CUBA IN PARIS
Now that Cuba is opened to mass tourism and everybody wants to travel to the island, we have decided the opposite: stay in Paris and enjoy Cuba our way. Today we will forget about exploring Paris Like a Local and we will try to get a glimpse of what Cuba has to offer, at least in the City of Light! We have listed below our favorite addresses for those who want to enjoy Cuba in Paris.
A LITTLE BIT OF CUBAN CULTURE
1- LA MAISON DE L’AMÉRIQUE LATINE
217 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 7; M. Solferino, L12; Vélib post #7.008
This cultural center represents all the countries in Latin America and of course, Cuba has its own place here. La Maison de l’Amérique Latine continuously proposes all kind of artistic, literary, philosophical or musical activities. They organize (usually for free) discussions on current topics, conferences, exhibitions, literary prizes (Roger Caillois, Edouard Glissant, Carbet de la Caraïbe) and concerts. Check all their events here
2- SPECIALIZED BOOKSHOPS
You can also enjoy Cuba in Paris through its literature. In Paris there are two bookshops specialized in Hispanic Literature, with a wide selection of books available:
Librairie Espagnole. 7 rue Littré, 75006 Paris; M. Saint Placide, L4; Vélib post #6.027
Librairie Hispano-américaine. 26 rue Monsieur-le-Prince, 75006 Paris; M. Cluny-La Sorbonne, L10; Vélib post #6.029
FOOD & DRINKS
The Cuban Cuisine is an interesting blend of native people’s cuisine on the island plus Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines, with different spices and flavors.
Rice and beans are a culinary element found throughout Cuba, cooked together or apart. When cooked together, the recipe is called either “Congri”, “Moros” or “Moros y Cristianos”. If cooked separately, it is called “Arroz con/y Frijoles”.
Being Cuba an island, seafood dishes prepared in different ways are an important part of its everyday menu.
Meat, when available on ration book, is usually served in light sauces. The most popular sauce is Mojo or Mojito (not to be confused with the mojito cocktail), made with oil, garlic, onion, spices such as oregano and bitter orange or lime juice. Ropa vieja is shredded beef dish (usually flank) simmered in tomato-based criollo sauce until it falls apart. Boliche is a beef roast, stuffed with chorizo sausage and hard-boiled eggs.
Cuba’s tropical climate produces fruits and root vegetables that are used in Cuban dishes and meals.
3- MUCHO GUSTO FESTIVAL
Mucho Gusto is an event organized by the Restaurant and Cocktails bar Cuba Compagnie to celebrate the gastronomy of Latin American countries. During one week this festival proposes us a virtual travel through our taste buds: Cuba (of course) but also Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Mexico, all in a colorful setting. The last edition took place from 23rd to 27th October and we are willing to know what next edition has to propose.
4- RHUM FEST PARIS
Parc Floral de Paris. Route de la Pyramide – Bois de Vincennes (entrance through Pavillon des Cèdres). M. Château de Vincennes, L1; Vélib post #12.125
This is the largest rum fair in France and the largest in Europe by the number of rums present. This alcoholic festival includes master classes, rum tasting courses and a couple of bars. The fourth edition will take place on 22nd, 23rd and 24th April 2017, are you going to miss that?
Price: single tickets from 49€ (one day)
5- HAVANITA CAFE
11 rue de Lappe, Paris 11; M. Bastille L1, L5, L8; Vélib post #11.004
We like la Havanita for its atmosphere, where the Havana’s charm of the 1950s blends harmoniously with the Cuban effervescence. With their comfortable armchairs, unique design with murals representing the Havanese Malecón, its portraits evoking characters and scenes of daily life in Havana and cool music we don’t need much more to feel the Malecón’s sea breeze.
What to order? La Havanita proposes local beers but also mojitos and other rum-based cocktails. Meals include lots of fish, meat, and other Caribbean /South American dishes.
6- CUBA COMPAGNIE
48 boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 11; M. Chemin Vert, L8 and M. Bastille, L1, 5, 8; Vélib post #3.001
Another restaurant with a Cuban atmosphere. Una brocheta de pez espada (skewered swordfish), why not? Swordfish marinated in Hemingway sauce served with rice, cassava, and plantain bananas. Looks good? It tastes even better!
Other swordfish dishes are proposed on the menu: swordfish filet in coconut milk and pineapple sauce served with rice, cassava and plantain bananas was my choice. . . Yummy!
For those who prefer meat, the Picadillo a la Havanera can be the perfect choice: beef marinated in sauce served with rice, cassava, and plantain bananas.
MUSIC & DANCING
7- LATIN CLUBS
After a good meal why not some drinks and maybe some salsa dancing to burn those extra calories? In Paris there are lots of Latin Clubs proposing salsa, merengue and more, here are our favorite ones:
Bar Club Salsa. 9 rue du Général Lanrezac, Paris 17; M. Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile, L1, 2 and 5; Vélib post #17.033
Salsa Cafe. 176 rue Montmartre, Paris 2; M. Grands-Boulevards, L8 and L9; Vélib post #2.010
Montecristo Cafe. 68 Av des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8; M. Franklin Roosevelt, L1 and L9; Vélib post #8.050
Latina Cafe. 114 av. des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8; M. Métro George V, L1; Vélib post #8.052
Barrio Latino. 46/48 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris 12; M. Bastille, L1, 5, 8; Vélib post #11.004
8- DANCING SCHOOLS
If your dancing level is not good enough yet Paris has also some salsa schools where you can learn the basic steps. Our favorite ones are listed below:
Salsabor. 31 Rue Chapon, Paris 3; M. Arts et Métiers, L3, 11; Vélib post #3.011
SalsaNueva . 32 rue du Capitaine Marchal, Paris 20; M. Pelleport, L3B; Vélib post #20.023
If you are interested in salsa festivals, salsa workshops and other salsa events, check this complete online salsa guide
9- LATIN DANCE SHOES
45 Rue des Citeaux, Paris 12; M. Faidherbe-Chaligny, L8 ; Vélib post #11.008
If you forgot your dancing shoes at home, the shop Latin Dance Shoes is the place to go. Latin Dance Shoes proposes the best brands (PAOUL, SUPADANCE, CAPEZIO, SANSHA, PORTDANCE, INTERNATIONAL DANCE SHOES…) and good advice.
10- CUBAN CIGARS
There are many elegant shops dedicated to the sale of Cuban Cigars in Paris. If you are a Cuban cigars lover don’t miss the following shops:
Boutique 22. 22 avenue Victor Hugo, Paris 16; M. Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile, L1, 2 and 5; Vélib post #17.033
Flor de Cuba. 1 avenue Raymond Poincaré, Paris 16; M. Trocadéro, L6 and L9; Vélib post #16.014
La Cave à Cigares. 4 boulevard Denain, Paris 10; M. Gare du Nord, L4 and L5; Vélib post #10.152
Paris is not la Havana but as you can see there are many Cuban options to virtually travel to Cuba or just keep us entertained for a while. Salud and enjoy!
Do you know other cool Cuban addresses in Paris? Send us a mail and we will include them in this post
A big Merci! to Havanita Cafe Paris and Cuba Compagnie, for allowing us to use their pictures on their website and Facebook on this post. This list is based on our own personal experiences and/or reviews online.
Men migrate with food, kitchen utensils but also with recipes and eating habits. Once in France, many keep the culinary practices of their country. During the nineteenth century, grocery stores and restaurants founded by emigrants started to appear in France. Primarily intended to serve these foreign communities, Arab and Asian grocery stores started to be appreciated also by French people, curious to discover cuisines from other parts of the world. Until now. Today it is possible to try food from any part of the world in Paris, maybe this is one of the reasons why Paris is called the Capital City of the World ;- )
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