Thanks to lunch at Les Bouquinistes, my relationship with Paris is still in its honeymoon stage!

After a string of sleepless nights due to our noisy neighbors, whose nocturnal habits are starting to make us think that we're living under a family of vampires, and a frustrating visit to the bureau of motor vehicles, where a petty bureaucrat found one reason after another to deny the applications for our French driver's licenses, Stéphane and I were sure that the honeymoon stage of our relationship with Paris had come to an abrupt end.

Grumbling about wasted mornings and rigid French rules, we made our way to Les Bouquinistes, a Guy Savoy restaurant, and bemoaned our fate. Gone were the rose-tinted glasses with which we had lovingly viewed the city and all of its inhabitants as we felt ourselves rapidly approaching the next stage of culture shock - rejection of the country in which we live.

As it was already past lunchtime, we decided to have something to eat before completely renouncing all things French and quickly settled on the three-course Menu du Marché with a glass of wine for 31 €. While sipping my Sauvignon Blanc and gazing at the outdoor booksellers next to the Seine, I started to feel something akin to affection for Paris. Reminding myself that I still didn't have a French driver's license, I steeled my resolve to resist her charms.

Carpaccio de queue de boeuf, rémoulade de légumes racines
Filet de bar à la planche, purée de brocolis, choux, romanesco
Joue de boeuf braisée, pommes grenaille et légumes étuvés
Saveur figue-framboise
I would have succeeded if our lunch wouldn't have been so delicious from start to finish and if the service had not been so aimable and professional. Admittedly, there was a slight problem when one of the servers dropped a sauce spoon on the tablecloth during the second course, but they quickly moved us to another table with a better view. And to seal our fate, we were told that our meal was on the  house when we asked for the bill. As we left with smiles on our faces, our servers said that they hoped that we would return to Les Bouquinistes. We certainly will - it's the perfect place to go for lunch whether you're in love with Paris or not.

53 Quai des grands Augustins
75006 Paris
Tel: 01 43 25 45 94
Tarte à la mangue


  1. Glad to hear that you've cheered up! That lunch sounds and looks fantastic, and on the house too.
    I'm sorry to hear about your noisy neighbours and hope the disturbancs stop soon. It's awful when you can't sleep. We've occasionally been woken up by owls settling on the window ledge and hooting, once by a lost donkey, and in spring it's a pleasure to be disturbed by a nightingale bellowing down the chimney. Generally, though, the neighbours, all wild ones here in quiet Creuse, are very well behaved.

  2. Free lunch- lucky you!
    Maybe your upstairs neighbors are partying with our upstairs neighbors, who also seem to way more nocturnal than are we!

  3. Ah, I know the restaurant well, well not well, but I have dined there, for dinner many moons ago. I was taking an American friend to Paris since he had never been, we went for five days and stayed around the corner from Le Bookiniste, as I recalled it being spelled. We had a great time, closing the restaurant as I am often to do. But it wasn't on the house--what good fortune for you!

    I'm in Cincy, can't sleep either. Oh well, that's family.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Why was the meal on the house? Because he dropped the spoon?? I've had servers sneeze on me here and not so much offer me a free espresso..I must go to some real seedy joints! Geez.

    Will def. check this place out..the prix fix meal sounds fantastic..and hey, I got into grad school yesterday so I need to celebrate!!!

  5. Steph, It sounds as if I need to make a trip to your gîte in Creuse to get a good night's sleep. Your wild neighbors would be a welcome change of pace from the really wild ones in the city!

    Kate, Sorry to say, but it's good to know that we're not the only ones in Paris with noisy nocturnal neighbors.

    Joseph, I was wondering what you would think of the server's "oops" moment. After reassuring the waiter that it could have happened to anyone, Stephane had a good time teasing him because he had asked if Stephane wanted his sauce on top of the meat or to the side. Stephane told him that he thought that he meant to the side of the meat and not to the side of the plate.

    Have a great time with your family in Cincinnati!

    Ella, Congratulations on getting into grad school!!! As soon as I read your comment, I looked for more info on your blog. Please post details ASAP. Will you stay in Paris or return to the States? Cheers - I'll drink a glass of wine in your honor!

    We were also really surprised when they said that the meal was on the house. It's seems so un-French! Once a waiter at another restaurant studied our uneaten food and said that it looked really bad. After shrugging his shoulders, he said, "Oui, c'est comme ca...some days the chefs have better days than others".

  6. Hi Mary Kay,

    The "oops" moments happen, you just have to go with them, and with a little humor is always good. Good of Stephane to be so accommodating. At my first job as a waiter I only ever dropped one thing: a small bowl of green beans (a side) on a lady dining with a bus tour group. I don't recall the recovery or anything, only the fact that I had spilled a dish. It's always been very rare for me. HA!


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