4 luxury food addresses in Paris that you really shouldn’t miss

Paris, famous for its architecture, monuments and museums is also renowned for its luxury food; caviar, foie gras, oysters, champagne and of course, truffles. For many travellers, luxury food is the raison d’être to visit the City of Light. To get the biggest bite of French luxury food it’s imperative to plan your trip in advance. You won’t want to miss the hidden food shops that offer exclusive, rare foods, often only available in Paris.

Many of the French luxury food traditions were created in the late 19th Century just as the bourgeois class was emerging. Food icons such as FauchonHediardPrunier have similar beginnings; the story usually starts with a young man, fresh from the country who sells food from a wheelbarrow in the streets of Paris and turns the wheelbarrow into a food empire.

Fauchon which dominates a corner of the Place de la Madeleine was begun by Auguste Fauchon who arrived in Paris from Calvados in 1891. He started modestly by selling fruit from his wheelbarrow and before long, his food dynasty was selling coffees, teas, confiture, pastries and chocolate. It was his wife, Madame Fauchon who had the smart idea of putting their name on every product they sold and invented the first luxury food brand.  Today Fauchon is a stylish food empire but it’s the éclair that has really made them into Paris food superstars. A large pastry case, the length of a Citroën, is filled with every imaginable flavour of delicate éclairs. There’s even a savoury foie gras éclair, filled with a foie grascrème and topped with hazelnut glaze. Or baby-sized éclairs for the fashionable slim Parisienne clientele.

Across the Place de la Madeleine is Prunier, famous for their caviar, smoked salmon and seafood. It was Alfred Prunier who opened his first oyster restaurant in 1872 and discovered his rich clientele couldn’t get enough of caviar. To keep up with supply, his son Emile began to farm sturgeon on the banks of the Dordogne in 1918. And that’s a very good thing since it is now illegal to import Russian caviar to France. On the main floor of their shop is the tasting room, with smoky glass windows where one can taste a variety of caviar.

Moving down to the river and on to Île Saint-Louis, we find Lafitte, purveyors of foie gras.  In 1920 Pierre Lafitte starting selling wild game birds and foie gras in Landes (southwest France) and eventually opened a shop in Paris. All of their ducks and geese are grown on small farms within 40 km of their headquarters in southwest France. All the birds are raised with strict farming methods: grain-fed and free-range. Although most foie gras is made with duck liver, their foie gras d’oie (made from geese) is a luxury that should not be missed. Truffles are a luxury staple and the best place to source them in Paris is Maison de la Truffe. Founded in 1932, originally a cooperative of truffle growers from Carpentras (France’s largest supplier), La Maison De la Truffe sells fresh diamant noir (black truffles) directly fromProvence. Their restaurant features an all-truffle menu with a generous amount of truffles in each dish.

Paris Luxury Food addresses:
1. Fauchon, 24 Place de la Madeleine
2. Prunier, 15 Place de la Madeleine
3. Lafitte, 8 Rue Jean du Bellay, Île Saint-Louis
4. La Maison de la Truffe, 14 Rue Marbeuf

Diane Shaskin is President of Paris to Provence Culinary Adventures.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Montmartre and St. Michel are definately the best areas in Paris for food because you can stroll around and everywhere your see can see, there will be a HUGE selection of eateries and bistros. Only problem is which one to pick!

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