A Cook’s Tour of Paris

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Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, of New York City restaurants Town and Country, visits the French capital several times a year with his wife, Margaret. Together they eat, drink, and shop their way through the always rich and evolving culinary scene. Here they share their four-day itinerary for an ideal—and utterly satiating—adventure in one of their favorite cities. It begins with a Thursday evening flight that arrives in Paris the next morning.

Day 1

9 a.m. Check into the Hotel Lancaster ($700–$2,500; 7 Rue de Berri; 33-1/40-76-40-76; hotel-lancaster.fr), a small, elegant place tucked off the Champs-Elysée, and proceed immediately to Be Boulangépicier (73 Bd. de Courcelles; 33-1/46-22-20-20; boulangepicier.com), a 15-minute walk away, for the quintessential buttery croissant.

12:30 p.m. After a nap and shower, dress the part for lunch in the red velvet–and–dark wood splendor of the landmark restaurant Le Grand Véfour (17 Rue de Beaujolais; 33-1/42-96-56-27; grand-vefour.com). The ever-changing seasonal menu always includes a few classics, such as the foie gras ravioli. Afterward, walk the grounds of the Palais Royal to work off one meal and prepare for the next.

3 p.m. Circle back through the Palais to 1 Rue de La Banque and the special Legrand Filles et Fils wine shop (33-1/42-60-07-12; caves-legrand.com). Take a break at the wooden bar with an afternoon glass of St.Emilion.

4 p.m. Stroll to E. Dehillerin (18–20 Rue Coquillière; 33-1/42-36-53-13; e-dehillerin.fr), a nearly 200-year-old kitchen-supply shop, to peruse the wild array of gleaming copper pots. Go for a turbot kettle ($790) or a double-bottle Champagne bucket ($240). Next, head to La Maison du Miel (24 Rue Vignon; 33-1/47-42-26-70; maisondumiel.com); established in 1898, the shop treats honey like wine, each with its own terroir. Choose from more than 50 international varieties (from $8 a jar).

7 p.m. After all the traveling and an extravagant lunch, Willi’s Wine Bar (13 Rue des Petits Champs; 33-1/42-61-05-09; williswinebar.com) is perfect for dinner. This sliver of a restaurant, frequented by locals, offers consistently great food, a casual, relaxed atmosphere, and prices easy on the wallet.

Day 2

9 a.m. Saturday mornings in Paris were seemingly made for a turn through the farmers’ market on Avenue Président Wilson, between Rue Debrousse and Place d’Iéna. All the vendors offer brilliant produce, but the frenzy at Joël Thiébault’s stand (joelthiebault.fr) is a must-see. The French flock to his exotic breeds of vegetables: vibrant purple cauliflower, zucchini blossoms, and a type of heirloom pea called the Kelvedon Marvel, a particular passion of Louis XIV’s.

10:30 a.m. Head to the Marais this morning. Your first stop should be Mariage Frères (35 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg; 33-1/43-47-18-54; mariagefreres.com), which is like no other tea shop in the world. Tins line the walls and tower over you in Alice in Wonderland fashion. The gents behind the counter are well trained and can help you explore the hundreds of loose-leaf offerings (from $7). From there, shop the neighborhood’s special boutiques.

1 p.m. Leave the Marais and take a taxi to Le Bistro Paul Bert (18 Rue Paul Bert; 33-1/43-72-24-01) for lunch. Though a bit off the beaten track, the effort to get there is worth the energy—especially if the île flottante is making an appearance on the impressive and inexpensive three-course prix fixe menu ($45).

4 p.m. Hop back in a cab for the 15-minute trip to the Librairie Gourmande (90 Rue Montmartre; 33-1/43-54-37-27; librairie-gourmande.fr) in the Second Arrondissement to browse its won-derful selection of cookbooks. Then walk a bit over two miles—or take a quick taxi—to La Quincaillerie (3–4 Bd. St.-Germain; 33-1/46-33- 66-71), a French hardware and housewares shop offering a variety of items different from those found in the States. Be sure to add a bit of gluttony to your afternoon by treating yourself to a portion of Chocolat du Mendiant ice cream at Glacier Berthillon (29–31 Rue St.-Louis en l’Ile; 33-1/43-54-31-61; berthillon.fr). Take note: It’s closed during the summer months.

10 p.m. After a breather at the hotel, have a late dinner at the Baccarat Museum’s Cristal Room (11 Pl. des Etats-Unis; 33-1/40-22-11-10; baccarat.com). Its Philippe Starck decor (black-marble paneling, swirling pink trimmings, black-crystal chandelier) and tabletops set with the maison’s elaborate wares never fail to impress. After your meal, visit the famed hall of chandeliers.

Day 3

11 a.m. For brunch, it’s the tearoom at the Musée Jacquemart-André (153 Bd. Haussmann; 33-1/45-62-11-59; musee-jacquemart-andre.com). The oeuf cocotte aux fines herbes is certainly worthy, but the surroundings prove the bigger enjoyment. Following brunch, pick up a free headset and take a tour of the mansion and galleries, which feature works from the private collection of Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart.

1 p.m. Enjoy the city sights. Head to the front of the Pyramid at the Louvre and begin the wonderful Paris walking tour downloadable to your iPod from iJourneys.com.

8 p.m. Take dinner in what was once Alain Senderen’s multi-Michelin-starred Lucas Carton, now boldly transformed into Senderens (9 Pl. de la Madeleine; 33-1/42-65-22-90; lucascarton.com). Its old-world wood carvings contrast brashly with the new, modern installations, and chef Senderens’s cuisine shows where the French culinary experience is headed.

Day 4

9 a.m. Stroll over to local hot spot Ladurée (75 Av. des Champs-Elysées; 33-1/40-75-08-75; laduree.fr) for breakfast. Sit upstairs and enjoy a croissant while you sip the perfectly sweetened café au lait. Stock up on the macaroons ($12–$15 for eight) on your way out.

1:30 p.m. After exploring the Champs-Elysée for a bit, take a short cab ride over to the Left Bank and lunch at Guy Savoy’s L’Atelier Maître Albert (1 Rue Maître Albert; 33-1/56-81-30-01; ateliermaitrealbert.com), in the Fifth Arrondissement. The menu is filled with beautifully uncomplicated dishes that are prepared in the restaurant’s exposed rotisserie.

2:30 p.m. Get yourself (and your credit card) a little exercise by walking 15 minutes or so to the St.-Sulpice area and the Rue des Sts.-Pères for some shopping. Navigate your way to the intersection of Boulevard St.-Germain and Rue de Rennes, through many of the best boutiques on the Left Bank. You’ll find yourself a few steps from the bustling landmark Café de Flore (172 Bd. St.-Germain; 33-1/45-48-55-26; cafe-de-flore.com), a place that baptizes you in the je ne sais quoi of French culture. Step inside for some Champagne—the café serves Dom Pérignon by the glass, a rarity.

7:30 p.m. Enjoy a bit more shopping, then head to dinner at Sensing (19 Rue Bréa; 33-1/43-27-08-80; restaurantsensing.com), a beautifully minimalist restaurant where owner Guy Martin bridges the gap between haute cuisine and the flair of modern dining. The pigeon, for example, is prepared classically—until brown sugar is added to caramelize the skin. A perfect prelude to packing.

Day 5

8 a.m. Although eggs and baguettes abound, the mile-and-a-half walk from the hotel for a morning meal at Angelina’s (226 Rue de Rivoli; 33-1/42-60-82-00) is better rewarded with one of the café’s dessertlike concoctions. If you can handle it, order the hot chocolate. The side-served bowl of whipped cream perfectly cuts the indulgent liquid.

12:30 p.m. Walk west on the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré a bit farther and then cab it back to the hotel. Before checking out, fit in a quick lunch in the jewel-box setting at La Table du Lancaster, just off the hotel’s lobby. Alert the staff ahead of time to your tight schedule and request a seat by the window to enjoy the garden view. We recommend a glass of Rosé Champagne to toast your weekend and bid yourself bon voyage.