The weekend saw us in Paris. We were there to have lunch with our son to celebrate his significant birthday which meant that this was to be an event. Over the previous weeks we had debated as to where would be good to eat, in a large group, on a Saturday lunch time in Paris. The answer we came up with was “nowhere”. Restaurants and brasseries wanted information as to time, numbers and food choices: questions that were too precise for a party such as ours to answer. Saturday lunch time is a bad time to eat in any European city, and Paris is no different. I thought that the old establishment of Chartier would suit admirably. Bouillon Chartier does not take reservations and the food that they serve is simple bistro food. There’s no room for confusion in that equation. The food is not in any way special, but the atmosphere is. It’s worth being there if you’re in Paris for 3 or 4 hours as you will feel that you have been in Paris for those few hours, which with many smarter establishment will not be the case. You will also have a fuller wallet for the professional pickpockets who, unlike the rest of us, do not have the weekend off. They are working flat out and will be grateful of the extra money in your pockets that Chartier did not take.
I had hoped to make a pictorial record of our visit to Chartier with my phone. Even writing those words confuses me so my chances of success were fat and none. Although I have fully embraced digital photography and the software for manipulating these images, when confronted with the camera in a portable phone I am like a drunk eating hot soup with a knife and fork. Because of this ineptitude I am illustrating this post with pictures from my archives, which I created with a camera rather than a telephone, of the style of food that could be enjoyed at this restaurant….although it would have been nice if the restaurant had made the dishes look as good, but that’s not the point of this restaurant. The point is size and noise and serveurs in long aprons under art deco lights reflected in the huge mirrors on the walls. The point is the red and white checked table cloths, simple base metal cutlery, paris goblets, carafes of passable wine, and piles of bread in baskets. The point is that I didn’t take any successful pictures with a telephone. I could have telephoned you and told you all this but I couldn’t show you a single picture…..I could show you several pictures, but I’d prefer to say that someone else took them.