When we visited Paris again this year, we decided that practicality would win out in our choice of lodgings. We had only a day and a half in Paris, and we were leaving our hotel early to go to Charles de Gaulle airport on our final morning. We thought that staying near Gare du Nord (near the RER train that would take us to the airport) would be smart. Of course we would have been adding no more than a few minutes for an extra stop or two on the metro by staying elsewhere, but we liked our plan for another reason.
Bon Appetit had a spread in an issue about how up-and-coming a food district the 10th arrondissement was becoming. Despite the still considerable stretch of areas considered riff-raff, some picturesque pockets—especially along the Canal du St. Martin—boasted some great new eateries. We decided to try out some places recommended by the magazine or Tripadvisor or Yelp.
Here are some of our suggestions:
Coffee at Ten Belles (as suggested by Bon Appetit):
It’s a tiny place, but really not so small that you cannot grab a table if you go at the right time. There are a row of tables opposite the coffee bar, a few tables outside, and a few tables upstairs. You can order at the counter, then grab one of the carafes of water thoughtfully laid out, and then sit and wait (this could take a few minutes as the place tends to get busy) for your artistic creation to be brought to you. I suggest the cappuccino (above).
Then, go to Du Pain et des Idees (with the help of Yelp):
Will started to salivate just looking at the outside. Even though we only had one and a half days in Paris, Will made two visits there (getting three delectable pastries each time). My favorite was the “Escargot de Chocolat-Pistache” (or, as the lady repeated as she gave me the pastry: “choco-pistache.” Apparently they received the award for best baguette in 2014. We didn’t get a chance to try it, but I’m sure it was heavenly.
For dinner, try Chez Marie Louise (discovered via Tripadvisor):
Very near Ten Belles, just east of the Canal St. Martin, you will find this unassuming restaurant. The clientele is half French and half tourists, the abundance of tourists mostly because the word has gotten out that the guy who operates the restaurant (owner?) speaks marvelous English and can explain in great detail anything you don’t understand on the menu.
Since we had earlier studied the hand-written menu outside (see the picture above)—and since it was, after all, our last of two weeks of eating in France—we didn’t need much help. He almost seemed disappointed that he could not take the opportunity to wax poetic about Croquilles St. Jacques ravioli (that’s scallop ravioli, and pictured below with some quickly sautéed and very flavorful zucchini, “courgette” in French).
I don’t know about the rest of the 10th, but the food in the places we visited was superb!