If you need to hunt down a can of truffles or foie gras to bring back with you on the plane, stake out high-quality produce, cheeses or charcuterie, or find unusual or "exotic" items that are clearly not available at typical supermarkets in the city of light, head to one of these top-rate gourmet Paris food shops. Known as les grandes epiceries in French, these temples to all things food and wine offer a dizzying variety of gourmet products and brands under a single roof, including excellent fresh items. I've made it a habit to stock up on holiday gifts for family and friends at some of these addresses.
Adjacent to chic department store le Bon Marché, La Grande Epicerie is a genuine haven for gourmet cooks and dabblers. In the Delicacies such as mousse au confit de St. Jacques, beurre blanc sauce with caviar, chocolates and sweets from artisanal houses like Michel Cluizel or handfuls of fresh gourmet mushroom varieties are among the delights at La Grande Epicerie. There's also an excellent in-store bakery, fromagerie, meat and charcuterie department, and exotic foods department stocking hard to find grocery items from around the world. Foodie bliss-- at a price, of course-- but still.
Part of massive Belle-Epoque department store Galeries Lafayette, Lafayette Gourmet is on par with La Grande Epicerie, boasting aisles upon aisles of gourmet grocery items, from fresh produce and artfully prepared traiteur items to canned delicacies such as canard à l'orange. Lafayette Gourmet seems to be specialized Asian gourmet goodies: there's even a Japanese pastry maker. The bulk spice department is a feast for the eyes and senses, while the extensive wine cellar with vintages from France and abroad will satiate any wine connoisseur.
- Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arrondissement
- Metro: Havre-Caumartin; RER Auber
- Tel:+33 (0) 1 42 82 34 56
Fauchon is one of France's most prestigious traiteurs, and also manufactures its own high-end line of gourmet sauces and dishes, chocolates, cakes and other delicacies. The flagship shop on the chic Place Madeleine is a popular destination for dedicated foodies and tourists. Don't miss the always-artful holiday window displays and limited-edition items, and try one of Fauchon's signature eclairs-- one limited edition eclair sported the face of French '60s sex symbol Brigitte Bardot.
On another end of the Place Madeleine lies a second high-end Paris traiteur and gourmet grocery store, Hediard. Well-known for its gorgeously prepared traiteur dishes, Hediard, like Fauchon, has a signature brand of luxury food items. There's also a chic upstairs tearoom for lounging after checkout.