Food Shopping Like A Parisian: Arnaud Demontel & Strolling Through The Parisian Open Air Market
When you read books (like David Lebovitz’s memoir on his experiences in Paris) or talk to the French about where they shop for food, namely their daily baguette, they say stick within one’s arrondissment.
Taking that idea, I found out that HC and I were staying very close to Arnaud Delmontel and it was our quick breakfast destination for two days straight. What makes Demontel notable was the fact that they won 1st place for their baguette (La meilleure baguette de Paris) in 1997.
Rolling myself out of bed in a zombie-like mindset because of the need to start sightseeing early, HC and I were following our noses to the intoxicating scent of baked butter and the aroma of fresh baked pastries and breads wafting out from their door.
Entering the pâtisserie, our eyes were focusing on the bold, fuschia-pink wall written in French, talking about their mission to use the best ingredients for their viennoiseries and pastries and looked down at the display where the glossy breakfast pastries were shining under the spotlights.
On the side of the bakery, they had a whole refrigerated case dedicated to macarons. Ranging from the traditional flavors of vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, caramel with fleur de sel, etc., they did carry a few unusual ones like cassis, rose, and violet. In terms of pricing, it’s not too terrible compared to the more expensive ones like Pierre Hermé or Ladurée.
I have tried their pan au chocolat (super fresh, buttery and flaky with a strip of high quality dark chocolate.), croissant (flaky and buttery without being too dense nor greasy), the pain aux raisins that literally just came out of the oven (pillowy soft, warm, and stuffed with plump raisins was soul satisfying), and the Alsace sablé that was a brown butter cookie that’s sandwiched with tart raspberry jam. All were amazing baked goods and I wish I had more stomach space to eat more of their stuff.
Then we took the bus through town and went to one of Paris’ largest outdoor markets located at Avenue du President Wilson in the 16th arrondissment. (Yup, they named a few streets after our presidents.)
Casually strolling through the market, I cannot help but ogle at the beautiful produce the merchants sold.
And there was a rotisserie or two in this market. I like their ingenuity of having the chicken fat dripping onto the potatoes resting on the bottom of that roaster. Tasty stuff, I tell you.
Then, I was finally bestowed in the presence of raw milk! Hallelujah! I wanted to get my hands on this dairy just because it’s difficult to get this in the U.S. (The FDA doesn’t like raw milk products for the masses. Boo.) When I bought myself a pint (1.80€), this was delicious – creamy, gently floral milk coming from happy cows grazing through the meadows outside of Paris. Instead of the pasteurized stuff that I have to get in New York City.
While heading toward the end of the market, I saw one particular vendor that sells only fresh mushrooms. Startled at the pristine quality of these fungi, I almost wanted to buy them. Except I don’t have a kitchen to cook in. Bummer.
There were several seafood merchants in this market but one of them sold stunning langostines that begged to be taken home and be eaten.
Note to myself, when I come back to Paris, I need to rent an apartment there.
For the people who aren’t allergic to pollen, gorgeous doe-eyed peonies (they’re in season back then), roses, carnations, and many other blossoms were sold there.
39 Rue des Martyrs
Tel: 01 48 78 29 33
Marché Avenue du President Wilson
Avenue du President Wilson and Avenue Debrousse