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Ladurée Bonaparte

Ladurée is the creator of French macaroons, elegant tiny cakes that are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and held together with a layer of ganache or buttercream. Even if you don't eat pastry, it's worth a trip for the visuals - both the macaroons and the shop are gorgeous. Ladurée introduces special limited-time flavours each season, but my favourites are the perennial bitter chocolate, coffee and caramel with salted butter. Guaranteed to make you fall in love. 21 rue Bonaparte; 33 (0) 1 44-07-64-87; www.laduree.fr/public_fr/maisons/bonaparte_accueil.htm

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La Grande Epicerie (Le Bon Marché)

My heart pounds whenever I step inside this incredible food floor, but it can be overwhelming. Don't walk out! Start by just browsing the full-service stalls - at charcuterie they cut the Spanish ham to order, and in seafood you can often sample silky smoked salmon. The candied fruit is extraordinary and will travel home safely in your carry-on, but don't stop there: If you have somewhere to cook fresh food, get a baguette and a selection of French butters, cheeses, meats and vegetables. If all that doesn't dampen your appetite, check out the salt aisle for real fleur de sel at a good price, and the lovely European packaged biscuits and crackers, which are many cuts above your typical North American cookie, make great gifts. (So are the French tea towels from the department store's linen department, a couple of floors up.) 38 rue de Sèvres; 33 (0) 1 44-39-81-00; www.lagrandeepicerie.fr

Boulevard Raspail Market

Not a big market but a beautifully situated, quality experience. In addition to the excellent breads and produce, you can find wonderful dairy products, some crafty clothing and a man selling duck liver, tinned for the trip home. Don't miss the potato-pancake stall at the entrance. From rue du Cherche-Midi to rue de Rennes; Tuesday to Sunday (on Sunday, it's an organic market); 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Angelina's

If you want to feel like Marie Antoinette - or her escort - don't miss Old World Angelina's. The sumptuous decor matches the hot chocolate (called L'Africain), but if you want real food, there are sandwiches, eggs, salads and cheese. The Mont Blanc is the most famous of their pastries - a meringue piled high with chestnut purée and filled with whipped cream. If you can't consume it on-site, take it home for a bedtime snack. 226 rue de Rivoli; 33 (0) 1 42-60-82-00; www.groupe-bertrand.com

E. Dehillerin

Walk in Julia Child's footsteps through this legendary cookware shop in the 1st arrondissment, but be forewarned: This is a no-frills depot, not a boutique. The staff will help you to a point, but they won't pamper à la Williams-Sonoma. Still, you can find every piece of French cooking equipment you could want - all sizes of tart pan, knives, pastry tools and copperware - and some you might not, so come with a list or you'll buy stuff you'll never use. There are top-quality pots and pans for decent prices, but you have to be willing to lug them home. My most prized purchase ended up being the tapered French rolling pin I picked up on my way out for a few euros. 18 rue Coquillière; 33 (0) 1 42-36-53-13; www.e-dehillerin.fr

Poilâne and La Cuisine de Bar

The four-pound sourdough with the iconic P decoration is what made this bakery famous, but I like to go to watch the fancy Left Bank ladies come and go. Take home a bag of wonderful Punitions butter cookies, which will keep fresh for at least a week after you get back. For lunch, don't miss La Cuisine de Bar next door - you choose your tartine (open-faced sandwich, served on a slice of Poilane, of course) and along with it come a glass of wine and a salad. Simple, easy and classy. My faves are the rare roast beef and the chicken with garlic mayo and capers. 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006; 33 (0) 1 45 48-42-59; www.poilane.fr; La Cuisine de Bar, 33 (0) 45 48-45-69

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