Five Favorite Food Addresses in Paris

Épices & Saveurs

Although it may seem like your typical Arabic épicerie (food shop), of which there are many in Paris, I’ve shopped a lot of them and found Épices & Saveurs especially well-stocked. The place is as neat a pin and in addition to the usual line-up of harissas, nuts and dried fruits in bulk, olive oils, and spices, I always find curiosities on the shelves and in the refrigerator that I don’t see elsewhere.

For example, recently there were cans of white truffles (€25) which I almost bought for the label alone: a mound of truffles piled up inside a colorful tagine. I didn’t get them (because I just spent €97 having my heater serviced, which basically was a guy coming over and finding one of the gazillion empty jars I have stacked on the upper shelves of my kitchen, which had fallen into the evacuation pipe), but I’m always intrigued by the various types of harissas, jars of Sicilian pistachio and almond pastes, packets of halloumi cheese, fetas, Turkish pastrami, the wall of nuts and dried fruits, a serve-yourself olive bar, and a coffee stand, where the nice guys that run the boutique are happy to make you a coffee if you feel like lingering.

Outside they’ve got an edited selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Recently I spotted some elusive bergamots (the true ones, which are different than the sweet lemons sold as bergamots in France). Also outside, you might find fresh turmeric and small knobs of organic ginger, as well as French shallots longues (the ones I prefer)and oignons rosés (pink onions) from Roscoff, in Brittany.

Bonus: Just next door is Simply Market, a generic, all-purpose supermarket, but their baking section is definitely worth poking through, as are the other groceries, mostly downstairs. I found a generic version of the Ikea Swedish cookies (that don’t require a trip to Ikea!), as well as Norwegian whole-grain flatbread crisps (gluten-free), various pastas from Italy, an array of French tinned sardines, fleur de sel, and even small-batch fromage blanc, and other dairy products. Expats will like that they have Method cleaning products, which I’ve not seen in Paris, as well as Briochin natural cleaning products, which are made in France – and thankfully, not perfumed. A majority of things in the store are standard supermarket fare, so you just have the browse the aisles to sort through it all, which I admit to finding myself doing a little too often.

Épices & Saveurs
2, avenue Parmentier (11th)
Tél: 09 72 83 89 91
Métro: Voltaire

Hours: Open 10:30am to 7pm daily, except Sunday.

La Maison du Whisky

The French aren’t associated with cocktails as much they are with wine. But not only were a number of classic cocktails invented in France, but there are lots of liqueurs, distillations, and spirits that come from the hinterlands, that also aren’t so well-known, especially in their own country. But now they’re having a renaissance. Still, it’s hard to find things like rye whiskey in Paris (even through the French now lead the world in whiskey consumption), or Dolin vermouth, French-made single-malt whiskies, and Bonal, a cousin to Chartreuse that a visiting friend was on a concerted mission to find. So I took him here.

The best-sellers are on the main floor, but downstairs there are plenty of bottles of apéritifs, bitters, and spirits to rifle though. (I’m no whiskey expert but a friend comes from the U.S. to buy whiskey here, since they have some that aren’t available in America.) The staff is very helpful if you have questions or need advice. My last purchase was a bottle of French bitters because I’ve been checking out alternatives to Campari, which is so powerful that it can k-o (knock-out) anything else in the glass. While I can’t wait to try the Bruto Americano made in Alameda, California, I’ve been going through a lot of Dolin. Thankfully there’s a bus almost door-to-door from my place to LMDW.

La Maison du Whisky
6, Carrefour de l’Odéon (6th)
Tél: 01 46 34 70 20
Métro: Odéon

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10:30am to 8pm. Thursday and Friday, 10:30am to 9pm.

(The Odéon shop features a wider selection of liquors than their other address, 20, rue d’Anjou, which focuses on whiskies.)

Marks & Spencer Food

Yes, we can get spectacular French cheeses at the markets and fromageries, fromage blanc and yogurt up the wazoo, and smoked poitrine fumé (bacon) at the charcuterie, but sometimes you just need a well-aged cheddar or Stilton, a spoonful of cottage cheese, or streaky bacon. And that’s where Marks & Spencer Food comes in.

Scattered around Paris (although the main Marks & Spencer stores are retreating, again) the M & S Food stores expect to stay open, which is a good thing because I’ve discovered them (and all I hear from Romain is the word “crumpets,” spoken with a French accent every time I make a shopping list to go there), and so have Parisians, which are flocking to the stores as well.

Bakers will like that they carry bread flour, yeast, baking powder and baking soda, as well as muscovado sugar, sticky brown stuff that resembles American brown sugar, as well as golden syrup, treacle, and even wine from India, which bakers anywhere appreciate at the end of the day. Depending on the store, I’ve found Italian spelt pasta, fresh jalapenos and fresh passion fruit pulp, and although I don’t regularly do take-out food, the extensive selection of Indian foods, and pre-prepared dishes like Moroccan Spiced Butternut Salad, Harissa chicken with couscous, and BBQ beef brisket, look better than the surimi sandwiches and soggy grated carrot salads at other supermarkets, who I think are upping their game because of the new kid in town.

Marks & Spencer Food
Various locations throughout Paris. Check website for addresses and hours.

Au Miel/La Maison du Rocher

I discovered this shop when there was an explosion under my friend Denise Acabo’s chocolate shop and she had to close for a couple of years, before rebuilding it. One evening she decided to hold court here and phoned me to come visit. Although there are a lot of honey shops in Paris, this one is the best I’ve been to. The owners, Sylvette and Alain, are passionate about honey, and have varieties that are hard to get, and stock a few I’d never heard of. All the honeys in the shop are cultivated in France.

The French love honey (many of which are said to have healing properties) and at La Maison du Rocher, they’re happy to offer tastes from a row of jars they keep behind the counter. I tend toward bitter honey, such as chestnut and buckwheat, although there were a few I never heard of that I brought home, which Romain finished off before I could write down the names of them*. (I’m getting to the age where I’m going to start recording conversations, just to remember what was said.)

I can’t guarantee any of the honey – or honey drops, pain d’épices, or any of the other honey-based confections in the shop – will cure what ails you, but I will say that you’ll leave with a few more jars of honey than you thought. Like I did. Now if I could only remember which ones they were**…Maybe next time I go, I’ll find a honey that improves my memory?

Au Miel/La Maison du Rocher
71, rue de Rocher (8th)
Tél: 01 45 22 23 13
Métro: Villiers

Hours: 10:30am to 1:45pm, 3:45pm to 7:30pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

La Petite Cagette

There have always been lots of specialty food shops in Paris, generally bakeries, cheese shops, butchers, charcuteries, and wine caves. But there’s been a renewed interest in eating local, and buying from small producers in France, as well as in neighboring countries. A spate of little places, like La Petite Cagette, have opened up in neighborhoods around town, selling “forgotten”vegetables like spaghetti squash and crosnes, as well as citrons, kale, and unusual leafy greens, such as friseline and wasabina, which sound like French sprites.

La Petite Cagette, is indeed, petite. The crowded space is happily filled with bins of fruits and vegetables. Being winter, I recently purchased tangles of dandelion leaves, leeks, potatoes, rutabagas, and sturdier salad greens, from the produce crates. The shelves are lined with cold-pressed sunflower and colza oils, soups, and honey, and of particular interest was the open refrigerator, where I picked up some smoked sardines (which we enjoyed on dark bread smeared with salted butter) and smoked sausages, which went into a hardy pot of soup. I make an effort to buy sausages and meats from small producers, if I can, and there are a few butchers in Paris that are focusing on sustainable and humanely-raised meat. (A few are Le Bourdonnec, Terroirs d’Avenir, Polmard, and Viande & Chef.) But am happy to find smoked and cured meats here.

This is a pretty small-scale place and if there are more than six people in the shop, you should expect to be rubbing elbows with others. But there’s little attitude here. Just good food.

Bonus: Just across the street is Le Savoyard (39, rue Popincourt), which I’ve walked by a number of times, and have been intrigued by the hanging sausages and liqueurs from the Savoie in the window. All I know is that I’ve walked by a number of times late in the evening, somewhat late for a small food shop to be open, and saw the lights on.

La Petite Cagette
38-40 rue Popincourt (11th)
Tél: 09 52 88 62 77
Métro: Saint-Ambroise or Voltaire

Hours: Open daily, 10am to 2pm, 4pm to 8pm. Saturday 10am to 8pm.

Note: All store hours in this post are subject the change. It’s suggested you call first, where phone numbers or websites are provided, to get the most current information.


Related Posts and Links

L’Épicerie de Breizh Café

La Maison du Whisky

A l’Etoile d’Or Reopens

Strawberry Tree Honey (Honey Traveler)

La ruche qui dit oui!

How to find foods and other items mentioned on the site

10 Insanely delicious things you shouldn’t miss in Paris

Paris favorite restaurants

*That was before the jars got washed, and the labels removed, before I added them to my infamous (and costly) “jar shelf.”

**I guess I’m not as old as I thought because I jogged my memory and remembered that the honey I liked so much was miel d’arbousier, which apparently is quite rare. I linked to more about it just above, and saw that it’s available on Amazon and

 

 

 

 


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20 comments

  • February 22, 2017 9:08am

    What a fun excursion you’ve taken us on. We have the same kinds of shops here (minus M&S) and you’ve put me in the mood for a round of shopping. These little specialty places are what make France what it is. The obsession with quality.
    Your friend who likes Bonal might also like Micheline or Kina. Or Or-Kina.

  • ronald shapley
    February 22, 2017 3:35pm

    Darn Davis……..all this goodness while I’m on nutrisystem…….

  • Katrina
    February 22, 2017 4:49pm

    Does the M&S stock clotted cream? I hope it does, for your sake (although maybe not for your cholesterol?). Clotted cream is life-changing stuff as far as I’m concerned. Oh and M&S packaged scones are not bad at all, although of course those they bake on-site are better.

  • Alison
    February 22, 2017 6:15pm

    I too am an American living in Paris and always love your recommendations! I recently came across one of my own new favorites- Comptoir d’Aquitaine (Levallois-Perret). The owner is extremely knowledgable and only buys from local producers. My husband is from the region and he was so excited when I came home with real Jambon de Bayonne and chorizo, products made from chataignes, and his beloved Xipister sauce. If you like food from the region, definitely worth checking out!

  • Mary
    February 22, 2017 7:20pm

    We are returning in June, staying in a flat on Rue Vaneau; my husband loves whiskey. Many thanks for the great recommendations.

  • February 22, 2017 7:47pm

    So intrigued to hear about the honey shop ! Living not too far away – in the slightly boring, but comfy St. Cloud ;-) – la maison du Rocher is added to my shopping plans for one of the upcoming weekends. Merci!

  • Lisa
    February 22, 2017 8:40pm

    This is a fabulous post! I am saving it to read later, when I can slow down and really savor it! Thank you :)

  • Deborah
    February 22, 2017 9:11pm

    I used to buy saffron and other spices at Gourmanyat, 3 rue Charles François Depuis, 3e, but I don’t see that they are still open. I had to be buzzed in! Have they closed or just moved?

  • Susan
    February 23, 2017 1:27am

    David please tell me you will name your next pets Friseline and Wasabina. Wonderful article. Thank you

  • anniem
    February 23, 2017 2:40am

    David, loved the post, such interesting and delicious bits and pieces. Also clicked the link about the Bergamots which was interesting. Here in NZ we have a fruit we call “lemonades” and I think from your description it is probably a french style bergamot. It is not grown commercially but more an oddity from home gardens. It is reasonably palatable so don’t think it is a real bergamot. Thanks

  • February 23, 2017 6:17am

    Not sure I could stay in Paris without Marks&Sparks. Their BLTs are great especially if you grill them a bit at home to crisp the bacon and toast the bread. The biggest branch is next to the new Apple store in Saint Germain marché. Almost identical to a London store.

  • Angela De Marco Manzi
    February 24, 2017 2:14pm

    Epices et Saveurs sounds like Sahadi here in Brooklyn (which I am sure you have visited!). I find that I go to Sahadi for one thing and I need a cab to take me the 10 blocks home! :)

  • Cate Lawrence
    February 24, 2017 7:31pm

    As an Australian living in Germany, crumpets are treated like gold! I adore a good Middle Eastern grocer to boot

  • Karen Brown
    March 1, 2017 11:55am

    Thanks so much for this great post.I’m printing this post and putting it in my travel folder, as a trip to Paris is on my horizon. One product that I’m keen to get my mitts on is the exquisitely green bronte pistachio paste that you wrote about quite some time ago. A lot of Amazon merchants are not keen on sending food products to the end of the earth( i.e. New Zealand). Is there anywhere in Paris you can think of that might stock it? One of my favorite things to do in Paris is grocery shop, and drive the New Zealand custom agents crazy, as they try and figure out if tonka beans and Iranian saffron are allowed into the country! Cheers from the South Seas, Karen
    P.s. any chance that you’re going to be doing some patisserie shop reviews soon? I’ve printed out all your previous ones, and have your old pastry app still, but was wondering if you knew of any new kids on the block worth visiting.

    • Ellen
      March 1, 2017 4:04pm

      For pistachio paste, try Eataly in NYC next time you are in town.

    • March 1, 2017 4:28pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Karen: I’ve never bought the Bronte pistachio paste in Paris so can’t advise but RAP Épicerie is probably the best Italian food shop in Paris so she would likely have it. I am working on a post with some new pastry shops but it’s taking me a while to format it and get all the information up. In the meantime, you might want to check out Yann Couvreur and TOMO.

  • Paul Underwood
    March 1, 2017 3:57pm

    Another great post. I”m becoming a daily consumer of your blog. Question: The red Dolin “Bitter” bottle in the photo: is it in fact just their red vermouth? I’ve looked on the Dolin website and don’t find a Bitter product in their line, although I see Australian websites selling the stuff. I am guessing it is the same, but if they are making something new, I”d love to know about it. Doesn’t seem to be available as “Bitter” in the US. Happy hump day!

    • March 1, 2017 4:25pm
      David Lebovitz

      Hi Paul: I didn’t see it on the Dolin website but both (red vermouth and the bitters) are on the La Maison du Whisky website. Not sure about availability in other places, though, since even they don’t list it on their website (at least that I could find)!

  • Karen Brown
    March 7, 2017 11:36am

    My thanks to both David and Ellen for the advice re. the pistachio paste. The RAP Epiciere sounds like it would be interesting to browse, so will put that on my Paris to-do list (along with stocking up on Jacques Genin’s caramels!)

  • Mica
    March 21, 2017 2:37am

    Hi David!

    I am based in a rural town in the Philippines so I’m really looking forward to stocking up on goodies during my visit this Spring. Last fall, I remember hauling a couple kilos of Valrhona Guanaja and hand-carrying Epoisses and Bordier butter. I really love browsing your site for all your wonderful adventures.

    I hope you can share more about French supermarket shopping (I do love your pieces on marchés and seasonal food). Let’s just say I devoted an entire day discovering Rue Montorgeuil, thanks to your wonderfully engaging and generous writing.

    Thank you :)

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