Monday, 13 August 2012

Chartier Restaurant, Paris

I've just returned from a short holiday and want to quickly jot down my praise for one of my highlights. On our trip we had our first visit to the Costa del Sol in Spain to attend a wedding in Gibraltar. Nice apes, the Alhambra at Granada is a sight to behold, Ronda is lovely and had me picking Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" off the shelf for the first time in years. Then a few days in Paris, climbing every tall structure in the city and taking our first trip into the catacombs at the request of our children, which was excellent by the way.

However there were two highlights for us. For my three children it was competing with each other to be the next to spot a mosaic by the street artist/ graffiti artist "Invader" (more on that another time). For me the highlight was getting to go back to Chartier Restaurant again. I'll do a quick blog to extol its virtues as I'm amazed to find when I mentioned it on twitter from Paris that only my brother had heard of it!

Since 1869 they've been preparing decent French food at decent prices, with phenomenally good service here. The first time I was taken there was as a 9 year old on a "Paris Travel" coach holiday to the city and it made a lasting impression on me. The elegant dining room with it's hat stands and mirrored walls, the cramped tables where a stranger is likely to be sharing a table with you once it starts to fill up and the waiters memory skills and tradition of annotating your order on the paper tablecloth, then jotting down the addition to work out your bill. When I went there last week, over 30 years since my first visit, none of that had changed and I sat with a smile on my face through the whole meal.

It is across from metro station Grands Boulevards, up a short courtyard at 7 rue du Fauboug Montmartre. It opens at 6pm most evenings, but get there early if you don't want to queue, however the queue moves along quickly.
Inside it looks like a made up Parisian cafe should, but it is all genuine and the interior is listed so
unlikely to change. Every time I've been to Paris since that first trip with my parents I've made a point of returning to Chartier's and everything that I liked about my first visit is still the same today on my umpteenth visit.

The menu changes regularly but here is the menu on the day we were there.

It is all standard French fare, but well cooked and reasonably priced and I could happily spend a whole week going back every day to work my way through it. The wine by the glass, pichet or bottle is tasty and inexpensive.
Trying to expose my children to maximum Frenchness they started with snails, whilst I ordered the steak tartare (raw minced beef, onions, capers, etc I think and it went down very nicely too, thank you for asking).
 We all had a great time, great food and for the five of us to have three courses plus wine and coffees it came to about 120 Euros, the addition scrawled on the tablecloth as usual.
"Your bill, sir"

Anyway, here ends my public service announcement. If you have been to Paris and haven't been to Chartier's I think you are missing a treat. We left fairly early in the evening as the service is quick but this was the queue outside as we were leaving.

You have been warned.

1 comment:

  1. Nice one, old memories, I was there as a young innocent 18 year old many years ago, I think on the recommendation of your mum & dad. Glad to see things are much the same.


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