Monday, 18 May 2009

G. Detou - amazing old school cornucopia of yummy

Sometimes it seems like there's nothing of the old Paris left any more. Not more rude waiters, no grumpy shop assistants who don't speak a word of English, no men with black berets and strings of onions round their necks (er, there never were any).

However - as they say - Paree serrah too-jaaw Paree, and some things never change. G. Detou is one of those things. The name is a rather corny play on words (pronounced "J'ai de tout", meaning "We've got it all") and it's one of those places that once inside you just want to buy one of everything.

It's row after shelf after stack after pile of colourful boxes, packets and bottles with swirly writing and enticing ingredients and frankly, there aren't many places like it left in Paris.

Want authentic mustards, chutney, spices, truffle-flavoured oils? Here they are...

Flavoured oils? They've got a stack of 'em.

Tinned foie gras, confit de porc, sauté de canard ? Yep.

Dragées in every imaginable colour, delicious almond calissons or the most eccentric, delicately boxed cake decorations? They're here too...

Basically, they have everything your sugary or savoury stomach could wish for. But it's not just the products: the place is a step back in time, when packaging was colourful and elegant instead of buy me buy me buy me, when real products with heady tastes were made by family-run businesses. For someone visiting Paris, someone who likes their food, this place will make you go wild. And it's only five minutes from the apartment! Champagne!

You can check out the rest of our photos of the place here on Flickr. Walking directions are below. Of course they don't have anything so new-fangled as a website, but they're at 58 rue Tiquetonne and their oldschool opening hours are 8.30am - 6.30pm every day except Sundays.

Bigger map here

Friday, 8 May 2009

Our nearest (secret) park

You probably wouldn't find the Anne Frank Garden if you didn't know where it is. Hidden down what looks like a cobbled dead end, it's pretty new (opened in 2007) and rather wonderful.

You know the apartment's two minutes form the Pompidou Centre, right? Lord knows we keep hammering you over the head with it. Anyway, the Jardin Anne Frank is just at the corner of the Pompidou Centre too, although I challenge anyone to find it without having an in-depth, recent guide of the city. Even most Parisians don't know where it is!

At the top right corner of the Pompidou Centre you can see a crossroads, and just above that is Impasse Berthaud. Also home to the, er, doll museum, this is your way in to over 4,000m² of greenery split into three distinct areas: a cobbled entrance with flower beds (including a tree planted in memory of Anne Frank), a formal garden that will be great... once the plants have grown over the covered walkway on one side, and finally (our favourite) a grassy enclosed area that really gets the sun, with a kids play area and small market garden.

As we happen to be at the apartment fairly frequently (for things like check-in, check-out, upkeep, etc.) this is our favourite place in the area to go and eat a picnic lunch (from nearby cupcake shop Berko, for example) and a haven of piece, as it's surrounded by high walls and buildings on all sides. It also backs onto the Museum of Jewish Art and History, a beautiful building that I must visit soon.

You can find where the park is on our new Google Map (honestly, it's amazing) that shows the location of all the stuff noted on the blog. Click here to have a look.

More photos in the Flickr gallery here.