Musings on the most important lesson I learned in Paris

It’s been almost four months since my rendezvous abroad came to an end. As time begins to fade my once vivid memories of street names, metro stops and experiences, there’s one thing I took from Paris that will always stay with me.

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Life Lately

From the looks of Instagram, it’s probably been a little hard to tell where I’ve been. With moving back to DC and simultaneously having the nostalgia of Portland and Paris on my mind, it looks as if I’ve somehow figured out the art of time travel. I assure you, I have not. And if I ever do… don’t worry. You’d surely be the first to know. I still have so much to share from Paris and Portland, so stay tuned.

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1// Returning to DC after 15 months away      2// Cupcake ATM? Yes, please.      3// Coffee bar lovin’      4// Remedying my coffee shop hiatus      5// Mint green + cafe creme = happy me      6// I’m such a sucker for some unexpected street art       7// Portland vibes are always my favorite       8// My bestie (and the person who taught me to love coffee) visited Paris, inspiring me to write up a guide to my favorite coffee shops in Paris       9// Flower carts are always a mood booster. Always. 

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J’Adore Paris // a guide to coffee

There’s a myth that good coffee doesn’t exist in Paris. But I think that’s just Paris haters’ way of justifying their hate for one of the most incredible cities in the world. I found the Paris coffee scene to be vibrant and unique, with each shop boasting diverse expertises and qualities. Since we all know a coffee shop is much more than just a good cup of joe, these are my eight favorites that combine great coffee and an unbeatable ambiance.


For the perfect mid-morning coffee date spot, go to

the broken arm

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If you want great coffee AND great food, go to 

Café Oberkampf

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If you want to be transported to another coffee world, go to 

Honor Coffee

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To keep up with the Instagram coffee scene, go to 

Café Kitsuné

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For a guaranteed seat with wifi & delicious coffee, go to 

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If you want to learn about coffee, go to 

Coutume Café

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For the friendliest staff, go to

Le Peloton

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For the perfect Instagram moment, go to

Ob-La-Di

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Do you have a favorite coffee shop in Paris? I’m always looking for more!

What makes you love a coffee shop? Is it just good coffee or the ambiance as well?

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J’adore Paris // a guide to croissants

When it comes to croissants, I am quite the connoisseur. Remember my food philosophy where I shared that I start every morning with either a croissant or pain au chocolat? Yep, that’s still a thing. Since they bring me so much joy, I thought I would set out on a journey to find the best ones (and by comparison, worst) in the city. From the Instagram loved to random little stumble upons, here I share a little insight into all things croissants. But just remember there are four takeaway points:

  1. Never pay more than 1.20 for a croissant
  2. The more butter, the better
  3. If the croissant doesn’t look great, go for the pain au chocolat. They’re harder to mess up
  4. NOT ALL CROISSANTS ARE MADE EQUALLY

So, shall we?


 

// Des Gâteaux et du Pain

First things first: I expected big things walking up as the exterior is pretty sleek. Like so sleek that you kind of question yourself when you walk in. Why so fancy for a croissant?!

Description: Upon first glance, the croissant fit the bill. The outside was a beautiful golden brown. You could see layers upon layers of dough and it also looked nice and robust aka that croissant was about to be very light and airy on the inside. WINNING. But, then I tore off the end piece and it was dry AF. Knowing that sometimes that happens, I continued on in ignorant bliss. The rest of the croissant was pretty good. Flaky on the outside and rather light on the inside, just the way I like it. But there were two areas for improvement: 1) You can’t have dry ends. 2) Um, WHERE WAS THE BUTTER? While this might be specific to me, I like a lot of butter for my croissant. Like the type where it seeps through the bag that it comes in.

All in all: It was pretty good. Not the best, not the worst.

Would I go back? Nope. I hated the area it was in and it was just okay. I’ve had better from places that aren’t as out of the way to get to.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Location: 63 bd Pasteur, 75015 Paris (Metro: Pasteur)

Price: 1.50

// Liberté

First things first: I’ve walked by this place a bunch of times as it’s painstakingly close to Holybelly (which I have been to more times than is acceptable to admit in four months). Since I usually go to Holybelly on Sundays (#sundaybrunch anyone?), I walk by Liberté every time to wait at Canal Saint Martin. But as Liberté is closed on Sundays, I’ve never stopped by until now.

Description: The setup at this spot is pretty impressive. Gorgeous displays of artisan breads and fancy Parisian desserts adorn the counters and make your mouth water as you wait in line. But I’m always there for one thing and one thing only: croissants. But whenever I’m in a situation where the croissant looks subpar, I change my game plan and go for a pain au chocolat and this was the case here. The croissant looks dry and stale… but to be honest, the pain au chocolat didn’t look much better. But in the name of research, I gave it the good ‘ol college try. Sadly, my assumption was correct. It was the worst pain au chocolat I’ve ever had. Stale, stiff and extremely dry. There was a lack of butter too which even caused me to consider if I should finish it or just throw it away. 

All in all: This place is super cute, but the pastries are lacking which is a shame. It was dissapointing to say the least and there was not one redeeming factor about that pain au chocolat. 

Would I go back? Absolutely not 

Rating: 0.5/10

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Location: 39 rue des Vinaigriers 75010 Paris (Metro: Jacques Bonsergent)

Price: 1.20

// Blé Sucré

First things first: One of my friends had done a croissant hunt before I did (Hi, Raquel!) and she informed me that this was her absolute favorite. Since it was in an area that I frequented, I popped in one day and boy let me tell you, she wasn’t wrong. But then again, you know those friends that are always right about food? That’s her. I should have known! This place is also very critically acclaimed, with the New York Times and Bon Appetit on its list of lovers.

Description: First of all, this thing is huuugggeee. And luckily, when it comes to croissants, bigger is definitely better. This croissant has the perfect lightness to it while remaining crispy on the outside. With each bite, you get a crunch followed by buttery, lightweight goodness that basically melts in your mouth.

All in all: While it’s not my favorite croissant (re: the last one on this list), this one comes in an easy second. And since this location is rather simple to get to (Bastille), it’s worth stopping in and trying one (and a pain au chocolat and a sandwich on a baguette… drooling thinking of it all). (Just make sure to bring cash because there’s a card minimum)

Would I go back? Absolutely.

Rating: 9/10

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Location: 7 rue Antoine Vollon 75012 Paris (Metro: Ledru Rollin)

Price: 1.20

// Du Pain et des Idees

First things first: My friend led me on to this place, explaining that multiple people had told her that this spot has the best croissants and pain au chocolats in all of Paris. Intrigued, I came into trying these croissants with big expectations.

Description: Similarly to Liberté, the croissants (although they’re hugely loved) didn’t look great to me. I usually don’t like the kinds that are shaped like knots, so I was wary of this from the start. We decided to go for pain au chocolats instead and were met with potentially the weirdest pain au chocolat of my life. The top, which was nice and flaky, tasted like caramelized sugar, which was an unexpected surprise. But as you moved through the croissant, coming into the layers, it became dry and lacked any sense of butter or moisture.

All in all: While I did enjoy it, perhaps because of the caramelized sugar top, it left me feeling a bit confused. It was by no means bad, but I’m not sure it lived up to the ideal of being the best in the city (or even in my top 3)… especially for the steep price!

Would I go back? Maybe… now I’m curious to try the croissant.

Rating: 6/10

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Location: 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris (Metro: Jacques Bonsergent)

Price: 1.60 (woah)

// Boulangerie Bunelle

First things first: I’m pretty sure this is the one and only time this boulangerie will be named on any list for best croissants. Mainly because it’s pretty nondescript… and it happens to be right across from my house in the 16th (aka kind of a trip to get to). But, I’m not joking when I say that I rave about this place to basically everyone I meet. I can try all the fancy places that are critically acclaimed and much loved, but every time I leave saying, “my bakery is better.” Yep, I’ve claimed it as mine. I mean, they do know my morning order and name after all. Ha!

Description: I will put a slight disclaimer. The croissants are not always amazing. I’m convinced they have two different recipes to switch things up, and there is one that’s way better than the other. You’ll know because it looks like the one below. When you strike gold on this one, it’s the most buttery, flaky, gooey on the inside piece of goodness you’ll ever eat.

All in all: This will be the thing I miss most about Paris: croissants and pain au chocolats (and eclairs for that matter) from Boulangerie Bunelle. They’ve mastered the art, and I promise it’s worth the trek to the bottom of the 16th!

Would I go back? DUH. This is my favorite boulangerie in all of Paris and while I find it comical that it is literally across the street from my house (how did I get so lucky?!), I just see it as a sign from the croissant Gods. I lived in Paris for 125 days, and I’m not joking when I say I probably went to this place 90 times (impressive as there were 27 days I physically couldn’t go since it was closed or I was out of town). After all, when I order my usual, the lady replies with, “C’est habituelle” (The usual)

Rating: 1,000/10

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Location: 34 Boulevard Exelmans, 75116 Paris

Price: 1.10

Do you have a favorite croissant in Paris? I’m always looking for more!

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