Postcards from Paris; May 2018
July 6, 2018
Rue du Nil.
Gregory Marchand was given the nickname “Frenchie” when he was cooking in the kitchen of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen. It stuck, and in 2009 he opened his first restaurant with the name in Paris. Since then he has opened a wine bar, a wine shop, and Frenchie to Go, all on Rue du Nil, a cobbled street barely 100 yards long.
Frenchie is inspired and influenced by Gregory’s extensive travels, his “only companions his knives”. He is now a weekly commuter to London, to visit his outpost in Covent Garden http://www.frenchiecoventgarden.com/ on Henrietta Street. It was at a panel discussion in London that I was able to ask him for his recommendations for food shops and restaurants in Paris.
Not surprisingly, he directed me to Rue du Nil, where Frenchie’s neighbours include a fishmonger, a butcher, a coffee roaster and a greengrocer.
Restaurant Frenchie, 5-6 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris. +33 (0) 1 40 39 96 19
From Rue du Nil, we walked the length of Rue Montorgueil, a (much longer) street dominated by food, to find E. Dehillerin, another of Gregory’s recommendations.
E. Dehillerin, Matèriel de Cuisine.
This resolutely old fashioned shop is a comprehensive resource for the professional chef and caterer. The unchanging windows are full of all kinds of arcane and desirable copper kitchen utensils….
18-20 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris
G. Detou, rue Tiquetonne
The name of this shop is a play on J’ai de Tout (I have everything). It seems to stock every imaginable ingredient for the cook’s store cupboard, with a special emphasis on baking, and all at very good prices.
Then across the street for a spot of lunch at Lezard Café opposite, to fortify us for the Delacroix exhibition at the Louvre.
Avoid the crowds at the Louvre….
The guidebook suggested arriving late in the afternoon, to avoid the queues. It worked. (We visited on Friday when the museum is open in the evening, so we missed the daytime and evening peak hours).
….but be wary of the crowd on the Metro.
After leaving the Louvre we took the Metro. There were three women standing next to me in the crowded carriage. They got off, and a seated passenger immediately asked “does this belong to anybody?”
It was my wallet; deftly removed from my pocket, and dumped on the carriage floor after my euros had been removed.
The Luxembourg Gardens
Enjoyed by joggers, readers, philosophers, tourists and beekeepers, the Luxembourg Gardens are a prime opportunity for people-watching.
A little light shopping in Saint Germain, followed by a Corsican ice cream
Nearby, we came across Pierre Geronimi, a chic Corsican ice-cream shop. Among more conventional flavours they were offering basil, tomato, fennel, or mustard seed. When I realised that even their lunchtime salads come with a scoop, I began to understand…..
Pierre Geronimi, 5 rue Férou, Saint-Sulpice, 75006
Changing of the Guard à la Parisienne
We approached the gates of the Palais du Luxembourg as a coach was leaving. It was carrying what looked like a detachment of Napoleon’s cavalry in helmets and breastplates. It was the Republican Guard, destined for ceremonial duties in the capital. (The regiment is twinned with the British Household Cavalry).
Paris: city of soldiers, city of pilgrims
The history of Paris has seen many violent chapters, from medieval times, through the Revolution and the Commune of 1871, to the German Occupation and the student riots of 1968 in the 20th century. In recent years new threats have emerged; in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan, patrols of armed soldiers were a common sight on the streets, and public monuments continue to be guarded by the police and army.
The dark side of the City of Light is chronicled by Andrew Hussey in his book “PARIS. The Secret History”,
Paris continues to be a destination for pilgrimage, whether for devotees of the cult of Napoleon, centred on his tomb at Les Invalides, or the more ancient religious celebration in Place Vauban opposite, where hundreds had gathered at the climax of the Pilgrimage of Pentecost.
A pilgrimage of another kind: “Prendre l’Apero”
“Wish you were here?”