Breakfast by the Canal St. Martin

4 July 2012

For six years I’ve lived in the 11th arrondissement, right on the border of the 10th. When I first moved to Paris, these areas were relatively untouched by tourists. Visitors would go as far as the Bastille and maybe venture to the rue Oberkampf for a taste of its vibrant but less polished nightlife but the 10th arrondissement was rougher and far from being emblematic enough to compete with the city’s refined storybook image.  Now, both neighborhoods are products of stark and rapid gentrification which means that formerly forlorn buildings, cafés, dive bars and shops have largely been supplanted by artsy boutiques, trendy bars and coveted al fresco eateries. In a trajectory that arguably rivals Williamsburg (Brooklyn), the area along and around the Canal St. Martin, specifically, has experienced tremendous transformation, commanding more attention among travelers and locals alike than ever before.  Picnics and strolls are still de rigueur in these parts but it’s the morning meal in particular that has earned the hotspot its gold stars over the last year. Helmut Newcake (Paris’s first entirely gluten-free bakery and salon de thé), Le Sésame, La Chambre aux Oiseaux, Du Pain et des Idées (one of my longtime top picks) and Les Enfants […]…

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Paris Bakery: Du Pain et Des Idées

6 December 2011

There are certain memories that feel like they belong to someone else. Memories so distant you can’t be sure if they really happened or if they’re merely a construction of your imagination, created to fill a void. When I was a kid, my family and I would spend summers in Avalon, NJ (far from being Biarritz, I admit). I can barely remember what it looked like, where we stayed or how much trouble I might have gotten myself into but I do remember the danishes. Before I ever introduced my taste buds to croissants they knew cheese danishes. If memory serves me correctly, my father and I would head to the local (and perhaps sole) bakery to pick up a bagful of varied danishes for breakfast- cheese, fruit, or the cinnamon snegle, Danish for snails. We even braved the early morning torrential rain showers to retrieve them. By the time we sprinted to and from the bakery, we deserved those pastries. The second we walked in the door of our seaside home, I would snatch the cheese danish out of the bag followed by a second round with a snegle. No surprise, then, that one of the French pastries I […]…

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