One last quick photo-centric post on oysters in Paris. This fab fish market was in the center of the Alésia neighborhood—located in the heart of the 14th arrondissement—about halfway between my cute little Hotel Max and the Auberge du Moulin Vert (see earlier post).
Oyster! Oysters! Oysters! Boxes of lovely Fine de Claire and Gillardeau and Speciale Normande and more.
How I wish this were my neighborhood fish store. Note to self: Next trip to Paris buy an oyster knife to shuck my own!
While in Paris I contacted a local oyster shucker pal—2009 international shucking champion Xavier Caille—to ask his advice on where to find the quintessential Parisian oyster-eating experience. He recommended Brasserie La Mascotte, a fabulous looking spot with curved zinc bar in Montmartre.
Alas, my schedule didn’t permit time to catch the Metro to that part of town so it remains at the top of my “to-do” list for my next visit. Wah. But there’s no need to mourn these crocodile tears, as I found a truly wonderful spot to savor a variety of French oysters in the Alésia neighborhood—located in the heart of the 14th arrondissement—a mere ten minute jaunt from my hotel.
If you love Paris, and oysters, you must go to Auberge du Moulin Vert.
Lime green awnings and jaunty neon signage decorate the curved two-story building that hugs a corner in this residential district. An open-air display of a variety of oysters and other seafood drew me in like a moth to the proverbial flame. (See photo above and top of page.) Eying the wood crates and baskets piled high with bivalves—I spotted what I hoped to find: Belons! What more did I need to enter?
Inside, ferns and herbs grew on the wall above a stylish yellow banquette as strings of white lights loop overhead. I requested a selection of oysters and was brought this platter of five types plus a smattering of sea snails (bulots), giant shrimp and a dramatic dry ice fog wafting from a metal cup.
I asked the waiter to write down what he served—so I would get it correct. Here’s a combo of his notes (blue) and mine (black).
Here’s my understanding of what I ate: The long oysters are Ile de Re, from a neighboring part of France; the small ones are Rose de Bonbon; the large round flats are Belons; a similar looking, more greenish ones are from Normandy (most likely Gillardeau); and the others are from the Aquitaine region.
Got it? Needless to say: All were swoon worthy. In my fever to taste them all, I admit I fell down on my note taking duties and simply savored them slurp by delicious slurp.
I grew up spending part of every summer in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, which included eating many oysters. After stumbling into an oyster shucking competition in Miami Beach in 2006, I’ve become a fan of the sport and have written about local, national, and international competitions for the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, American Way Magazine, and the Huffington Post. I've also written oyster-centric stories for Rustik and Modern Farmer. I’ve never met an oyster I didn’t want to eat.