Have you ever traveled to a city just for a sandwich? With all of the incredible food in Paris, the last thing you might expect to find is a life-changing sandwich (that wasn’t falafel). But’s that’s exactly what happened when I first visited Chez Alain Miam Miam in the Marché des Enfants Rouges. And with news about it finding a new permanent home, I thought it might be fun to look back on the best little sandwich stand in Paris.
Pizza may be my first love but sandwiches are close behind. I have traveled great distances to taste po’ boys in New Orleans, panini in Florence, chicken sandwiches in Oakland, kebabs in Berlin, and now I can add Chez Alain Miam Miam to my list. (I’ve been there three times and counting!)
Just don’t expect to just roll into Marché des Enfants Rouges and be strolling out with a sandwich in five minutes. If you really want to enjoy a sandwich, you should plan an extra few hours into your schedule.
If you can come when he first opens, it might be the best strategy. The other skill you need when going to Chez Alain Miam Miam? Lots of patience. The line moves slowly because each crepe or sandwich is carefully constructed and cooked to perfection. With only a couple of griddles to use, there’s not a lot of space so even just a few orders can take a long time.
You have to wait your turn in line, but Alain is a character, sharing stories as he carefully composes your sandwich or crepe. I find the experience to be half of the fun and I’m not usually a big fan of lines.
Chez Alain offers both buckwheat crepes (called “Galettes”) and sandwiches. The crepes are worth ordering with choices that include ham stuffed beauties and delicious (and healthy) vegetarian options. But don’t fill up on them, because the main attraction is the sandwich.
The beef is excellent but I think the jambon cru might be my favorite. The saltiness of the ham (think French prosciutto) mixed with the fresh toppings like tomato, lettuce, avocado or mushrooms makes for a sublime bite.
Top it with your choice of Comté or Cantal cheese that Alain will shave by hand right on top of your sandwich. Then he places them on the griddle for a good long toasting. Have a bottle of wine ready and grab a seat in the market or head to the nearby park Square du Temple. Lunch is served!