Visitors flock to Paris for a variety of reasons, but la gastronomie is usually among the top priorities. As luxurious as it is to enjoy a traditional French petit déjeuner at a sidewalk café or a romantic late-night candlelit dinner, and to gape at the artful mouthwatering displays at the city’s many pâtisseries, the fun needn’t stop once your Parisian vacation is over. With a little spare room in your suitcase and a visit to the cookware shops in Paris that real chefs frequent, you can be well on your way to re-creating that special French cuisine at home.
Located in the 1st Arrondissement, in central Paris, just north of les Halles, is a gourmet’s paradise. Déco’relief, on the rue Montmartre, has everything you need for whipping up chocolate and sugary confections, including molds, essences, food coloring and cake decorations. Farther up the street, Mora and La Bovida, two wonderful cookware shops, offers high-quality cooking equipment for both pastry and cuisine at reasonable prices. Here you can stock up on madeleine pans and other specialized bakeware that can be pricey and difficult to come by outside France. Both also carry chef’s pants and jackets so you can feel like a pro in your kitchen at home.
Around the corner on the rue Tiqetonne, G. Detou is the one-stop shop for specialty ingredients. Pastry enthusiasts can find praliné, the caramelized almond and hazelnut paste found in the famous Paris-Brest; nappage, the apricot-based glaze that gives tarts their sheen; and sacks of ground almonds, one of the key ingredients in macarons. The savory selection is just as big, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for on the shelves, just ask an employee to check the vast stockroom in the back.
Although you can probably find most utensils elsewhere for less, it’s worth taking a step inside the ancient, gloomy storefront of E. Dehillerin. For nearly two centuries the shop has provided professionals with cookware and chef’s tools. Laypersons might be put off by the lack of visible prices (instead they must be looked up based on each product’s unique number), but it’s still fun just to browse. Where else can you see floor-to-ceiling shelves of pans, molds, tart rings and other bizarre-looking utensils? Make sure to head down to the basement to check out the selection of pots so big they could double as bathtubs.
Tired shoppers can head over to the rue Montorgueil and take respite in one of many brasseries, or get a snack to go from the market or a pastry shop. (Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in Paris and home of the best chocolate éclair in the city, is located here.)
Outside this foodie oasis in central Paris, the modest Coin-Cuisine, in the 15th Arrondissement, offers some of the best prices on basic cooking and baking utensils. The ingredient inventory is limited, but aspiring cooks can sign up for a rotating roster of weekly Saturday classes.
6, rue Montmartre, in the 1st Arrondissement. 01 44 82 97 57.
13, rue Montmartre, in the 1st. 01 45 08 19 24.
36, rue Montmartre, in the 1st. 01 42 36 09 99.
58, rue Tiquetonne, in the 2nd. 01 42 33 96 43.
18, rue Coquillière, in the 1st. 01 42 36 53 13.
110, rue du Théâtre, in the 15th. 01 45 79 01 40.