Subject: Re: Paris Restaurants
Hi Jonathan and Frances How about 8.30pm Wednesday. Options are, Le Gavroche, No 19 Rue St Marc (Montmatre/Opera), or La Fermette Marbeuf 1900 (Off Champs-Elysees).

A number of neighbours have recommended Le Gavroche. Said it was a non tourist Bistrot, where they only heard French being spoken. They thought it was an unknown local restaurant. I note the following entry on the net, but cannot open it:

1france: A Parisian Institution: Les Bistrots Vin ... is found in a turn-of-the-century poster at Le Gavroche, one of the best bistrots vins in Paris: WINE BANISHES SADNESS, reads the banner, and this is one ... Probably around 200ff a head... approx.

Then there is La Fermette Marbeuf. We went there in 2000. In a street lined with restaurants (leading off the Champs Elysees), it was the only one fully booked out when we arrived (we had a booking. It turned tables while we were there, and was still close to full when we left at close to mid-night. All other restaurants in the street were then closed. Probably around 400ff per head.

Arrived half an hour late, which was probably a good thing. While service was initially slow, it meant we were able to linger for hours in the most amazing belle epoch restaurant. The story goes that in 1975 or thereabouts, they were tearing down a masonite and formica wall to extend a room in a lunch cafeteria, when they discovered this amazing painted glass, tile and wrought iron walls and ceilings, in belle epoch style. They decided to take their time and restore the room in its entirety. In 1982, an inspector from a government department paid them a visit, inspected the room and announced that he had discovered another identical room in another part of Paris, and the building was to be demolished. The owner bought the room at auction, and took two years to move it and reconstruct in an adjoining room at the restaurant. In 1983 it was listed by the Government, and opened as a restaurant in 1985. Can't even begin to describe the decor-just wonderful. We took photographs and were given photographs by the staff. All the painted glass ceilings and walls are back lit, and there are only a few very small spotlights to accentuate the wrought iron columns, so the lighting is subtle. Even the photographs won't do it justice, but for some strange reason, while I find it hard to picture in my minds' eye some of the wonderful impressionist art of that afternoon, I have no difficulty seeing these wonderful rooms-particularly the one we dined in. And then there was the food!!!! A gin and tonic for Ches and my Vodka on ice were slow in coming-but what the hell, we had this room to drink in. Wine is a real killer in France-for the most part I could be drinking cask wine for all I knew, but there is little for under 380ff. A French passenger on our flight from Hong Kong had warned that the price of wine is steep because of government taxes. To be honest, the wine we had at both the Eiffel Tower and la Fermette was no better than most $20.00 wines back home. The food however, was something else again. Ches started with a Tarte Legumes (A tart with summer vegetables and basil) which she said was delicious. I had Terrine Volaille, (Chicken livers coarsely chopped rather than a smooth pate)-wonderful. For mains Ches had the Magret Canard (Duck with mango and ginger) while I had Selle Agneau (Saddle of Lamb with snake beans). For desert we had Delice (soft chocolate cake-somewhat like a mouse), mine with mandarin-I couldn't help myself: it was my jaffa heritage coming to the fore. We lingered over coffee, and noticed that the tables all turned at least once (except for ours). It was full when we arrived, and the twenty restaurants we had passed on our way down the street were barely half full. On leaving, our dining room was still close to full, but the other restaurants were now empty. It really is one of THE restaurants of Paris.

Anyone else have a preference for this GTG. Cheers Gavin