It’s a delight for foodies, lovers—and chefs taking a break from the stress of opening their own restaurants. Chef and food blogger Brett of In Praise of Sardines snuck off to Paris with his wife for a week of meandering and moseying through the city of love and food. His photos and reports are the next best thing to being there yourself.

In contrast to the couple’s previous trips to Europe, this time they left things to chance, renting an apartment but making no other plans.

We let our hearts guide us. Occasionally our stomachs took the lead. … [We] idled for hours at little chef-owned bistros and cafés, took long walks, did a little shopping, enjoyed each other’s company and, on a couple of nights, the company of friends. I even foraged at the farmers’ markets one morning and threw together a simple dinner.

To travel vicariously with a chef (and excellent photographer) is a delight, as Brett trolls the markets and shops of Paris. Food is always the cornerstone.

Whenever I travel, I get my bearings by visiting local food markets, from corner grocery stores to farmers’ markets, bakeries to butchers. I like to believe these forays offer a glimpse into the every day world of the locals. But perhaps that’s just glossy food magazine drivel. Regardless, there’s really no better way to start the morning. And no better way to whet one’s appetite for a 3-course lunch.

The series continues throughout the week on In Praise of Sardines; tune in for more Parisian pleasures. It’s the (surrogate) French vacation we’ve all been wanting.

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