Eric Fraudeau should be Paris’ ambassador to the world. Not only does he immediately dispel any notion that the French are standoffish, but he also has a passion for the French capital that is quite contagious. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of French cuisine, which shouldn’t come as any surprise given his 20 years of experience as a chef in the restaurant and hotel industry. Eric has worked around the world — Canada, Mexico, the U.S., and France — rubbing aprons with the likes of Robuchon and Ducasse.
After realizing he wanted to share his love for creating savory cuisine, Eric opened up Cook’n With Class, an authentic French cooking school located in the heart of a real Paris neighborhood. The gleaming, beautifully-designed facility in Montmartre offers state-of-the-art teaching kitchens, where students from around the world learn how to create everything from breads to sweets to full-course meals. I had the pleasure of taking one such class, and all I can say is that it was one of the most delicious experiences of my life.
Eric has taken the time to share some of his favorite places in and around Paris … but, fair warning: some may make your mouth water.
I really like the 12th when you are close to the 11th. You know, Aligre, Trousseau, Ledru Rollin, Paul Bert… I love the feeling when I walk in the streets of this area. It is like a village. Everybody knows each other, and it is a family oriented neighborhood, with the ‘’promenade verte’’ and a few nice little parks. Lots of the good, new trendy restaurants are in this area, Rino for instance. Even if it is becoming very BOBO, it is, still, in many ways a popular area. But I leave and work in Montmartre, and I love every part of that, too.
La Table d’Eugene (rue Eugene Sue in the 18th, Metro Jules Joffrin). The restaurant is small and the kitchen ridiculously small. He deserves an award just to be able to get such awesome food out of that kitchen. The food is good, not pricey. What I like is that the Chef creates modern cuisine with a traditional twist. The seasonal menu changes all the time and is always made with the freshest ingredients. It’s a great price value for the food. This is a restaurant that deserves one Michelin star for the food but, because they choose such a small place and to have no tablecloth, the red book keeps ignoring them.
Azabu on rue Mazet, Paris 6th. I have never been to Japan, but I love Japanese food. I learned in the US how to understand and enjoy Japanese food at places like Morimoto in Philadelphia and Nobu in New York. In Paris, good Japanese food is rare. Azabu has a very French approach to Japanese food, but the result is great. The food is expensive, and it has to be. You just cannot make great Japanese food with average quality ingredients. You need to reserve, and try to be on the ground floor facing the grill to enjoy watching the Chef playing with your food.
La Pizza De Loretta in the 9th. I love the pizza by the weight, it’s very tasty. It feels like Rome. A little bit pricey for pizza, but worth it. They also have a short but good Italian wine selection.
La Grande Epicerie at Bon Marche. There’s nothing original there, but the place is great. Lots of food from everywhere in the world. Lots of different pasta shapes and candies. I go there sometimes just to get some inspiration… they have more than 30 kinds of salt! If it was less expensive, I would buy all my food there.
I am not sure I have one. After a few minutes in a department store, I start to yawn like crazy.
Without hesitation, Pierre Marcolini , Rue de Seine Paris 6th. He is the best chocolatier in Paris. The quality is consistent and the flavors are the flavors I like. He uses very dark chocolate and makes small bites. The one I prefer is with the Yuzu filling, even if he is very famous for truffles, I prefer the chocolate with filling. I always like Belgium chocolate more than Swiss chocolate; I believe it is less sweet and maybe the flavor stays in the mouth longer.
I am a cheese addict, I go for cheese almost every day. My favorite cheese shop is Marie Quatre-Hommes they have a store in the 18e, on the rue du Poteau. I’ve built a very good relationship with all the vendors, so I get all the tips about cheeses and they ask me to taste the new arrivals.
Boutique (women’s or men’s)
I am not really a shopper. When I need clothes I go to Printemps. They have it all: cheap, expensive, trendy, boring. If I can’t find what I’m looking for, I cross the street and try Galeries Lafayette. I usually end up buying some stuff at Zara. I like the style or the ‘’no style’’ they offer.
Place for Cocktails
Probably Mama Shelter. I like the mojitos and Martini list they have. They also always have a DJ or some live music, and it is a fun atmosphere. Lots of trendy people around. The last time I went was for brunch, and Vincent Cassel was there. A few months before, again for brunch, Alain Ducasse was there.
Les Trois mailletz, rue Gallande Paris 5th. I discovered this place a long time ago. It’s a cabaret, filled up with lost tourists and some habitués, but everybody is here to have fun. The Piano bar is on the ground floor, but the place to be is underground. It’s a show that you become part of, if you like dancing. The live music is happening in the back of the room and the dancers, singers, entertainers move, dance , and walk on the tables. Keep your glass in your hands and enjoy. I can spend hours there before I realize it’s 5 am…
I recently discovered Café Pouchkine — I like it a lot. Conticini and Hermé make me happy, too, when I need some sugar in my blood. A great éclair au café from La Maison du Chocolat can also do the job. For bread, Le Grenier a Pain does a ‘’ pain de trois’’ that I think is very, very good. Au Pain d’Antan on rue Ramey in the 18th does also a great job — their pain au Noix for the cheese is to die for.
Parc Monceau is quiet enough to read a book and to have a picnic, if the weather permits it. I will also go to the Café Garden at the Petit Palais for a quiet tea in the afternoon.
I am currently studying Histoire de l’art at l’Ecole du Louvre. I try to see every expo that comes to Paris, but just walking through a museum makes my day. Obviously, Paris is full of cultural experiences of all kinds.
Day Trip from Paris
Lets go to Versailles! The food market is really nice, probably the best one in and around Paris. After the market visit, stop for lunch at Zin’s (125 rue Yves Le Coz F – 78000 Versailles), and then go for a walk in the park. I also like to go to Provins, a small medieval village full of antique boutiques and small cafés.