Paris - it's been a dream destination for me (for quite some time) and how can it not be? It's a foodie mecca. What I loved about visiting many speciality food shops and open air markets is how much love, creativity and pride oozes out of each creation. The storefronts alone are mini museums, displaying their crowned jewels of culinary perfection.
Of course, Paris isn't exactly the new kid on the block, every major city in the world takes it cue from the French when it comes to food and drink. For example, Patisserie Stroher is the oldest storefront patisserie in Paris (it's 281 years old and she looks good for her age). On one side of the store you can find every sweet delight and on the other, the savory treats beckon your taste buds.
Pierre Herme, macaron king, is a place not to be missed. Extraordinary chocolates, speciality desserts, and above all else, the macarons. A small, sleek shop, it was packed with those suffering from a bout of sweet-tooth. You know what I'm talking about. The presentation is a work of art. Picasso eat your heart out.
La Maison du Chocolat (The House of Chocolate) is another worthwhile indulgence, chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Studded in bronze, deep chocolate brown, and creams, this store looks good enough to eat. I indulged in a box of their chocolate macarons and brought home several chocolate bars for those late-nights.
Poilane is one of Paris' finest boulangeries. In fact, Karen, from McCalls Meat & Fish Co. recently pointed out to me, that there are some photos of Poilane in the book My Life In France (a fabulous foodie read all about Julia Child's experience living in France and later intertwined into the film Julie & Julia). I bought a croissant here and a pain au chocolat for later. I am convinced that croissants are the epitome of happiness woven together with butter.
La Grande Epicerie is the specialty grocery store across from Le Bon Marche in St. Germain. It's the kind of experience that beckons you to deter yourself from ever shopping in a regular grocery store ever again. It's like Whole Foods on an Hermes level, but better. I was so overwhelmed with all the goodness here that I managed to forget the semi-snobbish attitudes of the cashiers (aside from the cashiers everyone else at the store was lovely).
E. Dehillerin was a lovely cookware store near O Chateau where I attended a wine and cheese tasting. Julia Childs used to shop at this tiny shop for all of her tools and other culinary accoutrements. And the guys who worked here were so friendly, helpful and overly excited about my tattoos. I went here with something very specific in mind to purchase, these top notch hermetically sealed food storage containers (will keep foods fresh for days longer).
P.S. - Many of these specialty shops were recommended in Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris, a must-have foodie destination guide should you find yourself hungry in Paris.