Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.
There is no question that Paris is one of the great food cities in the world, and most foodies are in seventh heaven when they visit. If food shopping is an art, then the grand gourmet shops would be the art galleries. Two world famous ones and one not so well known to visitors top my list of the best gourmet shops in Paris.
Fauchon is undoubtedly the most famous food shop in Paris. Located on the Place Madeleine near the Opera, its two dazzling storefronts dominate the square. One shop houses its elaborate, sophisticated take-out food with every dish imaginable, from pate en croute to pot au feu in a mini-cast iron pot (you get to keep the pot), to an éclair with Mona Lisa’s eyes etched across it. The extra-added bonus is that if you want instant gratification and can’t wait to take the delectable dishes home, you can sit at one of their café tables to pig out on your selection.
Perpendicular to the take out shop is the slick packaged goods and confectionary boutique. Shelves lined with chocolates, butter cookies, biscuits, teas, jams, and coffees all have the instantly recognizable signature hot pink Fauchon packaging with block letters.
26 Place Madeleine, 8th arr.
Tel. 01 40 07 00 82
Across the square is Fauchon’s main rival Hediard. Not as flashy, Hediard is more of an upscale grocery, featuring fresh produce of the most pristine quality, select cheeses mostly from France, a large selection of exotic glazed fruits, a formidable wine cellar, boulangerie, and patisserie. If you are a tea lover, you are in luck: Hediard carries an incredible selection of teas from China and India. Their packaged goods make great gifts and their signature packaging is handsome red with black stripes.
21 Place Madeleine, 8th. arr.
Tel. 01 43 12 88 88
La Grande Epicerie
On the rive gauche, La Grande Epicerie is the food department of the chic specialty shop Le Bon Marche. Surprisingly, Le Bon Marche doesn’t get many tourists, with 80 percent of it sales coming from their surrounding neighborhoods of the tony sixth and seventh arrondissement. Most locals consider it their neighborhood market. But what a market! When you enter you are assailed by the most decadent selection of cakes and pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat. As you peruse the aisles your eyes will bulge and your mouth will water from the extensive selection of pastas, mustards, cheeses, wine, yogurts, chocolates, meats, poultry, produce, and over 50 kinds of bottled water including an Evian bottle designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.
La Grande Epicerie
The prepared foods department is unrivaled with over fifteen sections including French, Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine.
38 rue de Sevres, 7th arr.
Tel. 01 44 39 81 00
If you are hungry for Paris do not miss these delectable stores under any circumstances.