Food

Mint Tea and Sweet Cakes …

Tea Middle Eastern style with fresh mint leaves
Baklava and Cornes de Gazelles
Served at the Grande Mosquée de Paris

The Ramadan fasting month has finally ended and this means a big celebration with feasts of food and especially sweets. In France with a large Muslim community it is widely celebrated and in Paris it is a delight to walk through some of the Muslim quarters lined with shops selling plenty of various sweet cakes and other exotic deli. One place I like to go for that special Moroccan mint tea in a traditional environment is the Grande Mosquée de Paris just right in front of the Jardin des Plantes on the left bank. Here you can also get various traditional sweets baklava jalebi and the famous gazelles horns (cornes de gazelles) But to get that authentic feel and a little on the cheaper side is to journey into the very animated Quartier de la Goutte d’Or known also as Quartier Barbès in the 18th district. This is a special quarter for people predominantly coming from the former French colonies mostly West Africa and the Magreb regions as well as the West Indies. Once reputed as an accursed place and an area that you don’t want to be found lingering on your own today it all that has changed but having known that period I still find this place quite impressive. Any time during the day especially late afternoons you can see men congregating around the area some trying to sell watches or gold bracelets and women busy making the typical brique/briouat meat filled pastries. It might not be like the typical Medina you find in North Africa but it does give you that impression. For the Ramadan celebration you can see many shops selling sweet cakes served on large platters. Some of the most popular are the cornes de gazelles almond filled cakes …

Gazelles Horns (Cornes de Gazelles)
Almond paste filled sweet pastries
A North African specialty

Another very popular sweet cakes that you can find along the streets of Barbès are jalebis fried dough soaked in sugar syrup.

Jalebi a popular North African and Indian subcontinent specialty

And the Quartier Barbès continues to enchant curious visitors who want to know more than just Paris picture postcard touristic places …

Sweet shops along the Quartier Barbès

More images on sweets cakes seen along the Quartier Barbès during Ramadan …

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