Twelve Hours in Paris

Note: For more Paris recommendations, see this follow-up edition.

My friend Adam has just had what I think is a brilliant idea of a meme, named Twelve Hours in Dot Dot Dot: if you had only twelve hours left to spend in your home city/town/village/oasis, what would you do with them?

Because I lived abroad for a while, I have, on several occasions, spent twelve semi-final hours in Paris, and I admit they usually involved a combination of the following activities: 1) buying several months’ worth of my then-favorite face cream, 2) trying to locate my passport, 3) spending time with people I knew I was going to miss, simply enjoying the normalcy of being in the same time zone.

But I posit cosmetics, traveling documents, and companionable silences weren’t what Adam had in mind for this meme, so I came up with a more suitable — and food-oriented — timetable for my hypothetical last twelve hours in Paris.

It goes without saying that difficult choices were made, and that for every item I included, there were about ten more looking at me with a crestfallen expression. Most of these places are included in my Paris book, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, in which you’ll find many more options to fill however many hours you get to spend in Paris (more info here).

I should also note that I chose to assume these weren’t the last twelve hours before I die, first of all because that would be a little depressing, and also because I worked in a few opportunities to buy things I would want to take with me wherever I was supposed to travel next, and who knows what customs policy they have in the afterlife.

Without further ado, I give you my Twelve Hours in Paris, which I’ve decided would take place on a Thursday, from 12:30pm to 12:30am. And of course, if you want to chime in with your own Twelve Hours in Dot Dot Dot, in the comments section or as a post on your blog, I’ll be curious to read your take!

Note: You’ll find addresses and phone numbers at the bottom of the post, and I’ve created a Google map to help you situate the places I mention.

{12:30pm} I will start with lunch at Rose Bakery. I’ll order their assortment of salads, and eat it with a slice of the Poujauran bread that is served with it. I’ll resist ordering dessert to save my appetite — you’ll understand the wisdom of this soon enough — or perhaps I’ll have them wrap up a slice of orange-polenta cake or a serving of sticky toffee pudding for another day.

{1:15pm} After lunch, I’ll cross the street and get a small cup of ice cream from Caramella, which I’ll eat it while strolling around the neighborhood. [Update: unfortunately, Caramella no longer exists, but there is now a Belgian waffle stand across the street that is just as amazing.]

{1:45pm} I’ll drop by La Ferme Saint-Hubert to say hello — Madame Voy is the sweetest shop owner you’ll ever encounter — and buy a few of their finely aged cheeses (say, a thirty-month-old comté, a reblochon, and a raw milk mothais) that they’ll vacuum-pack for me.

{2:30pm} I will then find a Vélib’ that’s more or less in working order (yeah, good luck with that) and ride toward the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, where I’ll spend a couple of hours walking, getting lost, finding my way again, sitting on a bench, reading, and people-watching. When I’m done with that, I will visit Véronique Mauclerc’s bakery and buy a loaf of organic bread baked in her century-old, woodfire-burning oven.

{5pm} Hopping onto the metro, I will go to La Petite Rose, a pastry shop and salon de thé run by a Japanese woman. I’ll sit down and have a pot of tea (or hot chocolate) with a macaron or two, and I’ll buy some of their chocolates to go. Optionally, I will walk up and down Rue de Lévis to do some food shopping.

{6:30pm} I will then walk towards Lafayette Gourmet, the food section of the Galeries Lafayette department store, where I’ll do a little more food shopping and trend-spotting, and perhaps buy a few gifts for the friends I hope I have wherever it is I’m going next.

{8:30pm} For my last meal in Paris, I will want a simple, homey one and some good wine, so I’ll have dinner at Autour d’un verre, and sample whichever unfiltered wines Kevin, the owner and chef, is most enthusiastic about.

{11pm} And after dinner, I will celebrate in style at the Experimental Cocktail Club, where I’ll have their all-organic cocktail, the Strawberry Alarm Clock.


This Google map will help you situate the places I mention.

Rose Bakery, 46 rue des Martyrs, Paris 9ème, +33 (0)1 42 82 12 80.
La Ferme Saint-Hubert, 36 rue de Rochechouart, Paris 9ème, +33 (0)1 45 53 15 77.
La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc, 83 rue de Crimée, Paris 19ème, +33 (0)1 42 40 64 55.
La Petite Rose, 11 boulevard de Courcelles, Paris 8ème, +33 (0)1 45 22 07 27.
Lafayette Gourmet, 50 boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9ème.
Autour d’un verre, 21 rue de Trévise, Paris 9ème, +33 (0)1 48 24 43 74.
Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 rue Saint-Sauveur, Paris 2ème, +33 (0)1 45 08 88 09.

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