Monday, 21 October 2013

{Bouillon Chartier}

Last Saturday, we were looking to go some place special for supper. We wanted a memory as well as a meal, and we wanted to find somewhere authentically French - especially since it was Ian's first time in the country. Enter, Bouillon Chartier. This brasserie in the 9th arrondissement dates all the way back to 1896. At an apéro earlier that evening my friends recommended it as the best traditionally French restaurant in Paris - so a few glasses of champagne later, we headed into the centre to check it out. 

You can't reserve at Bouillon Chartier, you just pitch up and hope you'll be able to snag a table before they stop letting people in (10.30pm). As we stood shivering in the endless queue, I really didn't think we'd make it. My Parisienne friend Clementine had informed Ian earlier that since it was his first time in Paris, he could make a wish. Well, you can guess what he wished for... we were suddenly plucked from the line by the hostess and guided inside. Success! 

Inside, the restaurant is gigantic! There's tables squeezed in every which way, and traditionally-dressed waiters zooming around the dining room, scribbling orders on the tablecloths (like Wagamamas, but more French.) All this makes for a very jolly atmosphere, with patrons at their tables bursting into birthday song every few minutes. After ordering more champagne (when in Paris..!) we settled down to business: the menu.  

It's only in French so if you're a novice you run the risk of ordering something questionable.. but I'm sure the waiter can recommend something delicious without tentacles. I knew exactly what I was going for - Confit de Canard, aka the best dish in the world...

Ian shied away from the snails despite my enthusiastic encouragement, and went for the steak-frites like a real man...

The food at Bouillon Chartier is nothing mind-blowingly, just yummy French food. The real selling point is the buzzing atmosphere and the amount of locals who frequent the joint. Also, the price tag is ridiculously cheap for such a beloved restaurant - about €10 for a main. For me, the pièce de résistance was the choux pastry, filled with vanilla ice-cream and hot chocolate sauce. Almost too good to share...

To minimise our food babies, we strolled back home via the Louvre, which I must say is even more striking at night than it is in the day, when it's overrun with tourists. The perfect end to an evening!

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