Tour de France Week: San Francisco's French Flavors
The Tour de France is upon us - the biggest bike race in the world and one of the biggest sporting spectacles to occur annually. We at Parker Dusseau love The Tour de France - what is not to love about a three week long bike race that crosses the gorgeous countryside of France, a land of great fashion, cuisine and culture.
Disappointed to not make it this year, we thought "Why not have bring the Tour de France here?" Heads were scratched, stomachs rumbled and we put together a cycling tour of San Francisco to some of our favorite spots.
Downtown: Café de la Presse, Notre Dame des Victoires
It seemed obvious to start the day with an easy spin towards downtown, where we'd meet our friend Vincent, native to Dijon and longtime resident of San Francisco. Brunch at Café de la Press nails the the Parisian sidewalk ambiance, with equally good food. We spoke to Vincent about living in San Francisco versus France, and it is clear why there are so many French in the city. Often considered the most European of any American city, SF espouses a joie de vivre and relaxed style that many French must find familiar and welcoming. His biggest qualm? Trains of course.
Dogpatch: Olivier's Butchery
Vincent pointed us in the direction of Olivier's Butchery, a fantastic meatshop in the Dogpatch that we didn't know about. Olivier's is quoted saying “It’s a great life when you have great food.” and we couldn't agree more. The display of sausage, côte de beouf, pork loin and more had us salivating enough to take home a few cuts for later. All of their meat is fresh, organic, local and well chosen.
The Richmond: Arsicault Bakery and the Legion of Honor
Already the afternoon and not a single pastry? Crossing the city from the Dogpatch to the Richmond calls for a recharge, and there is no better place than Arsicault Bakery, home of San Francisco's best tasting and flakiest croissants. It is so good that we stop there every Tuesday morning after our Headlands loop. The original Arsicault Bakery opened in France by the owner's great-grandparents at the beginning of the 20th century, memorialized by their original delivery cart.
The Legion of Honor, one of San Francisco's best museums seems rarely visited for its relative distance. By bike however it was no problem, a quick ten minute spin from Arsicault offering gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Thanks to Vincent, we learned the building's beautiful history. In 1915, during the San Francisco Panama Pacific International Exhibition, Alma Spreckels fell in love with the French Pavillion, a replica of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris. Luckily, her husband was a sugar magnate and she convinced him to build a replica that stands today as both an art museum and monument to the 3,600 soldiers from California who lost their lives during the first world war in France.