Where Should Our Design Team Go in Belgium, France & London?

September 12, 2016

Yesterday, a team of Food52ers headed to Belgium and France (yes, they're very lucky!). Our co-founders Amanda and Merrill will be leading the brigade with our Buyer Kristina, our Director of Video Gabriella, and our Design & Home Editor Amanda in tow. Our friends at Staub and Demeyere will be showing us around their factories, and we're planning a visit to some designer friends, a very traditional Belgian brewery, all the markets, all the kitchen stores, and as many restaurants as will let us in the door.

But what's a work trip without a little spontaneity? Here's a little bit more about their plans, so you can share any tips for places they should go.

Photo by James Ransom

First stop: Brussels—and then right onto Antwerp, home of the Demeyere factory, where they'll stay for two nights. From there, it's on to Normandy to visit the Staub factory and stay for a night, and then onto Paris! We are giving ourselves a whole day to run around Paris and find all the great things to do—so any recommendations there are especially appreciated! At the end of the week, Amanda and Merrill are darting across the pond (the other pond) to London; where should they go? What should they do!

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We'll be using the hashtag #f52abroad to chronicle their journeys—so be sure to follow along on social media (to see how much they're actually working).

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“And right next door there is a great wine bar called Sager and Wilde. Please go! Other great meals: Dishoom, Hoppers, Koya Bar, River Cafe, Rochelle Canteen, and Nopi. Also (and this is super random) I loved walking the aisles of Waitrose, especially the baking aisle. Just the packaging for things like baking soda and amarena cherries is fantastic. And finally, make sure to buy some of the incredible rose petal harissa Belazu makes. Have fun! xoxo”
— Samin N.

We want to know your favorite spots in these cities! Share any and all recommendations in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Veronica
  • Becky
  • ChefJune
  • Emilie Duval
    Emilie Duval
  • Katherine
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Veronica September 14, 2016
Hello there Team Food52! I just thought it would be worth your while for me to mention that while in Paris, L'As du Falafel is a street food staple. I always preferred to grab it from the window for lunch and find your own personal cove for people watching. An excellent source of what is "hip" is the magazine/website Le Fooding ( at least that is how I fumbled my way through the copious amounts of food options. I do however also want to mention that I think it is a zillion-billion times worth your while to pop down to Lyon, France (a mere 2 hour train ride from Paris). If not this trip another time. While there is no denying how incredible Paris is, Lyon has a special l'air about it that is unique to France. Especially when it comes to food! Another commenter (Chef June) recommended Lucy Vanel's cooking school and I can attest to its sheer awesomeness (be it the exploration of the deep food history of Lyon or the remarkable meal shared with friends). I'm sure your trip is jam packed and I look forward to reading more about it!
Becky September 13, 2016
Check out Liberty's around the corner from Oxford Circus: the worlds oldest department store! Show cases high end goods. To eat: visit Marylebone High Street and see the Ginger Pig butcher (a lot of celeb chefs use it) and the amazing cheese shop next door with a huge smelly room at just the right temperature. Grab some takeaway boxes from the gorgeous abundant platters at Ottolenghi- there is one just near Kensington Palace so they could have a picnic in Hyde park with a palace view. Moro in Exmouth Markets is one of my favourite restaurants with Spanish/North African fusion cuisine and a great deli next door to take home some of their smoked meats and pastries. Popular in London for many years now is Fergus Henderson's "Nose To Tail" eating. Must check out his restaurant St John for pigs trotters, bone marrow on toast, tripe and squirrel!
ChefJune September 13, 2016
Also the newly expanded and remodeled Le Cordon Bleu!
ChefJune September 13, 2016
Oh dear, I forgot! the Marche d'Aligre in Paris! Love, love, love! and in Lyon, the Croix Rousse market and Lucy Vanel's Plum Lyon Cooking School up in the Croix Rousse neighborhood.
ChefJune September 13, 2016
Amanda probably knows all this, but..... Guessing "France" means Paris - My favorite p[lace for cheese is Laurent DuBois a small shop just outside the Maubert/Mutualite Metro Stop inthe 5me; Oteiza for Basque products - amazing amazing picnic goodies on Blvd St. Michel not far from Blvd St. Germain. The BEST chocolate anywhere, Patrick Roger on Blvd St. Germain directly outside the Odeon Metro stop. If you have time for only one dinner I ALWAYS go to Maceo! 15 rue des Petits Champs in the 1er. Fine dining at sensible prices and ALWAYS fabulous vegetarian/vegan offerings. For shopping, Dehillerin, of course, and G. Detou. all the cookware and gadgets and knives and EVERYthing...
Now if you're going to Lyon, you REALLY should visit my French brother (Jean Paul Lacombe) at Brasserie Leon de Lyon. And go for the Gras Double at Daniel et Denise (but don't go to the one in Old Town.
Emilie D. September 13, 2016
For Brussels, there are a lot of lovely and yummy places. First stop, you have to go to the "Cafe des Spores", especially in this season, it's a restaurnat where all dishes is made with mushrooms. Amazing. Mer du Nord or De Noordzee, a institution in Brussels, this fish shop/restaurant, opened for lunch, has only tables outside, this is their charm, even rain, wind or snow, you always find a crowd who savour fish and seafood's specialities with a glass of white wine. And last but not least, Place du Jeu de Balle, to know the real Brussels. The flea Market, opened every morning. Take a coffee around the place and look. Don't miss it. Enjoy !
Katherine September 13, 2016
In Paris, there's a wonderful wine bar/café that serves as a testing arena for the michelin starred restaurant attached to it. The bar is called Freddy's, and the restaurant is Semilla. I had some of the best food in Paris in both of those places, and they have open kitchens! Super interesting to watch, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. If you're looking for cocktails (and you should), go to Le Marie Celeste in the Marais. Hands down the best cocktail I've ever had and the ambiance of the place is awesome!!

Finally, nothing beats Le Grand Épicerie for some intense food shopping.
ChefJune September 13, 2016
Semilla is a great choice for Sunday dinner - when so many other good places are closed.
amysarah September 13, 2016
So many places in Paris, but assuming you already know the obvious (e.g., Le Paul Bert deserves its reputation, but reserve yesterday)...L'Avant Comptoir (6th) also deservedly popular, but unique in Paris - wine bar/incredible inventive French 'tapas' - stand at bar for a snack, but go off hours to find a spot. More 'normale', just a good neighborhood wine bar/cafe, fave for 20+ yrs - La Nouvelle Marie, tucked on a street near Pantheon, not far from Lux Garden. And about 100 more places!

For shopping, La Tuile a Loup (5th) has wonderful ceramics, gorgeously colorful glazes I also love La Chambre aux Confitures (Marais) - small jewel box lined floor to ceiling with every jam/chutney/preserve/honey imaginable (and no tour buses pulling up a la Hediard/Fauchon.) Impossible to leave without multiple jars, great for gifts too. Then go right up the street for crepes at Breizh Cafe. Not a bad day. For markets, it's hard to beat Richard Lenoir (Bastille.)
Chris September 13, 2016
If you see any burkas and hear gunfire or explosions.........Take cover quick!!!
Jess S. September 13, 2016
Paris: Les Petits Mitrons in Montmartre have fruit and custard tarts that will leave you speechless.
London: It's probably been said, but St. John Bread and Wine is a must. Paradise by Way of Kensal Rise probably does the best Sunday roast in London and the original Pitt Cue in Carnaby Street is just increidible (order the cider sour)
jessicamclement September 13, 2016
i second le bon marché ... it is the most lovely place in paris ! the department store is like a museum, with all of the fancy designer things, but the kitchen part (which has recently been renovated) is magical. plus, then you're around rue de bac, which is a really fun street.

another cool street/area to check out is boulevard beaumarchais... it's just on the outskirts of the le marais (which is an awesome area itself), and is lined with concept stores (esp about food (for example: maison plisson), homegoods (eg: merci), and even kids decoration stores (eg: bonton)). it's a very fun and unexpected area !

if you want to eat things: l'as du fallafel is as good as everyone says it is, but if the line scares you, you can try chez marianne just across the street ! my favourite resto in paris is called cuisine (9th arrondisement; make reservations). i would choose your eating spots in advance, as paris has many amazing restaurants, but also some pretty disappointing ones. and - despite what any one says - the best macarons are found at Arnaud Larher.
702551 September 13, 2016
Berry Bros & Rudd in London.

The Hôtel Drouot in Paris (auction house) used to be pretty interesting many years ago.

I'd rather do Fauchon in Paris versus Harrods in London.

While a bit odd, Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris is quite interesting, maybe the cemetery with the most recognized names in recent Western history (i.e., past couple hundred years).

So much in Paris, some of the pleasures are so simple like buying a baguette, some cheese, a bottle of wine and enjoying them in the Jardin de Luxembourg.
Samin N. September 13, 2016
You guys, I just got back from London. Hands down best meal was at Morito on Hackney Road. And right next door there is a great wine bar called Sager and Wilde. Please go! Other great meals: Dishoom, Hoppers, Koya Bar, River Cafe, Rochelle Canteen, and Nopi. Also (and this is super random) I loved walking the aisles of Waitrose, especially the baking aisle. Just the packaging for things like baking soda and amarena cherries is fantastic. And finally, make sure to buy some of the incredible rose petal harissa Belazu makes. Have fun! xoxo
MarieGlobetrotter September 13, 2016
In Brussels, you should head to Flamant on Place du Sablon (They have a few in France but I think the one in Lille recently closed).Flamant sells furniture, textiles, floor coverings, paints and decor accessories.
Plus it's next to chocolate (and pâtissier) genius Pierre Marcolini, and the delicious Speculoos specialist Maison Dandoy (interior + food...killing two birds with one stone, right)
If you walk around the neighbourhood, you find other nice interior design boutiques and antique stores

PS: Flamant was granted a Royal Warrant by the Belgian King Filip
maryse September 13, 2016
hi, if only one day in Paris, you will not have much time to navigate and make it worth while... if you only have one day, there is only one place for you to go: Au Bon Marche. it's everything you dream of, have ever expected Paris to give you and partly heaven partly hell... hell because you wont be able to buy as much cheese or jamon as you want, because you wont be able to try enough produce or eat enough to your hearts content, and hell because you will never be able to get it out of your system... it's a gourmet food market, a design kitchen accessories shop, it's all what Food 52 is about and it's on steroids because there are 3 floors of it!
Meflan September 12, 2016
Go heeeeeeeeeeerrreeee. Amaazeballs.
Jean B. September 12, 2016
Check out my favorite Paris shop, Tse & Tse Associees, at 12 rue de Sevigne 75004 Paris or 7 rue Saint Roch 75001 Paris, for creative and timeless modern French design. I love their white porcelain tableware, classic April vases, and fanciful lighting offerings, and their commitment to good design and craftsmanship.
Libbi September 12, 2016
Divertimenti in London. Could be interesting to pop in. Basically cook/baker mecca in the UK.
robin.amato September 12, 2016
London - Harrods, wagamamas, selfridges, any good normal hole in the wall pub for lunch
Katelinlee September 12, 2016
Chambelland is a wonderful gluten-free bakery in Paris. And I don't even give a hoot about gluten free.