Long Weekend: Chef Raymond Blanc's favourite places to shop, dine and wine in Paris

 
Melissa York
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Raymond Blanc enjoying the menu he designed on board the Eurostar
The weekend

Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc has picked out his favourite foodie hotspots in one of the tastiest cities on earth. From bistros to profiteroles, there’s a lot to pack in, but if you’re up for the challenge, then here’s how to bloat yourself Blanc-style.


How to get there

The Eurostar e320 gets you there in just over two hours, with two pieces of luggage at no extra cost and none of that baggage reclaim nonsense. If you’re going business, you can rock up 10 minutes before it leaves and tuck into Blanc’s menu using locally-sourced ingredients from both sides of the channel to combine French and British classics.

Where to stay


The garden in Le Bristol

Paris is all about glamour so stay at Le Bristol next to virtually every global fashion house on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. To get an idea of its grandeur, it’s part of the Oetker Collection which includes London’s Lanesborough Hotel in Knightsbridge and it underwent a €170m restoration last year. There are plush rugs and ostentatious bouquets in every corner, the staff are exceptional and there are even two live-in cats to stroke when you feel a bit homesick.

It’s Paris! Where can I fine dine?

Le Bristol’s main restaurant, Epicure, is a three-Michelin-starred affair that serves a stuffed macaroni with black truffle dish that drives Parisians in-Seine (desolé). Failing that, Blanc recommends Pierre Gagnaire’s eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant at 6 rue Balzac, which spearheads the city’s fusion cuisine movement, or Atelier Maitre Albert, a darkly-chic bistro in the 5th arrondissement that serves up seriously good value seasonal set menus.

Ou est le pastry et plonk?


A vanilla mille feuille as seen from above

Wander into Galerie Vivenne, a 19th century shopping arcade, and you’ll find Le Grand Filles et Fils. The family run business started life as a grocery shop but now specialises in fine wines from over 400 vineyards, with some bottles costing up to €10,000. Sup on une verre du vin in the shop or organise a tasting in the room opposite with one of its sommeliers. Out in the 13th arrondissement, Raymond’s protégé Laurent Duchene sells around 800 of his fresh baguettes a day and his patisserie has just won him a coveted “meilleur ouvrier de France” title.

Where’s all the good cheese?

Another holder of this title for superior craftsman is cheesemonger Laurent Dubois. His shop may look pokey but it’s packed with produce, selling over 150 varieties of cheese. He also hosts tastings, teaching punters their camembert from their comte.

What if I want to get creative?

Walk off some of the food around Le Marais, the old aristocratic district of Paris, popping into Maison Plisson, a stonking supermarket packed with local produce, and Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest food market, with stalls serving a discerning lunch clientele. Tour guide Robert Pink (robertpink.com) also customises walking tours around Paris’ artisan food shops.

Need to know

Eurostar fares from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord start from £29 and Business Premier fares start from £245, both one-way based on a return journey. Visit eurostar.com or call 03432 186 186. Rooms at Le Bristol start from €950 per night, room only. Visit lebristolparis.com

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