge of brie, a macaron, a crudité platter, and a bottle of rosé made for the most wonderful French feast. With our feet dangling over the water, we indulged in Paris’s finest cuisine – a fiscal feast, and an unforgettable sunset with loads of other diners – tourists and locals alike – enjoying the temperate summer evening.
To see all of the sights, and truly sample all of the unique, delicious, and unforgettable bites that Paris has to offer, a weekend is hardly enough. My little bite of the city has left me craving so much more.