36 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris, France
+33 1 45 53 15 77
On one of our last days in Paris, we had already checked out most of the major sites and decided to head north to check out the Basilica of the Sacre Couer in Montmartre. The Basilica is essentially a large white-domed Roman Catholic church that has become a famous Paris landmark. Religion and architecture are a few reasons for visiting, but the site also offers wonderful views of Paris, as it's the highest point in the city. We went in the late morning but I've been told that the views in the late afternoon of the sun setting are spectacular.
After checking out the Basilica, we started walking south to head back to the central part of Paris. We didn't have any specific plan or agenda, and it was by pure luck that we happened to pass by a really interesting looking shop named La Ferme de St Hubert. Since we hadn't eaten lunch yet, we decided to stop in and pick up a few items for a quick, picnic style lunch.
Upon entering, my wife and I were completely awestruck by the truly impressive selection of cheeses. My wife and I had never seen anything like it before. It was a bit overwhelming to be honest. In addition to selling cheeses, there were charcuterie, wine, and all kinds of specialty items on display.
As in many shops in Paris, the shop keeper only spoke French, except for a few English phrases. Luckily, it was just barely enough for us to communicate with each other. With all the cheeses labeled in French, we really had no clue what to order but knew that we wanted to try as many as possible. The shop keeper was extremely friendly and accomodating, and to help us identify which types of cheeses we were interested in, he brought out small plastic replicas of a cow, sheep, and goat. We pointed at all three and let him decide which cheeses to choose for us.
The shopkeeper cut three good sized chunks of cheese for us as well as some paper thin slices of charcuterie. I would have loved to try even more cheeses, but other customers had entered the store and were waiting to be served, so I didn't want to be even more of a hassle than I already likely was. The shopkeeper noticed we were tourists and asked if we wanted him to vacuum seal the cheeses (for later transportation). We declined since we were going to eat them right away, but it was a useful bit of information to pick up for the future.
Right next door to the fromagerie was a boulangerie where we picked up some hot, fresh baked baguette. We walked over to a small park where some kids were playing soccer and then sat down to enjoy our spread of food.
My wife likes more mild cheeses, but I'm all about the strong, full-flavored ones. A little funk is what makes cheese interesting in my opinion. The stinkier, the better. I can't remember if the first and second cheeses were goat or sheep but both I enjoyed alot. The third was my wife's favorite and was soft in texture and mild in flavor. It reminded me a little of a cream cheese.
We certainly had some great sit-down meals at very upscale, fancy restaurants in France but some of my fondest memories of our trip were of the times when we picked up some cheeses, bread, charcuterie and prepared salads and had a quick, informal picnic. It's extremely affordable and the quality and freshness of the products will knock your socks off.