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A sort of gastronomic happy hour, Les Heures Heureuses was created by three friends who wanted to find an accessible way to explore Paris's culinary scene. So for a few days a year, a selection of balades or routes comprising 15 or so venues are established in different arrondissements, where participants pay just €2 to sample cooking – hors d'oeuvres – in restaurants, bistros, food stores, bakeries and bars. From vegetable samosas in Barbès to noodles in Chinatown and salmon tartar by the Eiffel Tower, the range of cuisines and the calibre of talents involved is something really special.
For its fourth edition, you can test dishes from 400 restaurants across 16 participating arrondissements, some of the highlights being a chlorophyll-infused Gould’s razor shell (a South Asian mollusc), truffle roasted ham or hot dogs served in a crab cream sauce. And new this year, three gastronomic ‘villages’ will open every night of the event from 6pm-11pm: on the 24th, an organic foods village at the Halle Pajol in the 18th, on the 23rd a local produce village on the Place Moro Giafferi in the 14th and, on the last day of the event, a gourmet village along Rue de Général Renault in the 11th, showcasing the creations of up-and-coming Parisian chefs.
To take part, you need to pick up a free 'passport', available from participating venues, the reception of the Hôtel de Ville and the town halls of the relevant arrondissements in the run-up to the festival and during the days themselves.
For more information (in French), click here.