At place de la Madeleine stands one of the city's most popular sights -- not the church, but Fauchon, a hyper-upscale mega-delicatessen that thrives within a city famous for its finicky eaters. It's divided into three divisions that include an épicerie (for jams, crackers, pastas, and exotic canned goods), a pâtissier (for breads, pastries, and chocolates), and a traiteur (for cheeses, terrines, pâtés, caviar, and fruits). Prices are steep, but the inventories -- at least to serious foodies -- are fascinating. At some of the counters, you'll indicate to attendants what you want from behind glass display cases and get an electronic ticket, which you'll carry to a caisse (cash register). Surrender your tickets, pay the tally, and then return to the counter to pick up your groceries. In other cases, you simply load up a shopping basket with whatever you want and pay for your purchases at a cash register, just as you would at any grocery store.
On the same premises, Fauchon has a restaurant, Brasserie Fauchon, and a tea salon, which showcases the pastry-making talents of its chefs. Among the many offerings is a Paris-Brest, a ring in the shape of a bicycle wheel that's loaded with pastry cream, almond praline, butter cream, and hazelnut paste capped with almonds. Open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 7pm.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010