Café Campana at the Musée d'Orsay Paris
After an inspiring stroll through the new Impressionist Gallery on Level 5 of the Musée d'Orsay you arrive at the breath taking new new Pavilion Amont, the station's former engine house, and the Café Campana with futuristic décor by the Brazilian Campana Brothers. It is a provocative jumble of orange twisted coated wire fencing, sea anemone chairs by Edra, gold laser-cut lampshades resembling bells and the magnificent station clock as the focal point. This restaurant/cafe is not to be missed on a trip to Paris! Make sure that you sit facing the clock as you can actually see the hands moving and you have a beautiful view of the city of Paris. I had the most delicious salad – Comme une Niçoise with heart of cos lettuce, cherry tomato, anchovy filet, potato, tuna, hard-boiled egg and olives. See the menu here.
Cafe Flottes, 2 rue Cambon Paris
I fell in love with this Paris restaurant. It was close to my Hotel and it is on the same block as Chanel’s original store at 31 rue Cambon. Flottes serves the best home cooked French food in a casual atmosphere, and it is a favourite with the local Parisians; and rightly so. The atmosphere is bustling and friendly and the food is
simple, robust and excellent. I ate there three nights in a row and every night I had a glass of their Bordeaux wine with the special of the day followed by desert and an espresso of course. I had, respectively, the Beef bourguignon, Confit de canard, Piece de boeuf de Salers with béarnaise sauce and frites. For desert I had, two nights in a row because it was so good, tarte des demoiselles Tatin with crème fraîche - an upside down caramelized apple tart. I wish I had taken pictures of my food but I was too busy eating it. You can see the menu here. They also have a cookbook which I wanted to buy but my suitcase was already full. A nice touch to the restaurant is that Mademoiselle Flottes was bustling around the restaurant all three nights I ate there.
Le Grand Colbert, 2 rue Vivienne Paris
On my visit to Paris I wanted to eat at Le Grand Colbert in Paris because of the history of the restaurant dating back to 1637, and the name taken from Louis XIV’s finance minister, a man well versed in cuisine, and also because my girlfriend had her wedding dinner at this restaurant….and if that is not enough, it is Le Grand Colbert restaurant is in the movie with Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, and Jack Nicholson – Something’s Gotta Give. Well the food was not the best I had eaten in Paris, but I ended up having a great time, as I spent the evening in conversation with the German couple sitting next to me who were in Paris for the Chanel haute couture fashion show at the Grand Palais that very day. They have been haute couture customers of Chanel’s for quite a few years and get an invitation to the show twice a year, as well as going to the famous Chanel workroom on 31 rue Cambon the day after the show to choose the pieces from the collection that will be custom made to measure for Mademoiselle. I found myself living vicariously through them; their telling me about the show, the background of haute couture, the goings on behind the scenes, etc. The show this year (I don’t know how Karl Lagerfeld does it) tops all other shows. It was set in an airplane and there were two shows back to back – one for the haute couture customers (of which there are merely 200 in the whole world) and the other show for the press. You never know who will be sitting beside you when you dine in Paris. You can download an app to your iPhone or iPad of the fashion show here. Oh, and Mademoiselle has promised to send me photos when her haute couture gowns arrive!
Au 35, 35 Rue Jacob
The restaurant Au 35, was recommended to me by the concierge at my Hotel at the last minute. I asked for something simple and easy as it was my last evening in Paris. Au 35 was a 5 minute walk from my Hotel. When I walked into Au 35 I instantly felt good about the place. It was cozy and authentic, and featured delicious French food made with the freshest ingredients. The entree I had was probably one of the best seafood dishes I have ever tasted, and I mean seriously, it was superb. It was a piece of local white fish on a bed of the most delicious tasting potatoes. It is one of those dishes I will dream of at night and when I think of it, I will be transported back in time to that moment in Paris. My entree was listed on the chalkboard menu as: Filet de julienne à la pomme de terre ceraxi. For desert I had crème brûlée with salted butter fudge – yumm!
Au Sauvignon, 80 Rue des Saints-Pères
This wine bar, Au Sauvignon, was recommended by the concierge at my Hotel. He says it is a place that he likes to go to with his friends for a drink before dinner of going to the theatre. It is one of he busiest and most chic spots in Paris, thanks to its location in the heart of the Left Bank, nestled among small designer boutiques and art galleries, just a stone's throw away from Au Bon Marché and across the street from Hermes’ newest store. The specialties are its tartines, or open-faced sandwiches made from pain poilâne and a single page of the compact menu and offers whites, reds and a few rosés, either by the glass or bottle.
A steep staircase leading up to the restrooms at Au Sauvignon displays a clutter of posters celebrating the arrival of new vintages of Beaujolais, cartoon, caricatures, and paintings of Paris, including one of the bar itself. Amongst all this it’s easy to miss an inconspicuous hanging metal sign displaying the maxim “Le prix attire la clientele, la qualité seule la retient” – The price attracts the customer; only the quality brings them back.
If you have had the pleasure of eating at any of these Paris restaurants, please let me know your experience by leaving a comment here.
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