Le Weekend: Chez Parret and Provins, France



My husband came rolling in from Stuttgart at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, just in time for lunch with Le Parret, Antonio and Chantal.  He had said that he wanted mussels, so I made a rich creme fraiche and roquefort sauce.


For entree, I put together a platter featuring M. Parret’s garden tomatoes and antipasto (burrata, pesto, parma, marinated vegetables) from the Italian deli in Paris and quail eggs. Might as well exaggerate now because on Tuesday, it’s Stuttgart.


Antonio and Chantal had just gotten back from a seaside vacation in Portugal with masses of wine and food but were happy to see M. Parret and to share a glass or two of Champagne.  My husband was just happy to see any wine with a cork 😀


The roquefort mussels have become a favorite around this table; conversation lagged and gave way to intense mussel consumption.


For your first mussel, choose a likely looking one, remove the meat from the shell, and then use the empty shell as an eating utensil (pincer) to remove the remaining mussels from the shell.


Cheese of course with a fantastic epoisses.


American savage eats her cheese with her salad.


A delicious mirabelle tart made by Jade and M. Parret.


M. Parret orders his pastry dough from the patisserie and takes his own butter to include in the dough.  Perfect!




Provins, France is a medieval town about 32 miles from Sens.  Having never visited Provins, we decided to take a leisurely Sunday drive there to see what we could see and, of course, to find something to eat and drink for lunch. On the way to Provins we saw this 12th century church and stopped for a look.  Pity that it’s only open to the public on the 3rd Sunday of each month.  In any case, we had a look at the old cemetery.


So many died young back in the day, babies, men and women barely out of their teens.  I like that they are remembered.


‘And here is where they made their mistake’.  We arrived in Provins very hungry and craving Chinese, decided to try the Auberge de Pekin.  A very lucky choice.  When we could hardly understand the owner’s French, we knew we were in the right place 🙂  He had a very nice dining room inside with white tablecloths and napkins but the weather was beautiful and we decided to sit outside and look around.  Thirstily, we ordered a bottle of Tavel Rose and three different kinds of steamed dumplings, inhaled before I thought to take a picture 🙂


Disappointingly, there was no dipping sauce for the dumplings, but we were supplied with a fetching little bottle of Sriracha.


Provins is about 4 times bigger than Sens, with a population of about 112,000 persons. The town center is a mixture of 12th century and earlier, buildings, churches, shops and restaurants.  It’s claim to fame are the medieval Champagne Fairs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champagne_fairs and it’s underground galleries.


I desperately wanted to get a closer look at the stained glass in this church but it was closed on this Sunday.


Having slaked our thirst and taken the edge off our hunger, we began the serious eating with spicy whole carp.  Why oh why don’t we have this level of Asian restaurants in Sens?


Cantonese fried rice.


Spareribs Pekinoise


Shrimp fried noodles.


Lacquered duck breast.


This was a fabulous meal and we will return to this restaurant for MORE!  However, our mistake was trencherman/woman eating before sightseeing.  Provins is a hilly town and, although we had a coffee, we trudged around lacking enthusiasm.  We’ll have to go back for two reasons; to throughly look at this interesting city, and to eat Chinese AFTER sightseeing 🙂


Provins’ ancient ramparts.


A closer look at the ramparts with guard tower.


La Grange aux Dimes, the covered market where the Champagne Fair was held.


The old town center where, gluttony having no bounds, we shared a rose petal flavored ice cream cone.  We’ll diet in Stuttgart.


This was a state of the art, square based, defense tower that apparently didn’t work out for Provins because the town was constantly over run.  It was finally turned into a prison; probably for the architect and those who had the big idea to hire him 🙂


The Basilique Saint Quiriace is a beautiful 12th century Catholic church.


Because mass was just beginning, I was only able to grab a couple of photos but plan to make this our first stop on the next visit.  BEFORE Chinese 🙂


Stuttgart coming up.  



About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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38 Responses to Le Weekend: Chez Parret and Provins, France

  1. How lovely to have the time to explore town by town. Very jealous.

  2. Michelle says:

    All of this food looks so good!! Especially the mussels, creme fraiche and roquefort sauce, and…are those hard-boiled quail eggs? I’d love to go on a road trip along the Northern regions and just eat my way around France, town by little town.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    Your husband arrived at the right time – what a delicious feast. Your tomato entree looks fantastic!
    I’d love to go to go back in time and visit that champagne fair, though I suspect it might not have tasted the same back then.

  4. reggiorif says:

    Like, like, like… Each of your posts makes me feel like I am just your next door neighbor… I wish it was the case because I’d be waiting for an invitation 😉 – by the way i loved the look of the mussels & the cheese plate.

  5. Everything about your weekend sounds wonderful. Your happiness shines when you are in Sens 🙂

  6. What a stunning town. Love all that ancient architecture. Too bad you had eaten so much that you lacked a bit of steam. Sounds like a siesta would have been just the trick.

  7. Tessa says:

    Beautiful post! I love seeing photos of places that you visit :).

  8. That plate of antipasto looked excellent. Come to think of it,,,,what didn’t. Good eating. I bought some mirabelles this morning, and I think a tart is going to happen. Lovely post.

  9. All looks magic as per usual. Great pics etc etc etc. 🙂

  10. Trish says:

    how amazing – all of it. Medieval town, great Asian food. we need to learn about spicy carp in our neck of the woods – our local waterways are being overrun by Asian carp. The best way to deal with them, I think, is learn how to cook them well.

  11. Michelle says:

    Glad to see you happy in Burgundy! I, too, am always fascinated by French cemeteries. The French are so energetic in their displays of grief and remembrance.

  12. Loved the mussels and the cold plate with the tomatoes, antipasto and quail eggs. I love quail eggs. They are the perfect morsel. Looks like you also had a wonderful day in Provins. Lovely photos.

  13. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous. I really like mussels as well. Such a beautiful exploration weekend. May you have many more fabulous meals and weekends exploring.

  14. You do eat well! 🙂 That plate of antipasto looked fabulous.

  15. Everything looks beautiful!

  16. Raymund says:

    Last July we had an overdoze of that mussels in France, love them with some crusty bread

  17. Paula says:

    Oh, garden tomatoes, such a big difference between those and supermarket tomatoes!! I miss the ones I ate during summer! I love that dishc with the quail eggs and vegetables!!

    That chinese food also looks good!! Mom once told me that chinese food in France has nothing to do with Chinese food in Spain, and I think she’s right!!
    Even if, as always, it will be bad chinese food in France and good chinese food in Spain 😉

  18. Calla says:

    Hello 🙂 beautiful pictures…. Were many attractions and shops closed on Sunday in Provins?

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