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Issue 34: A Chocolate Themed Walk Through the 2nd Arrondissement of Paris
In case you are in Paris, or wish you were at this moment, here is a little hot chocolate themed walk through the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. No need to pack anything except an empty stomach and a full wallet.
Start at Les Halles, a huge shopping centre in the centre of the city that is also where most of the metros have stops. Look up and admire Eglise Saint Eustache. Just outside of it there is a famous statue called L’Ecoute by Henri de Miller 1986 of a large human head which is worth a ponder. On certain days, this area is a market with lots of stalls, including a few selling big blocks of chocolate. Avoid these, please. Save yourself. There is better coming. Rue Montmartre turns into a farmers market on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Take the road next to it, Rue Montorgueil. Soon after you start walking up, you will pass Charles Chocolatier, a family run chocolate shop founded in 1910 that makes their chocolates using traditional recipes. I reviewed their hot chocolate back in 2013 (click here to read it, doesn’t look like it has changed!).
Keep walking up. If you haven’t eaten yet, there are so many options on this road. Al Boustan is a quick Lebanese bite. L’Escargot Montorgeuil is a very famous, historic French bistro that offers snails (which if you haven’t tried, you must). Cross Rue Etienne Marcel and continue up Montorgeuil for even more busy terraces and great food.
Your first stop, before or after lunch, is Fou de Patisserie. So, imagine this, you have made a list of all of the famous chocolatiers and pastry chefs and their signature desserts that you just have to try. You look at your schedule and realise that you will never get to them all. No need to worry, that is what Fou de Patisserie is for. They carry desserts from all of the famous pastry chefs around town, all in one place. You also need to stop at Stohrer just next door, a pastry shop founded in 1730 that is famous for their Baba au Rhum. No chocolate, but lots of rum, which is good too. GROM, a little further up sells incredible ice cream but also has some good hot chocolate. Just after GROM, turn left on Rue Leopold Bellan. I once went to visit an apartment on this street to rent. It has no bathroom and no windows, but I considered it because of the location. Luckily, I found something better at the time!
Continue on Rue Leopold Bellan until you reach Rue Montmartre and turn right. Continue to Librarie Gourmande; a bookstore entirely dedicated to books on food. Yes, that’s right, only food. Once you have spent a small fortune here, keep walking up the road until you reach L’Éclair de Genie Cafe. They are famous for their eclairs so buy one (at least) and order a hot chocolate. I had one with salted whip cream which was really nice but they often have, depending on the seasons, others more innovative options. Click here to read the full review.
When you are done, you are ready for the highlight of your walk. Plaq. Turn right on Rue Reamur and walk until you reach Rue des Petits Carreaux on the left side of the street. Turn up and then take the first right down Rue du Nil. There are a few beautiful food stores, one of which is Chocolate Maker Plaq. Plaq not only makes its chocolate from bean to bar, using sustainably sourced beans from around the world, but they turn these into irresistible chocolate desserts and, of course, hot chocolate. Click here to read the full review.
Retrace your steps back to Rue des Petits Carreaux, turn right and walk up until it turns into Rue Poissoniere and turn left on Rue des Jeuneurs. You can take a little detour and continue up Rue Poissoniere do the Choco Story Paris, a chocolate museum. If not, continue along Rue des Jeuneurs to Rrraw. I didn’t enjoy this hot chocolate, but I would recommend a poke around and to try some of the samples to see the difference in flavour with the chocolate you just had at Plaq and raw chocolate. Click here to read the full review (and mini raw chocolate rant).
Continue along the road until you reach Rue Montmatre again and walk up to Bd Montmatre. Turn left and continue along the road until you reach Lafayette Department Store on the right and the Opera Palais Garnier on the left. Continue on, crossing the road and just past the Opera is Galleria Lafayette Gourmet Food store. Inside there is a whole area devoted just to chocolate, not supermarket chocolate, high quality chocolate makers or chocolatiers. Here you can drool over Jean-Paul Hevin, Alain Ducasse and many other famous French chocolatiers. There is also a stand selling (and giving out samples) of Valhrona chocolate, a very well known couverture chocolate company that is used by many chocolatiers.
Believe it or not, there is even more chocolate stops you could make on this walk. Paris is one giant chocolate shop if that is what you are looking for, but this should definitely get you started. If you want more, you can walk up to A La Mere de Famille on 33 Rue du Faubourg, a very famous French treat shop in a beautiful building. From here turn left onto Rue du Faubourg and keep walking until you reach Rue des Martyrs. This street has many chocolatiers including Alain Ducasse (who is also a chocolate maker) and Maison Le Roux (famous for his caramels). Once you get here, you might as well keep going up and turn right on Av. Trudaine and then continue onto Rue de Dunkerque to visit Ara Chocolat, one of my favourite chocolate makers. Stay here for a while, take in the smells, chat with the makers, spend the rest of your money and then continue along the road until you reach Gare du Nord. From here you can easily take a metro back to Les Halles where you started…or walk it because you are likely to find even more chocolate shops on the way back.
OR…you can keep going all the way to Montmatre and visit Kosak, a great little shop selling craft chocolate from around the world. So many options:)
If you want to see where all of these hot chocolates are, I have been working on adding all of my reviews to country maps. The France map is still a work in progress but you can check out the progress by clicking the map below.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
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