In what could be the hardest-sell on the planet, I always try to talk people who come to Paris into trying Pruneaux d’Agen fourrés, which are prunes stuffed with prunes. In spite of their reputation, prunes are a great delicacy in France and rightfully so; one taste of even just a regular pruneau d’Agen (especially mi-cuit, or “partially dried”), and you’ll plotz the first time after your first bite. (Although sometimes you need to give it a few hours for the full effect.)
Results tagged G. Detou from David Lebovitz
On my last visit to the states, I engaged a bit in the all-American pastime of le shopping. Of course, I wasn’t looking for things made in France (although folks have a tendency to want to direct me to French bakeries), but I did see what was—and wasn’t, available from my adopted country.
Interestingly, I get a fair number of people coming to France and asking what they should bring their hosts. Generally speaking, the French aren’t especially interested in macaroni & cheese mix, backside-burning hot sauce, or jars of organic crunchy peanut butter. But I always recommend people bring things like bean-to-bar chocolate, Rancho Gordo beans, and a big bag of dried sour cherries, which I’ve only seen at a few places in Paris, and they sell for over €55 per kilo (2.2 pounds). Their hefty price reflects the fact that they’re imported from America.
In the reverse direction, outside of France you’ll often pay hefty prices on French-made items; certain goods one can buy in France quite cheaply. Of course, shipping, exchange rates, taxes, and other costs figure in to those prices when you see them in a store in New York City, but if you’re coming to France, here’s a few things you might want to check out. I didn’t include things like chocolates, macarons, or other obvious things simply because, well, they’re pretty obvious.
Paris is a mecca for cooks, and folks come here from around the world to stock up on French and specialty cookware. Many of the shops are clustered around the Les Halles area, where for many years restaurateurs shopped at the giant market there for produce and other comestibles, as well as professional kitchenware. Although the market is gone, many of those stores exist and you can make a day of shopping in the various stores.
One caveat is to check prices before leaving home. Often items are priced less elsewhere because many goods in France have substantial VAT added (hovering at around 20%). Plus figure in shipping or baggage fees if you plan to haul it yourself as most airlines charge for additional suitcases. So that Le Creuset casserole might cost you more than you bargained for.
Service in the shops can range from gruff to helpful, depending on the staff. For years, the shops served mostly professionals. Although that’s changed over the last decade.
As other people starting picking up tart rings and baking sheets, shops are now more welcoming to everyday cooks. But still, much in the places around Les Halles are self-service and getting attentive help can be a challenge. Be sure to measure your oven before you leave since French baking sheets, and silicone baking mats and cookware, are made for European-sized kitchens and appliances.
Shops in Les Halles often display prices HT (hors taxes) and that 19.6% is added on the bill when they ring you up, unless you have European tax-exempt status. TTC (toutes taxes comprises) means all the taxes are included in the price. In other cookware and department stores, the price generally includes in the tax. When in doubt, ask.
Tourists can avoid the tax if you purchase €175 worth of goods in the same store on the same day. You need to present your receipt that the store will give you (called the “bordereau de détaxe”, so advise the cashier before they ring up your purchases that you’ll want one) at the counter at the airport before departing, and often show the merchandise at that time. You can check the customs information for Charles De Gaulle Airport.
Also the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores will give tourists a storewide discount coupon at their front desk, generally good for 10% off, if you present a foreign passport. (Some items are excluded.)
The first thing to mention is that you won’t find many bargains in Paris on cookware. It’s usually not substantially cheaper than it is outside of French. Even French-made items, like Le Creuset and Staub cookware. However the big department stores, often run promotions and you can score a cast-iron casserole or another treasure for a good price. Once again, check prices before you leave home if you’re looking for specific pieces. During sale periods (les soldes), in January and in the summer, markdowns can be substantial, especially if you wait until the final days.
For those in for an adventure, scour the outdoor markets: the Paris website has page that lists all the food markets and brocantes (sidewalk sales) in Paris and usually there are people there selling a wide range of French kitchen objects. The most obscure food markets (marchés alimentaires), most notably the ones in ethnic neighborhoods, have the best prices.
I also recommend checking out the discount stores dotted around Paris, which I mentioned in The Sweet Life in Paris, and consequently, many of you have asked me about specific addresses.
You basically need to just walk around everyday neighborhoods (more are concentrated in the outer arrondissements, especially on the Right Bank), and you’ll come across some. Follow signs outside that say “Affairs” or “Bazaar”, but you’ll know you found one when there are stacks of miscellaneous things stacked up outside. Inside is usually a great selection of cookware and baking equipment, as well as some French bistroware. I don’t have many specific addresses, but check toward the Belleville area, off the République on the Rue du Faubourg du Temple, the area around the Marché D’Aligré, or the lower part of Rue Oberkampf, just off the boulevard Richard Lenoir.
(Tip: If you’re up near Montmarte, there is a particularly good shop with lots of housewares at 4, rue de Clignancourt.)
I’ve divided my list into three parts; the shops near Les Halles, other cookware shops around Paris, and department stores and hypermarkets (large discount stores). Before setting out, remember that shops in Paris may be closed at unexpected times, on holidays, and in August. So always call first or check their websites to confirm opening hours.
Paris Cookware and Specialty Shops
Atelier du Cuivre et de l’Argent
113, avenue Daumesnil (12th)
Tél: 01 43 40 20 20
Ultra-modern cutlery share space in this shop that specializes in copper cookware made in their atelier, outside of Paris. Located just under the viaduct, by the Gare de Lyon, they also re-tin copper as well.
Au Petit Bonheur la Chance
13, rue Saint-Paul (4th)
Tél: 01 42 74 36 38
Filled with old French charm, this shop was recently squeezed into tinier quarters. Lots of linens, café au lait bowls, and kitchen knick-knacks. Nearby is Virtuoses de la Réclame (5, rue Saint-Paul) for old café pitchers and memorabilia, and in the Village Saint-Paul (25, rue Saint-Paul, in the courtyard), Folle du Logis is worth a stop for rifling though their stacks of French plates, serving pieces, glassware, and other curiosities.
Marché Paul Bert
18, rue Paul Bert (St Ouen)
Tél: 01 40 11 89 98
In the Clignancourt flea market, Bachelier sells vintage copper, linens, and cooking utensils. Open only on limited days, so be sure to call or check the website before venturing up there.
On the quai Conti, this bookstall has an amazing collection of used and rare cookbooks. Not inexpensive, but quite impressive. I’ve been told you can bargain him down.
28, rue due Bourg Tibourg (4th)
Tél: 01 40 29 07 32
This tiny slip of a shop is tucked next to the Mariage Frères tea salon and boutique. Not a big selection, but worth a look if you’re in the Marais.
A French chain of upscale cookware shops, with various addresses across Paris.
119, boulevard Richard Lenoir (11th)
Tél: 01 43 38 48 48
Large selection of cookware, and items geared toward professionals. A local favorite, Chinese and Asian items are a specialty, although you’ll find French goods, most notably for restaurants, here as well.
With shops scattered about Paris, Kitchen Bazaar has the latest in ultra-trendy bakeware and appliances, plus cooking tools that are hard to find in, or out, of France. Certain times throughout the year the store has 30% off sales which makes shopping particularly fruitful.
14, rue Tronchet (8th)
Tél: 01 47 42 73 25
Just off the swank Place de la Madeleine, La Carpe is packed with cookware of all types. Good selection and you’ll likely find things not available elsewhere.
One of my favorite places to shop in Paris, and the cheapest, these shops scattered across the city are packed with inexpensive porcelain baking dishes, glassware, café au lait bowls, shopping bags, and French novelties, like glasses for verrines.
Less-famous than the other Clignancourt market, the Porte de Vanves flea market in the 14th is less-expensive and more of a real flea market than a collection of antique stores. The market is both Saturday and Sunday morning.
Primarily a food market nowadays, the origins of this terrific market was a place where used items where sold and traded. Today, in the center of the marketplace is a daily flea market. Quite lively on weekends, the market is open daily, except Monday. Bargain hard here.
Marché Saint Pierre
2, rue Charles Nodier (18th)
Tél: 01 46 06 92 25
This giant fabric store sits under Sacré Coeur, and not only can you find cotton tablecloths, bistro napkins and lovely torchons (kitchen towels), but they sell étamine, French muslin cloth, which is a good replacement for cheesecloth. It’s sold by the meter and is very inexpensive.
Pylones creates fun, yet functional, housewares, like cheesegraters in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and knives with colorful handles. Not really for serious cooks, but great for poking around and finding gifts. Stores across Paris.
147, rue de Bagnolet (20th)
Tel: 01 40 30 00 70
Perhaps too professional for most people, but they do carry equipment for hotel and restaurants and is interesting to poke around in if you’re in the neighborhood.
46, rue des Petits Champs (2nd)
Tel: 01 42 61 33 65
This shop specializes in Japanese foods, but up on the first floor are tools for preparing Asian foods. The nearby Ace Mart (63, rue Saint-Anne) also has some Asian cookware and in the quartier Chinois you’ll find Tang Frères and other large Asian markets.
70, boulevard Malsherbes (8th)
Tél: 01 45 61 03 13
Interesting and unusual cookware, a bit off the beaten path.
Zwilling JA Henkels
12, boulevard de la Madeleine (9th)
Tel: 01 42 68 88 00
This boutique of the famed German cutlery company not only carries a complete selection of their knives, but also cookware, manicure implements, and modern housewares.
Cookware and Specialty Shops in Les Halles
All of these shops are clustered around the same area, accessible from the Les Halles métro. Many are professionally oriented but cater to all. Generally speaking, to get service, you’ll need to take your own initiative.
In these shops, when you buy something, a clerk writes your purchases up on a receipt, which you take to the cashier and pay for, then return to pick up your purchases. Some stores will ship, although the cost may be rather high.
48 + 52 rue Montmartre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 33 71 65
An especially good selection of glassware and heavy-duty, professional quality white French porcelain. The shop is under new ownership and the stock is ever-changing.
18-20 rue Coquillière (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 53 13
Brace yourself and step inside. Two stories of cramped aisles packed with cookware and specialty gear. Famous for their gorgeous copper, in the basement, the staff can be overtly eager to help you to buy something, or disinterested. The staff is well-informed, but don’t let them talk you into something expensive just because they recommend it. The plastic pastry scrapers with their logo on them make inexpensive, and excellent, gifts for baker and cooks back home.
58, rue Tiquetonne (2nd)
Tél: 01 42 36 54 67
One of my favorite shops in Paris for specialty foods, including chocolate, mustard, honey, and olive oils. During December, prepare for a crush of Parisians stocking up on holiday goods.
36 rue Montmartre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 09 99
Lots of cookware, but my favorite part of the store is the top story, which has food wrappers and other French cad bakery-style emballages.
15, rue du Louvre (1st)
Tél: 01 42 36 80 60
Hidden in a courtyard, push open the gate and visit this dark shop. Mostly glassware and earthenware, you’re expected to go in the back and comb the aisles for yourself.
92-96, rue Montmarte (2nd)
Tél: 01 43 54 37 27
This two-story bookstore has an extensive collection of cookbooks. There are some used books amongst the stacks, but on the upper floor is an impressive collection of oversized books by European chefs which are hard-to-get outside of Europe.
13, rue de Montmarte (1st)
Tél: 01 45 08 19 24
Pastry chefs come from all over the world to visit MORA, which has a great selection of tart and cake molds, whisks and spatulas, and just about everything else. Plus the best selection of chocolate molds in Paris.
Department Stores and Hypermarkets
The department stores of Paris have excellent cookware departments, which carry professional-quality cookware as well as items for everyday use. Hypermarkets, large discount food stores which have extensive cookware departments, are prohibited from operating within the city limits. But I’ve given the addresses of Auchan and Carrefour, that are just at the edges of Paris, easily reached by métro.
This hypermarket chain has two stores, one at La Defense and the other at Porte de Bagnolet (M: Porte de Bagnolet), in large shopping centers. Several aisles are filled with cookware and bakeware.
55, rue de la Verrerie (4th)
Tél : 01 42 74 90 00
The third floor of this department store in the Marais, has an excellent cookware department. Hardware fans should stop in the basement and those looking to expand their cookbook collections should visit the book department.
France’s mega-chain stores sell food as well as cookware and other kitchen tools. They’ve recently opened smaller grocery stores in Paris, but a close hypermarket is at Porte de Montreuil (M: Porte de Montreuil).
Large department store, with several locations in Paris boasting extensive cookware departments. Be sure to check out the gourmet food hall at the Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.
Le Bon Marché
38, rue de Sèvres (7th)
Tél: 01 44 39 80 00
The only department store on the Left Bank of Paris. The name of the store means “good deal” in French. Known for their amazing La Grand Épicerie food hall next door, the main store stocks cookware.
This membership-only store has huge aisles filled with foods, including French cheeses, specialty butters (for pastry-making), and bakery-size boxes of chocolate and sugars. Half of the store is devoted to professional cookware. (Use their store finder to locate the nearest address.) You’ll need to find a friend with a card to go. And to get a card, one needs to prove they have a business. Best visited by car.
The main store, 64 boulevard Haussmann, has a nearby ‘Maison’ store filled with cookware and housewares.
Related Posts and Links
Paris’ Oldest Kitchen Equipment Shop (FX Cuisine)
Paris Culinaire (Hard-to-Find Items, in Paris)
Hedley’s Humpers (Overseas Shipping)
Bouquinistes Who Sell Cookbooks (Cadran Hôtel)
You might not remember the days before the internet, but when we used to travel somewhere, we’d ask a friend to scribble down a list of suggestions. And we’d often be asked to do the same in return. Then when computers became widely used, other ‘favorites’ lists started circulating, including suggestions posted in online forums and in blogs.
So think of this list as my modern-day scribblings of places to go on the rue Montorgueil. Aside from it being perfectly located in the center of Paris, it’s a great place to take a stroll, and is pedestrian-friendly and wheelchair accessible, as it’s flat and closed off to cars. It’s a lovely walk, and everything is in a three block radius, making it easy to sample some of the best food shops, bakeries, chocolate shops, and kitchenware stores in Paris in one fell swoop.
The area was, for centuries, the home of the famous Les Halles covered market, which stood in the center of the city. As part of the modernization of Paris it was dismantled in the 1970s, replaced by an unattractive shopping mall (which is widely reviled), and the merchants were dispatched to Rungis, a large industrial complex on the outskirts of Paris. Still, reminders of Les Halles remain, including restaurant supply shops, late night dining spots, and the rue Montorgueil, which has become a vibrant street lined with restaurants, food stores, chocolate shops, and lively cafés.
The street is the perfect place go if have just a short time in Paris, as there’s a lot to see—and eat, in a very concentrated space. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can take the métro and get off at Etienne Marcel, Les Halles, or Sentier.
You’ll probably want to visit the restaurant supply shops, which you might want to schedule at the end of your stroll, so you don’t have to lug purchases around with you.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions people have about cocoa powder, and how it’s used in recipes:
What’s the difference between Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder?
Dutch-process cocoa powder is made from cocoa (cacao) beans that have been washed with a potassium solution, to neutralize their acidity. Natural cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that are simply roasted, then pulverized into a fine powder.
What does Dutching do?
Aside from neutralizing the acidity, Dutching cocoa powder makes it darker (see photo below, right) and can help mellow the flavor of the beans. Some artisan companies in the United States don’t Dutch-process their cocoa as they claim their cocoa beans don’t need to be acid-neutralized. Most supermarket brands of cocoa powder in America, such as Hershey’s and Nestlé, are natural cocoa powders.
Can I use Dutch-process and natural cocoa powder interchangeably in recipes?
Many people who tackle French recipes get stumped by the sugars, which don’t necessarily correspond to the sugars available elsewhere. All supermarkets in France carry white granulated sugar and there’s often unrefined sugars, such as cassonade, which grocers stock and are widely-available. In America and elsewhere, bakers often have to do a bit of hunting around to find the corresponding sugar.
French brown sugars are quite varied and don’t always neatly fit into substitutions. In general, if you have a recipe that calls for brown sugar, you can use moist cassonade, vergeoise, or any unrefined amber-colored sugar that’s not granulated. For the sake of these descriptions, moist brown sugar is sugar that clumps together easily if you pinch it. Crystallized sugar is granulated, or free-flowing, and pours easily.
For caramelization, you need to use refined white sugar; impurities in unrefined sugars will cause crystallization. There’s some controversy in the pastry community that sugar refined from beets, which the majority of the sugar in France is, will give you difficulty if you try to caramelize it. But I haven’t experienced any problems.
I’ve listed a few places outside of France where these sugars, and others, are available at the end of the post. Depending on where you live, your best bet is to search online or find a store that specializes in baking ingredients for professionals or dedicated home bakers. There are also links to various sugar companies and websites where you can learn more about these sugars.
Sucre cristallisé or sucre cristal
This is plain white sugar, whose crystals are a bit larger than what’s considered granulated sugar in the United States. You can use this sugar for almost all baking and cooking applications.
Sucre semoule and Sucre en poudre
This is sugar whose crystals are very fine. In America, this would be similar to what is called superfine or baker’s sugar. In other countries it’s called castor or caster sugar. Its fine texture means it melts quickly and will give a finer crumb to many cakes, meringues and cookies.
You can make your own by pulsing granulated sugar in a food processor or blender a few times until it’s in smaller crystals.
If G. Detou didn’t exist, I couldn’t live in Paris.
Seriously. The overstocked, but impeccably neat shelves at G. Detou do indeed have everything, as the name implies in French (J. Detou is a play-on-words, meaning “I have everything”.) But when you’re someone like me that does an inordinate amount of baking, plus loves…and I mean loves…to discover new and unusual foods and chocolates, a place like G. Detou is truly pastry paradise.
This little shop near Les Halles is stocked, literally, floor-to-ceiling with everything a cook or baker could want. There’s chocolates from across France, including a huge (and I mean huge) selection of bars including Michel Cluizel, Valrhona, Voisin, Weiss, Bonnat, Cacao Barry—the best of l’hexagone.
But even better are the big tablets and sacks that range from 3 to 5 kilos, that hard-cores bakers like me depend on. Although I’m not the only avid chocolate baker in town: When I was in last week, a tiny, meek little old lady came by and left hefting a 3-kilo sack of white chocolate, and a man in a hurry, who didn’t remove the cell phone from his ear while he rattled off his order to the red-coated salesclerk, left with five enormous sacks of chocolate, as well as assorted other goodies.