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Paris and the Île de France

Grande Arche de ls Defense

I have been in Paris for almost a week and I have not heard anyone say calories, or cholesterol, or even arterial plaque. The French do not season their food with regret. Mary-Lou Weisman

The region of the Île de France has eight départements (the Seine, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Val-d'Oise).

You can get anything that you want at Paris’s restaurants—all the finest ingredients from across France arrive daily at the massive wholesale market at Rungis. Rungis is the replacement for the much loved Halles, the ‘Belly of Paris’, which has been redeveloped since the 1970s more times than anyone can count but never happily, as if the ghost of the beautiful old cast iron market, site of so much pleasure in the past, refuses to yield. How many revellers over the decades rubbed shoulders with the butchers at dawn over bowls of soupe à l’oignon?

The region of the Île de France is so densely populated that it doesn’t produce much outside of Brie and Coulommiers in the Seine-et-Marne. Surprisingly Montreuil, northeast of Paris, was once a major producer of peaches thanks to a massive labyrinth of walls. They used to grow champignons de Paris in the Catacombs, but now most are grown in Saumur.


ancient cow’s milk cheese from the Ile de France


triple cream cheese

coquelicot de Nemours

poppy candy


Brie’s smaller thicker cousin

flan pâtissier

custard tart


potato and mussel salad

gâteau Opéra

coffee and chocolate almond sponge layers


rustic fish stew

soupe à l’oignon

onion soup


elderflower liqueur

sucre d’orge

barley sugar


gentian-based apéritif

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by David Stanley