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The Carboholic GourmandIf you’ve been to Paris you already know that, there are carbs aplenty. From brioches to cakes, baguettes to croissants, pizza to pastry to pasta, it’s all here and few would hesitate to agree that Paris is a carb-oholic paradise. Patisseries and boulangeries dot every block allowing you to take in the mouth-watering scent of fresh-baked baguettes as you pass by or gaze longingly over desserts that look almost too beautiful to eat. Prices for these delicious delicacies vary and some can cost a pretty centime, but if you can stifle your sweet tooth for just a bit longer, you may find that even cheaper slices of heaven are just under your nose. If you’re looking for a cute little place to enjoy a tasty (and inexpensive!) pastry, stop by Un Moment Gourmand (178 Rue Saint-Jacques 75005, Phone: 01 56 24 91 88; Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne or Maubert Mutualité). This trendy eatery is actually a chain, which offers sandwiches, coffee, salads, and of course, pastries (if you like apple turnovers, try their chausson aux pommes)!
With your treat in hand, you can plop down and melt into the bright, colorful furniture and watch the city go by, literally. What makes this shop fresh is not simply the treats that you can sample but the atmosphere. It is airy and lively. There are no real doors or windows so the summer breeze flows freely through the restaurant and the “inside” seamlessly spills onto the sidewalk. It’s the perfect place to relax and recharge before or after a walk. Plus, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Latin Quarter are only steps away, so you’ll definitely need the energy!
If you’re in the mood for pizza or pasta, first, suppress any guilt you have about eating either in Paris and then head over to Pastavino Ristorante in the 6th arrondissement (55 Rue Dauphine; Phone: 01 46 33 93 83; Metro: Odéon or Saint-Michel; Open Monday- Sunday 12pm – 12 am). Honestly, the formules (i.e. prix fixe) should be your first stop when you get the menu and this restaurant has, in my opinion, one of the best. For €14 (for lunch), you can get a huge appetizer -- I nearly mistook it for the main course! -- complete with a salad, a delicious and satisfying entrée (try the Pasta Carbonara!), and a dessert. The staff is attentive and the atmosphere is calm, allowing you to enjoy your lunch or dinner. The restaurant is elegantly decorated; red seats juxtaposed with black walls, twinkling lights and mirrors and, all in all, a fabulous place to dine!
If you’re looking for a different style of pasta and enjoy pad thai or Thai food, in general, and are in the 4th arrondissement, try Thai Classic (26 Rue des Lombards; Phone: 01 48 87 22 04; Metro: Châtelet), a fantastic Thai restaurant off of the bustling Boulevard de Sébastopol. This restaurant is small, but cozy. It is set in brown and the wooden tables, straw chairs and place mats add to the warmth. Plus, the food is delicious! For €15, you can order a dinner menu that includes a cocktail, an appetizer (usually salad or spring rolls), an entrée (the pad thai is a must!), and finally some jasmine tea to round out the meal. The menu is extensive (from flavorful khao pad served in a pineapple to savory curry chicken) and while, the prices may be a bit high (a meal for two—sans wine—will cost about 30 €), to me, it is definitely worth every centime.
To be honest, what’s a trip to Paris without a carbohydrate indulgence (or overindulgence)? It’s not hard to do and it doesn’t have to be expensive! So, next time you’re walking past the neighborhood patisserie and you catch that familiar whiff of confectionary heaven, remember that it is possible to stuff your face without emptying your wallet. Bon appétit!