Billet d'Humeur

Artisanal Shop Brings New Flavours to the Bastille

On my way to the oriental pastry shop Diamande along the Rue Sedaine in the Bastille, I noticed a new just-opened épicerie. I was tempted to stop for a glass of wine on its terrace (i.e., the sidewalk).

When I walked into the shop, the man behind the counter looked familiar even behind his mask: the eyes, the Tintin-spiked haircut. “You resemble someone”, I said. “Who”? he asked. I proceeded to say the television personality who visits French producers and chefs riding up on his red and white checkered tricycle. Bingo! Voilà! Loïc Ballet and his childhood friend, Elodie Charras have opened an artisanal shop selling products (condiments, wine, cheese, charcuterie, oils, etc.) of producers around France some of whom he has interviewed in his radio and television segments. His weekly television segment is “Le Triporteur” on Télématin.

The story behind the logo

The logo for the épicerie is an arm holding up a leek. Yes, it resembles the socialist fist with a hammer. But Loïc thought a vegetable might be calmer. The saucisson/sausage was one idea but it did not work well in black and white. He decided on the versatile leek widely used by the French in numerous recipes and immediately identifiable whether in black and white or color.  The background is a cocoarde, the national ornament of the French Republic.

Loïc Ballet is a big defender of local and French producers, whose products are becoming abundant in my Bastille neighborhood. Open for five days when I visited, Benjamin Piccoli from Château Caze offered a dégustation/tasting of four wines from the Fronton area vineyards around Toulouse. The white wine, Larmes de Vigne (Cabernet Franc, Négrette and Syrah) went perfectly with a great blend: nougat and bleu cheese. This combination is a melt-in your mouth, light, barely sweet Silvain Brothers nougat and Roquefort de Gabriel. Sometimes it is difficult to find rosé, but the Fronton rosé (Négrette and Syrah) comes with some character, which worked with salami varieties de Marion and Comté des Rousses cheese from the Jura region. Convinced about the quality, we left the shop with two bags full of groceries! Definitely worth a visit to this new addition on Rue Sedaine (as well as Diamande by the way!). Pour eux qui veulent lire plus sur Loïc Ballet et ses histoires (Follow the link for those who wish to read more about Loïc stories).

This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history a few decades ago with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. In 1990 for American Airlines I began working as a flight attendant, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines after 20 years. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel and I am active in Toastmasters. Enjoy!