On our most recent trip to France, one of our local guides clued us in to a really special experience--one that just oozes classic Parisian charm.
Bouillon Chartier, or simply Chartier, is a "bouillon" restaurant in Paris founded in 1896, located in the 9th arrondissement, just off of the Grands Boulevard Metro station. For more than 120 years, it's been serving classic French food, in Belle Époque style. It's one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, and In 1989 it was formally classified as a monument historique.
There will almost certainly be a line to get in, but if you happen to be dining alone, you're likely to move to the head of the line pretty quickly. That's because all tables are communal--you'll be seated next to, or even across from complete strangers.
The menu is classic French cuisine. Steak Frites, duck confit, escargot, paté, you name it, they've got it. The quality is pretty good--it's not necessarily going to be the best meal you'll have in Paris, but if you stick with the recommendations from your waiter (clad in white shirt, black trousers with a long white apron--right out of central casting), you'll have a pretty good meal.
It's not expensive, either. In fact, compared to the price of a similar meal in New York, it's a downright bargain, particularly when you factor in that you're having a really fun, unique experience. The wine was a good value as well. And, when you're done with your meal, the waiter will tally your bill by adding it up on the white paper tablecloth--just as they've done since the 1890's.
I had so much fun on my first visit (even though I dined alone), that when friends arrived in Paris to meet up with me a few days later, we went back...and had even more fun together!
If you're thinking about a trip to Paris, make sure you build in a visit to Chartier. And give us a call so that we can help you plan your visit!