Destinations Magazine

Regardez! Les Francais!

By Thedublindiary @TheDublinDiary
My warning may come a little late!
Over the centuries Dublin has been inundated with French invaders! Beginning in the twelfth century with the arrival of the Anglo-French barons at the behest of Diarmuid Mac Murrough the French have been arriving in our capital, maybe not in hoards but in a steady but noticeable trickle!
The most influential group of French visitors to arrive were undoubtedly the Huguenots. They came en mass in the seventeenth century and settled in the areas around the Liberties. We owe the origins of many trades in that area to them notably baking, glass blowing and cloth manufacture. Place names such as Digges Lane, Fumbally Lane and D'Olier Street all have Huguenot origins.

Regardez! Les Francais!

The Huguenot Cemetery off Merrion Row.

French settlers in Dublin helped shape the city. Richard Gandon the architect responsible for the Custom House and The Four Courts was of French origin as was Richard Cassells who designed Leinster House. Other famous Irish people of French descent included John Rocque, Francis Beaufort and Samuel Beckett. The first governor of the Central Bank and several Lord Mayors were also French. Yes, my warning was much, much too late!
One of my own favorite French residents in Dublin has to be French Foodie in Dublin and at the end of last year I had the pleasure of joining one of her tours and being led through the more French parts of my city.

Regardez! Les Francais!

Trés chic! 

We started with a fantastic lunch in La Maison. The fee for the tour was worth it for this meal alone! We began with little hors d'oeuvre like tapenade and sundried tomatoes before tucking into some coq au vin that was three days in the making! Magnifique!

Regardez! Les Francais!

Nibbles to start with in La Maison.

Regardez! Les Francais!

Stunning coq au vin.

We followed Ketty and her baguette through streets packed with Christmas shoppers to Sheridan's Cheese Mongers where we were treated to a little overview of the French products they stock and also some tasty treats of cheese and pickles. Délicieux!

Regardez! Les Francais!

Lots of French goodies from Sheridan's.

Without any hanging around we were onto our next stop, the Wine Cellar of Fallon & Byrne, where we were greeted by David the sommelier. He had three wines for us to taste and as a special treat we got to sample some Beaujolais Nouveau that had just been launched a couple of days before. C'est chouette, non?
As much as we would all have loved to spend a couple more hours sipping wine Ketty herded us all together and directed us out the door and onwards towards Cocoa Atelier. We tried some of their delicious chocolate macaroons, I've been dreaming about them ever since! They are the only chocolate in the shop imported from France, the owner wanted the best and that's definitely what they've got. Incroyable! I don't think anyone left the shop without picking up some extra chocolate!
All too soon our French experience was at an end. We said our au revoirs and were surprised by a little gift from Ketty at the end (I'm not telling what it is, you'll have to take her tour to find out!) For a little while I was somewhere decidedly French but all of a sudden I was back in Dublin!

Regardez! Les Francais!

A little bit of Paris in Dublin!

So Ketty is our latest French invader! I'm definitely not complaining, long may it last! I loved every minute spent on my French Foodie Tour. Ketty is such a natural host and made us all feel like the best of friends. Tours start again on Saturday 18th of January and I hear the first one is nearly fully booked. I'm definitely considering going again if even just to taste more of the wonderful cooking from La Maison! Believe it or not the only time they serve their wonderful coq au vin is for Ketty's tours!
To book follow this link.

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