Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Last December, I spent a day in Paris meeting a friend, walking along some of my favorite streets and eating some scrumptious French food.

Who would’ve known that 2020 would mean virtually no travel was possible, and that anyone from the UK would be eventually banned from travelling to France? All thanks to Covid-19.

Even though taking a quick train ride from London to Paris is off the table right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t try to enjoy the best parts of a Parisian get-away from London. During the past few months, I’ve tried to recreate some of my favorite French moments at home.

How to Pretend You’re in Paris While at Home in London

DIY Boulangerie

Start your day off right with a typical French breakfast, which usually involves a tasty treat of carbs and a cup of coffee or tea. I used to buy my croissants from Dominque Ansel’s pastry shop before he closed earlier this year. However, there are plenty of French offerings in London such as Chanteroy in Fulham, Orée in Chelsea, and even the Gail’s bakeries.

Eat French Cheese

I love the cheese shops in Paris! And actually, to be fair, the UK has a pretty damned good selection of cheeses too. But if you’re craving fromage, why not create your own cheese board and throw in some tasty charcuterie as well? Look for brie, camembert, comté and reblochon.

Enjoy a Sweet French Pastry

From time to time at home, I’ll make my own French eclairs or financiers. But if I don’t want to go through all that fuss, I’ll head to Ladurée or Pierre Hermé in Convent Garden or Maitre Choux in South Kensington. 

Shop like a Parisien in London

My favorite place to buy French products is at Le Marché du Quartier at the Borough Market. The options for foie gras are amazing as well as French saucisson and cheeses. Sometimes, I even treat myself to a take-away duck confit sandwich.

Make French Onion Soup from Scratch

Oh la la, how about making your own soupe à l'oignon gratinée? I love this traditional soup, which is based on a homemade beef stock, lots of caramelized onions and topped with cheesy bread. My go-to recipe is this one by Julia Child.

Dine like a Parisien in London

Unfortunately, this option is off the table for now unless you create a French meal at home or find some decent French take-away food. Right after the second lockdown lifted on December 2nd, we made reservations at Coq d’Argent, a fine-dining French restaurant in the city. We booked an outdoor table under the heat lamps so we could dine with a good friend of ours. We took advantage of the special holiday menu – three courses for about £50.

We’ve dined here before, so I couldn’t resist the escargot! I ended up using my fingers to prevent a Julia Robert’s moment. For my main, I had the haunch of wild roe deer, which was cooked to perfection. And for dessert, I chose the traditional bûche de Noël – which was filled with a frozen chestnut and white chocolate parfait. Très bien!

Hopefully, we’ll be able to return to Paris in person in 2021!

Fancy some French tea?
And a snazzy French jewellery store.


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