Paris, often dubbed the world’s gastronomic capital, boasts a culinary heritage as rich as its art and architecture. Among the city’s many gourmet offerings, cheese stands out as a true embodiment of French culture. From creamy brie to tangy Roquefort, the variety is both extensive and exquisite. For those on a quest to discover the best fromages Paris has to offer, here are the 13 best cheese shops in the City of Lights.
- La Fromagerie Sainte-Anne:
Nestled in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, this shop is famed for its delightful range of cheeses, carefully aged in their cellars. The knowledgeable staff provides excellent recommendations and pairings.
A gem in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Barthelemy is a tiny shop packed with the best cheeses. Owned by Nicole Barthelemy, who personally selects the cheeses, you’re guaranteed quality and flavor.
- Laurent Dubois:
A Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France), Dubois’s shop in the 5th arrondissement offers a myriad of cheeses. Notable mentions include the truffled brie and a variety of perfectly aged comtés.
- Fromagerie Quatrehomme:
Another Meilleur Ouvrier de France laureate, Quatrehomme’s shops are a haven for cheese aficionados. The Saint-Germain location is particularly renowned for its exceptional selection.
- La Fromagerie de Paris:
Located in the 19th arrondissement, this shop is a favorite among locals. With cheeses sourced from small producers and a range that caters to every palate, it’s a must-visit.
- Fromagerie Beaufils:
This Belleville-based shop offers a dazzling array of French and international cheeses. Their Roquefort and Camembert come highly recommended by regulars.
- Fromagerie Jouannault:
A family-run establishment in the Marais district, Jouannault has been serving cheese lovers since 1960. They offer a delightful range of artisanal cheeses, with a special emphasis on regional specialties.
- La Fromagerie d’Auteuil:
For those venturing to the 16th arrondissement, this shop promises a treat. Their selection, curated from the best French producers, pairs beautifully with the wines they offer.
- Fromagerie Antony:
While slightly off the beaten track in the 17th arrondissement, Antony is worth the detour. Known for its meticulous aging process, the shop’s Munster and Vacherin cheeses are particularly outstanding.
- Le Marché des Enfants Rouges:
Paris’s oldest covered market in the Marais district houses multiple cheese stalls, each offering a unique selection. It’s a perfect spot to combine cheese shopping with a broader culinary experience.
An acronym for ‘Boulangerie Où L’On Mange’, this establishment in the 18th arrondissement is more than just a bakery. Their cheese selection, sourced from renowned producers, complements their bread range wonderfully.
- La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde:
Situated in the chic 7th arrondissement, this shop offers a curated selection of raw milk cheeses. The passionate owners are always on hand to guide patrons through the nuances of each cheese.
- Taka & Vermo:
Adding a modern twist to the traditional cheese shop, this establishment in the 10th arrondissement blends the best of French and Japanese influences. Their innovative cheese pairings, incorporating Japanese ingredients, are truly unique.
Paris, with its labyrinth of streets and boulevards, holds a cheese discovery at almost every corner. Each shop, with its distinct character, history, and selection, offers a unique experience. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious traveler eager to sample a slice of French culture, these cheese shops promise a gustatory adventure. So, the next time you find yourself wandering the romantic streets of Paris, let the allure of cheese guide your way.
While each cheese shop in Paris is a world unto itself, a few general tips can elevate your cheese tasting journey:
- Seasonal Specials: Just like fruits, many cheeses have a season. For instance, the Mont d’Or is best enjoyed in winter, while Roquefort shines in the summer. Always ask shopkeepers for seasonal recommendations.
- Taste Before Buying: Many shops encourage tasting. Don’t hesitate to ask for a small sample. This not only ensures you buy something you like but also introduces you to new varieties.
- Pairing Essentials: Cheese pairs wonderfully with more than just wine. Ask for recommendations on pairing with jams, nuts, bread, and even beers. Some shops, like Taka & Vermo, offer unconventional pairings that can be a delightful surprise.
- Join a Cheese Tasting Workshop: Some fromageries and culinary schools offer workshops where you can learn about the nuances of different cheeses, their origins, and best ways to enjoy them.
- Storage Tips: If you’re buying cheese to enjoy later, especially if you’re traveling, ask for storage and packing tips. The right storage can significantly affect the taste and texture of the cheese.
- Beyond the French Border: While French cheeses are undeniably delectable, some Parisian cheese shops also stock international varieties. Don’t miss out on trying some global flavors when in Paris.
The Cheese Etiquette:
To truly appreciate the cheese culture in Paris, it’s essential to keep in mind some etiquette:
Use the Right Tool: Cheeses often have specific knives or tools for cutting. Ensure you’re using the right one, especially if you’re at a tasting.
Cutting Manners: When cutting from a cheese wheel or block, always try to maintain its original shape. This often means cutting wedges, not random chunks.
Savor the Order: When tasting multiple cheeses, start with the mildest and gradually move to the strongest. This progression ensures that the flavors of each cheese stand out.
Navigating the cheese landscape of Paris is both an art and a pleasure. Each fromagerie, with its ambiance, stories, and selection, offers a sensory experience that extends beyond taste. Engaging with the shopkeepers, understanding the heritage of each cheese, and savoring the pairings elevate the simple act of buying cheese into a memorable journey. As you traverse the alleys of Paris, let cheese be more than just an item on your itinerary. Let it be a bridge to understanding the soul of the city, one bite at a time. Remember, in Paris, cheese is not just food; it’s a way of life.