dining Archives - Paris with Scott
Where to Find Unique Gifts in Paris – All Under One Gorgeous Roof

Where to Find Unique Gifts in Paris – All Under One Gorgeous Roof

Have you been to the Grands Magasins of Paris?  No?  What about one of the huge department stores in Manhattan or in your local mall?  The ones you have seen are big aren’t they?  But, really, really big?

Big is an Understatement

Galeries Lafayette Atrium

Saks Fifth Avenue is big.  Bergdorf Goodman is luxe.  Barney’s is cutting edge.  But, you cannot imagine the spread of the Grands Magasins.  All of the New York stores combined into one do not equal the sheer enormity of either Printemps or Galeries Lafayette.  These are the two, true Grands Magasins of Paris.  And they have food too!

Imagine one of the incredible department stores that you know, then supersize it – twice or three times.  Next, add haute couture names from the best in the fashion world, plus everything you can imagine from a regular department store.  Add in food in all variations.  And there you have it – one of the Grands Magasins.  All under one roof (or three, as the case may be).   As a bonus, the Grands Magasins are next door to each other (and behind the Palais Garnier).  Convenient, eh?

Galeries Lafayette

 

What is Inside the Grands Magasins

Housewares – floors full
Kitchen – great souvenirs in the tea towel section and utensils section
Bedding – anything you can imagine
Men’s – of course
Women’s – can’t have a department store without it
Shoes – for acres
Food – pantry items to prepared gourmet take home
Restaurants – from sandwiches where they slice the aged ham off the bone to a Petrossian caviar and Champagne restaurant right by the atrium in Galeries Lafayette.  And, everything in between.  In Printemps du Goût, we stopped at Byzance for a beautiful smoked salmon baguette sandwich that we enjoyed while looking over the rooftops and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.  Not too shabby!
Grocery – like a super high end grocery store with butchers and fish mongers who can answer any question you have about the product or how to prepare it
Wine and Liquor – tremendous wine selections, rooms of Champagne, spirits of all kinds

Galeries Lafayette Wall Diagram

Thinking of food and drink, Printemps recently opened two new floors of gourmet food halls, Printemps du Goût.  One floor even has a great gift section appropriately named, “Le Cadeau” (“gift” in English).  Shelves of perfectly sized gems for gift giving.  (Just ignore my advice on not really taking jarred and canned things back and get a few for family and friends back home if you dare.)  Galeries Lafayette has amazing food halls, too.  Luxurious, insane, deliciousness waiting for your watering mouth.

Printemps cadeau

Perfect size for gifts.

Fashion at the Grands Magasins

And, are you looking for the most exclusive names because you are a fashionista?  I bet you have never heard of all of the luxury brands encircling the atrium beneath the fabulous multi-colored dome of Galeries Lafayette.  The same with Printemps in an entire building dedicated to women’s wear.  Printemps also has a dome, but it covers a brasserie where, once you are done shopping, you can relax under beautifully filtered light.

Galeries Lafayette Bons Bons Maquillage

Who knew you could get chocolate bons bons in a make up format?

With all that is on offer, it is hard to imagine that any store can be as magnificent as the Grands Magasins.  Just walking around for an hour to browse and getting a snack (or two) can be overwhelming.  And, you cannot make it through the Grands Magasins in a day – or maybe even a week.  They are simply over the top, and at the same time, a must visit.  Obviously visitors from all over the world feel the same way.  You can see any nationality shopping, and the Grands Magasins have sales people who speak practically every language.  The diversity is amazing.

View From on High

View from terrace of Galeries Lafayette

View from the terrace of Galeries Lafayette of the Palais Garnier.

Whatever you do, shop or not, do not miss the view from the top of one of these Grands Magasins.  The view is worth every penny you don’t pay to go shopping.  Expanses over the rooftops at a height that makes Paris seem to stretch out forever at your feet.

Galeries Lafayette Sign to the Terrace

Keep going up!

A Couple of Notes on Visiting the Grands Magasins

– Expect your bags to be checked by security when you walk in the doors of each store.
– Do not bring suitcases with you.
– Galeries Lafayette will soon open another location in a huge historic building on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées
– Thinking of eating during a shopping trip?  Be prepared to be overwhelmed; there are lots of choices and lots of competition for seats
– Practice a few key menu terms before you go
– At the restaurants, pay attention to the details – yes, they have “hairnets,” but they are stylish
– Galleries Lafayette even has an RER entrance into the men’s department
– Check out this warning – and admonition to get your body moving – from the Printemps website:

ALCOHOL ABUSE IS DANGEROUS FOR THE HEALTH. CONSUME WITH MODERATION.
FOR YOUR HEALTH, PRACTICE REGULARLY PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES.

View from Printemps Food Halls

Not a bad place to enjoy a smoked salmon baguette sandwich!

Galeries Lafayette – Paris Haussmann
40 boulevard Haussmann
75009

Printemps – Paris Haussmann
64, Boulevard Haussmann
75009

Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Cooking and enjoying a Parisian bistro-style meal is a great way to get in the spirit of visiting Paris.  With a little planning, it can be an easy weeknight event.  Or, invite some friends and make it a weekend dinner for family and friends.  Either way, it will transport you to Paris – even if just for the evening.

These Parisian recipes are pretty simple with ingredients that can be purchased in nearly any local grocery store.  Do not worry if it doesn’t come out perfect.  My cooking always seems to look lopsided on the plate.  It took me multiple attempts and lots of photos to try to make these dishes look as good as I could.

Three Part Series for Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

There are 3 parts in this series on Parisian recipes.  I always start with dessert.  Then, you will find the appetizer.  Finally, the main course and a couple of sides.

With those 3 courses, it will be a simple, but filling Parisian bistro-style meal.  It should satisfy your yen for French food – right in your own home.

Here is the first in the series.

 

Should you want to know what the French have for a full dinner, the following are the courses and the order.

 

Aperitif (same in English)

Generally a glass of Champagne or a glass of dry white wine, maybe a kir, along with some roasted nuts, assorted olives and a cracker.  Not a cocktail hour, but a settle-in drink while waiting for everyone invited to gather round (or make it to the dinner).

 

Entrée (our appetizer)

This is the first course at the table.  Generally, this will compliment the main course.  So, if you are having fish or seafood for the main course, you may want to have a vegetable tart or onion soup.  If you are having meat for the main course, then choose a fish or seafood appetizer.

 

Plat Principal (main dish)

Obviously, this is the bigger portion of the meal that will include a protein and a side dish or two.  Again, make it work with the appetizer to provide variety during the meal.

 

Salade (salad)

Just like how it sounds, but probably very simple.  Some greens, a light dressing and really that is it.  No need to go crazy with eggs, olives, nuts, dried fruits and all the things we toss together in a salad.

 

Fromage (cheese)

A great thing about Paris is that there are cheese shops all over the place and it is easy to have little tastes of a variety of cheese at the end of a meal.  Like you can imagine, a plate may be presented family style with 3 cheeses.  Maybe some honey, preserved fruits or roasted nuts will be on the side.  Then, you slice off a portion for your plate and pass it around.

 

Dessert (dessert)

Been waiting the whole meal for this?  Well, like over here, some people go all out on extravagant desserts and others are simple and often contain fruit.  The thing about Paris is, pastry stores create beautiful desserts that are wonderful tasting – and you don’t have to make them.  So why not go all out on dessert in Paris?

 

Café (coffee)

At the end, after dessert, coffee will be served.  Often times a small bit of chocolate will be served to accompany the coffee.

By this time, you should be D-O-N-E.  Even without huge portions, this should be a sufficiency.

The recipes here are for an abbreviated version of this full French meal.  Even without all of the courses (let alone all the dishes to wash), this Parisian bistro-style meal will probably satisfy you.