On a chilly Sunday morning in Paris a couple of weeks ago, Neill and I met up with the charming ‘Chef du Cuisine’, Habiybah from Avenue Story, for a complimentary guided tour of the delightful food shops on rue Montorgueil near the center of Paris, in the 2nd arrondissement.
Habiybah had previously worked in a restaurant just around the corner so she knew the street and it occupants very well as she had always bought the restaurant’s supplies here. She took us from shop to shop along this lovely cobbled, pedestrian-only street, delighting our eyes and our taste buds. I particularly enjoyed visiting the oldest pâtisserie in Paris, Maison Stohrer, which had the most tempting of sweet treats you can imagine and the formagerie, La Fermette, had a wonderful range to choose from and the service was as good as the cheeses – superb! But it didn’t end there as this short video will show you.
I can imagine with all these fabulous food shops supplying the local restaurants that dining in this area is pretty superb. It is such a shame that in England we have lost so many specialists shops as too many people opt for the convenience and economy (at the cost of quality) of supermarket shopping.
I was intrigued by Habiybah’s background and over coffee dug a little deeper. Originally from the USA, she spent a couple of memorable holidays in France in 2008 and 2009. Following the global financial crisis she was offered a 3 month sabbatical from her job and used this as an opportunity to follow two of her dreams namely to learn another language and to study to be a chef in France! She trained as both a chef du cuisine and a pastry chef and received a Grand Diploma from Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris. She now feels far more at home in Paris than she does in her native New York. It was good to hear that the economic chaos around the world had a happy ending, at least for Habiybah, and it was a delight for us to spend the morning with her.
There really is nothing quite like exploring the streets of a wonderful city with a local expert, which is exactly what Habiybah has become!
Nearest metro: Sentier and Étienne Marcel