We were fortunate to stay in the 5th arrondissement, close to the Rue Mouffetard. The Rue Mouffetard is a street for food lovers — full of restaurants, cafés, cheese shops, fruit & veggie stalls, wine merchants, and an open-air market on Sundays.
Mr. Kitchen Operas and I often started our day by walking up the steep hill of the Mouffetard, hopping off the cobblestone streets and onto the not-quite-wide-enough sidewalks every time a car or motorbike came racing down the slope. We used the Mouffetard as our passageway to the rest of the city, so that by the end of our trip we had our favourite spots to stop on “the Mouffe” for un café (a shot of espresso), an eggy breakfast, and the stinkiest and creamiest Brie de Meaux.
One morning we were out looking for breakfast on the street, and we made it almost all the way to the top of the cobbled hill when we saw a sidestreet we wanted to discover more. The Rue de Pot de Fer looked so charming with all of its little patios and colourful awnings out front of each restaurant. We walked along and I saw a sign advertising Les Galettes de blé noir, which I was able to translate as “savoury crêpes made of black flour”. I couldn’t figure it out, and looked up to see the chef, Luc, sitting out on the patio — so I asked him about the “black flour”. Luc explained that it was a healthier flour milled in Paris, and I asked if it was sarrasin (the word I know for “buckwheat flour”). At this point he got so excited that I knew about buckwheat flour (and I was so excited to have found a gluten-free option in our neighbourhood!) that we had a whole conversation about how both their buckwheat flour and white flour were biologique (organic) and milled locally at one of two Parisian mills. That’s all I needed to be convinced into having a crêpe breakfast, and Mr. KitchenOperas agreed — we had found our breakfast spot for the day: Alizée Crêperie.
You can order two kinds of crêpes at Alizée: Les Galettes de blé noir (the savoury buckwheat crêpes known as “galettes” that I got so excited about) or Les Crêpes de Froment (sweet white wheat flour crêpes). And Luc explained to us that if we wanted he could even do a savoury filling in a wheat crêpe or a sweet filling in a buckwheat galette, he’d be happy to do that.
When we poured over the menu, we discovered the focus on spécialités de la Bretagne (specialties from Brittany): the galettes and crêpes, caramel au beurre salé (salted caramel), and Breton cider.
I had the hardest time deciding between the variety of gluten-free and vegetarian options — so I decided to try the 3 mini galettes végétariennes — three mini buckwheat galettes with vegetarian toppings and a salad. The three vegetarian toppings were Fondue de poivrons (baked red peppers), provençale (stewed tomatoes), and champignons à la crème (mushrooms in a cream sauce). The paper-thin buckwheat galette had crispy edges, and held its own flavour against the strong veggies; the sweet peppers, acidic tomatoes, and the rich and creamy mushrooms were each a perfect complement to the other. I’d have a bite of the peppers, then a bite of the tomatoes, back to the peppers, a nibble of mushrooms… and then I decided I’d save the velvety mushroom galette to be my last taste.
The restaurant itself was cozy: from our spot inside (where there were only about 10 seats) we could watch everything going on in the kitchen behind the front counter (and check out all the Brittany cider in the fridge). All of the galettes and crêpes are prepared to order on the round griddle.
Of course, one meal at Alizée was not enough for us. We kept going back because Luc had said that we simply had to try a dessert crêpe, and that he’d do something really special for us with the caramel au beurre salé (salted caramel) on a buckwheat galette.
So we kept going back, vowing that we’d have a savoury galette followed by this special sweet one… and I got hooked on the galette Oeuf bio, emmental, which was a fried egg and grated Emmenthal cheese.
The fried egg was perfectly cooked, with a fully-cooked white, and a yellow that burst open as soon as it met your fork.
After each eggy galette, we’d both be too full for a dessert crêpe, so we never managed to try the really special salted caramel one. I guess we’ll have to go back to Paris so we can taste one!