France’s Moment in the Sun on Book Hill

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Desserts at Pâtisserie Poupon. Courtesy Pâtisserie Poupon.

Just as Japan had its celebration in D.C. last month around the cherry blossoms, it’s now time for France to have its moment in the sun on D.C. streets. Enter the 14th annual Georgetown French Market, a weekend festival that will take place April 28 to 30. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Located right in Georgetown’s Book Hill neighborhood, the streets will almost transform into the Avenue des Champs-Élysées as more than 40 shops, boutiques, galleries, salons and other locally run establishments sell their wares — many at good-for-the-wallet discounts.

Besides all of the to-die-for shopping, the market and festivities include street performers, a photo booth, jugglers, giveaways, art exhibitions, traditional French music and lively gypsy jazz. The event is hosted in partnership with the Georgetown Business Improvement District.

Most obviously, this will leave you pretty hungry. Within a baguette’s throw are several fantastic eateries to sate that post-shopping appetite.

Refreshing and thematically appropriate, Pâtisserie Poupon is a great go-to French café. Come in for something light and flaky, like a croissant, or something a bit heartier, like the six types of quiches. Keep it fresh with the melange of salads, from a Niçoise to a tropical chicken mango. The café is also celebrated for its sweets. You’d be remiss to miss out on a tart, Napoleon or heavenly macaron.

Quick and delicious, right there is Jaco Juice and Taco Bar. Handy enough to take with you while perusing the market, it’s still all about the quality ingredients. If you’re there early, we recommend the quinoa or acai breakfast bowls. Later on, though, it’s all tacos. Try the fish with North Atlantic cod, the slow-roasted pork or the veggie options. Before heading out, grab a fresh juice to go.

On the next block south is Los Cuates, another Mexican gem on Wisconsin. With locations in Old Town and Adams Morgan, it’s like a D.C. institution. It’s a bit more formal than Jaco, so a great spot if you have some more time on your hands after picking up the latest fashion piece. Be sure to order the guac made right in the traditional molcajete bowl before digging into enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, fajitas and other entrees. We recommend a fresh marg, as well.

For taste on the other side of the globe, there’s Zannchi, serving innovative Korean fare. Innovative and with an eye for the vegetarians, Zannchi focuses on small plates, stone rice bowls and rolls. Dig into one of the most popular Korean dishes, bibimbap, a mix of meat, vibrant and colorful veggies, and a just-cooked egg. LIke Jaco, it’s casual, so you can get that lunch and head back out to the market.

Just next door is Via Umbria, the café, shop and market, when you need a taste of Italy. It’s also perfect for an on-the-go meal. Enjoy a sandwich on fresh, just-baked bread with hard-to-find artisanal cheeses and local produce or recharge with an espresso or a bubbly Italian soda. And the wine — don’t leave without picking up a bottle.

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