savoring the sweet: poilâne: rue du cherche-midi, paris

The past few days I’ve been a bit of a lunatic, a food madwoman if you will. Before I left for Paris I printed pages of recommendations by Arrondissement. Boulangeries to visit in the morning when the city is quiet and the air is crisp. Patisseries worthy of their queue, artisanal chocolatiers spinning pools of dark chocolate into something crisp, luscious and magical, bistros where one could lounge for days — I’ve collected a dizzying list of friend-approved recommendations, and I’ve taken to Paris by foot (and metro when my legs can no longer bear it) to sample as much pastry as I can before I go into sugar shock.

Before we get romantic about pastry, let’s recount my day, shall we? Rain is pretty romantic (all trés jolie, etc) when you are safely tucked away in your hotel room — not when you’re carrying the crap umbrella you should have burned in New York while battling a rainstorm at nine in the morning. After experiencing a thorough soak, I ran to the nearest metro and took the train to the Louvre, where I remained for the next three hours. After exploring rooms of Byzantine and Renaissance paintings, and enduring the ubiquitous mayhem over the Mona Lisa and Nike Samothrace, I left as soon as the storm abated. Considering I had inhaled 1.5 chocolate almond croissant pastries for breakfast, I decided to walk the seven miles back to Bastille (with a quick pit-stop at the Eiffel Tower). On my way back, I decided to make the trek to Morange’s Le Fournil de Mouffetard — for my friend told me that she would SHOOT ME IN THE FACE (my words, she was much more diplomatic) if I didn’t procure one of the best croissants in Paris — to find the joint CLOSED. At this point it’s 3:30 and all I’ve had to eat were said croissants, 1/2 a baguette and Starbucks.


Possibly I was possessed because I jumped on yet another metro and ended up in the lovely (and very chic) Rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th arrondissement in search of Poilâne — home to the world’s finest sourdough bread, as well as fantastic butter cookies, apple croissants and turnovers. As always, David Lebovitz has the whole scoop about the shop, which was a pleasure to read and made me appreciate the artisanship behind this famed spot. I did manage to have a slice of bread (divine!), and snarfed a warm tarte aux pommes (apple tart) shamelessly in the middle of the street. Believe me when I say that I’m holding my remaining pastries for the morning. One can only try.

As said by many, Poilâne’s proprietors are warm and effusive. Not only did they encourage me to sample loads of buttery cookies (you’ll want them a little burnt on the bottom as the flavor resembles browned butter and WHO REFUSES BROWN BUTTER), they pointed me to cafes in the area where I can savor them with a cup of coffee. Little did they know that I wouldn’t make it. I was too weak. I had to eat the delicious, buttery pastries a few feet away.

We’re not going to discuss the fact that whilst strolling the streets of the 6th, I encountered Celine. WE’RE NOT GOING TO DISCUSS THIS. We’re not also going to discuss the fact that when I got back back to my hotel, I asked room service for PROTEIN. And then wondered if cheese was a protein. This is what happens when you have a day of SUGAR.

I adore, adore, adore Paris but I am longing for some hearty KALE.


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