Food / Travel

Three Meals a Day in Paris, Part 1

La Varangue, interior

After five days in Paris, I returned home and refused to eat croissants, baguettes, other Viennoiserie and French desserts for about a week. It’s not that our local patisseries and bakeries churn out inferior goods, but I just had too many sweet things far too often during my trip so I needed a short break from them all. (Though, I did end up craving strawberries and yogurt once I was home because I ate a lot of those things and did not have enough.)

With the exception of breakfast (included with our hotel booking, so the first meal of the day was ever constant), pretty much every meal we ate was something slightly different. From the tiny French restaurant for dinner on our first night to the hole-in-the-wall crêperie on our last, the food was pretty delicious no matter what type of meal it was.

Here’s a look at our main meals in Paris.

Escargot on bread at La Varangue

Duck confit and chicken breast at La Varangue

Slice of chocolate cake at La Varangue

Our very first meal in the City of Lights was dinner at La Varangue. My guidebook referred to it as a ‘one man shop’, though Philippe, the owner/chef did have a young assistant the night we ate there. Tiny restaurant, simple but good food, and very reasonable prices. P started off with an appetizer of cassolette d’escargots which was fine but really, I don’t get the hype about eating snails—it’s totally not my thing. Entrées were confit de carnad (duck leg) for P and I had the filet de poulet (a moist chicken breast with potatoes and rosemary sauce). And we finished off with a slice of gâteau au chocolat, though it was hard to choose between that and the crème brûlée. The chocolate cake was delicious and not too sweet. I normally can’t eat much the first night I’m abroad but this time, it worked out well and we didn’t overdo things on our first day.

Hotel breakfast

We paid for breakfast at the hotel so that’s what we ate every day; I would have liked to have gone out to eat but with our crazy morning schedule, it made more sense to grab food downstairs and then head out to our first destination of the day. Each morning was a variation of eggs, meat (bacon, sausage or the charcuterie plate), beans, bread (mini baguette, croissants, or slices from rustic loaves), some veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers), fruit, and yogurt. And always a cup of tea and a glass of juice (orange or grapefruit). And this was why I avoided eating English or continental style breakfasts for at least a week after I returned home.

Lunch and dinner were slightly more interesting during the next several days.

Lunch at Fauchon

A very late lunch at Fauchon on our second day meant there wasn’t as much variety left in the takeaway area of the café. I made do with a sandwich (smoked salmon with a yogurt dressing and mint), a green juice and a fruit cup that looked like a parfait of jewels. I was fascinated by the sandwich packaging; all of the sandwiches were stored in cute resealable bags ready to grab and go for an afternoon picnic.

Nassim

Chicken wrap and fries from Nassim

The fancy takeaway lunch was followed by a very casual takeaway dinner. There are plenty of restaurants near our hotel and we ended up wandering down a street that had many eateries. Because of the late lunch, I wasn’t too hungry for dinner and ended up ordering a chicken sandwich (more of a wrap) at a Middle Eastern fast food place called Nassim. The sandwich was part of a set meal that also included fries and a soda; the mojito-flavored 7-Up tasted nothing like a mojito but a very sweet fizzy limeade. Maybe I should’ve grabbed the tropical flavored 7-Up instead.

Trying to cover all our meals in one post was a bit much so more food posts will be coming up, but I think we ate well enough on our first two days in France.