Yeah, did you recover from Kraftwerk yet?
Fresh off the Eurostar (possibly via a nap), here’s some post Paris thoughts.
Thanks everyone for the recommendations. Sorry I didn’t get to use most of them!
I am starting to see what Jay Rayner means when he says you can get better French food in London than Paris (however, house/btg wine in Paris is WAY better). Food was solid, but generally not special. While most restaurants have some very fancy wines on their lists, they get very surprised when you actually try to buy them. Joyless pale splats (buratta) have infected Paris menus too. Paris at the end of August was pretty nice. While around a third of things were closed, there were less people and it was pretty nice temperature wise (33 when we arrived, but otherwise 27-30ish with a light breeze and sunny).
Right. The juicy bits.
When I said not spectacular, that’s not entirely true. There was this bad boy on Thursday evening. Chapeau @robertd, Atelier Roulière did indeed have the meaty stuff the old name suggests. That was apparently for two people, but defeated us. It did prove (as every small person knows) the existence of the “pudding stomach” as this also happened.
It was all washed down with a carafe of their 2011 St Emilion, which had a lot more age and typicity than a house wine usually does.
Friday was dominated by recovering from the steak and heading over to Parc St Cloud to for a day of Rock En Seine (both Kraftwerk and Nick Cave were stunning!) food was a quickly scoffed salade nicoise from nowhere in particular.
Saturday lunch arrived and we were on the edge of the ultratouristic bit of the latin quarter mostly full of Asian fusion, pizza and places trying to sell Alpine food in 30 heat. Luckily we stumbled upon and oyster bar (called Opium, which is a really bad name for an oyster bar), so we ate a big pile of them washed down with some fizz. This carried us through to an evening meal at La Mediteranee. A Bib Gourmondy seafood place by the Odeon. This is the night we’d decided to let me near the wine list which lead to seafood and Bourgogne Blanc. Crab with white gazpacho and then red mullet with bacon and artichoke. All very good but as mentioned earlier, not special. Bourgogne Blanc came in the form of something a little fancier than that.
2017 Beaune PC Greve from Domane Jacques Prieur. Not a producer I’d had before but some of my favourite Chardonnay has come from that vineyard so I thought I’d give it a go. Very much towards the meursault style with lots of buttery fat, ripe almonds and peach/peach stone, something slightly floral to start with a little bit of musk on the finish. Lots of nom.
Sunday involve tourist priced Breton galettes for brunch and then prioritising pretty for location. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures, but Bouillon Racine was like eating dinner in an Alphonse Mucha painting! The menu was one of the few places that seem to have even remotely considered that it was summer and the steak tartare (unfortunately not prepared at the table) was dressed with citrus and basil which made it a much lighter dish. The house Bordeaux was a house Bordeaux. Worth a trip for the pretty, the food was again good, but not amazing (and 35€ set menu was the whole menu as long as you didn’t want steak, which was reasonable and definitely worth the extra fiver over other places for setting and quality).
Nestled among the English pubs, Falafel places and sex shops at the north end of Rue St Denis is a natural wine/champagne bar called Ma Cave Fluery.
Before heading for dinner (at Le Train Bleu as we’d decided after the night before to prioritise pretty (and open/bookable)) we had a champagne fleury flight. We were served their zero dosage, their standard cuvee and a 2011 sans sulphur oddity. The zero dosage was my favourite by a long way. It was around 85% Pinot Noir with the rest being Chardonnay. It had a crisp almost chablis like minerality to it without losing any of its champagneness. It was a lovely bar, and if we’d not already booked dinner I’m sure we’d have stayed and got drunk.
Le Train Bleu, as @NW3Andre says is so very very pretty. Also serves plenty of theatre with both food and clientele. I have never seen such an array of ideas of dress in one restaurant, from full evening wear and ball gowns down to people looking like they were about to go to a club to jeans and t shirts and pretty much everything else you can imagine in between. Food was French classics served with the classic theatre (tartare at the table, flambe done in front of you), was good but not great and the wine waiter brought me a glass of their house Bourgogne rouge instead of the Aloxe Corton I’d ordered (which turned up on the bill).
I thoroughly enjoyed every meal I had and enjoyed Paris a lot more than I usually do. Next time I’ll go at a time when some more of the recommendations are open and/or I get my act together to reserve a few of them!
Other highlights of the trip included crowd not seeming to have much experience of the (deliberately retro) 3D and completely loosing it at the Kraftwerk show when anything came out of the screen at them. Aimelss wandering finding us in bits of Paris that aren’t really anything, but turn it into a place where people live rather than a theme park. Not-Called-Mrs-Pig’s favourite genre of art being ugly babies painted/sculpted by artists who’ve clearly never seen a baby before, so we had a great time at Le Louvre without having to deal with things like queueing for the Mona Lisa. Walking back along the Seine on Monday evening and there being several groups of people with sound systems set up, either for social dancing (I’d say salsa, but there wasn’t a single couple doing the same form of dance, they were just having a good time) and an afrobeat band, among others.
I still hate the Metro though. It is objectively worse than the Tube in every way imaginable.
Sounds like you had an excellent weekend
Good to know that Atelier Roulière has still got it. We too, have shared one of those in the past. Or strictly speaking, like you, most of one of those. They packed up the remains in tinfoil which they made into the shape of a handbag, and we snacked on it the next day
But there’s the RER rather than the endless stops on the Circle line. And the views from Line 6.
Thank you for your restaurant reviews.
Entirely true. In all fairness, I really hate the tube too.
Quick one: any good wine shops near Gare du Lyon / Bastille areas? Seeing if I can spot some Ogier or Foillard.
Yes. Le Train Bleu has a beautiful interior not to be missed but recent experience gave me doubts about the food. It’s OK but nothing to write home about in my opinion. Of course they are serving a large clientele and a fairly wide a la carte so one might make some allowance but it’s overpriced despite the interior and theatre imo.
Haven’t been to Le Train Bleu for a long time, but last time I went I thought the food was heavily over-salted, and didn’t enjoy it much. Seemed as if they were just trying hard to get us to drink more.
Not really my part of town, but if I’m in the area there are two places that a great to stop at for a glass and to pick up a couple of interesting bottles to take home.
- Le Barav wine shop and wine bar (you buy the bottle in the shop and pay to have it opened in the bar) https://maps.app.goo.gl/KedbErPqwuBczWui9
- Folderol ice cream and wine bar with interesting bottles for sale in the shop portion. https://maps.app.goo.gl/rhsy82HAMYyMPXDh6 I managed to buy a few bottles of delicious but rare Domaine de l’Anglore when I was last there.
I’m sure there are lots of other good shops around there that I have yet to discover though so if you find any let me know.