Paris Notebook

CaffĂ© dei Cioppi, a delightful Italian restaurant in Paris

Posted in 11th Arrondissement,Terraces by Phyllis Flick on July 3, 2010
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Walking down the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, past the discount shoe shops and banal looking cafés, looking for number 159, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to eat outside in this neighborhood.  This stretch of road, like many busy thoroughfares, doesn’t have much to recommend. But turn left or right on a good number of streets and you’ll find a likable neighborhood, often overlooked by visitors.

And so it is with the Caffé dei Cioppi.  Enter the doorway of number 159 and instead of a storefront you’ll find a secluded alleyway lined with cobblestones and clinging vines. The unexpected loveliness of it all in contrast to the street you left behind makes it all the more appealing.

The voices overheard from the open kitchen on a recent spring night were Italian and the handwritten chalk board menu suggested market-driven Italian cuisine that changes often. Click Here to Keep Reading


Paris: Outdoor cafĂ©s to get away from it all

Sidewalk cafĂ©s literally abound in Paris and can be found on just about every corner; since winters here can be grey and even a bit gloomy, it’s no surprise that at the first hint of Spring, Parisians come out en mass. Every terrace is overflowing, but too often these precious parcels of land are just steps from the street, with the whiz of scooters and haze of pollution as a backdrop, not exactly a refuge of calm by any means. However, if you know where to look, you can find little pockets of quietness, hidden away from the bustle of big city life.

The following are a few of my favorite outdoor spots on the right bank for some peace and quiet, a bit off the tourist track.

The first is the Place Saint Marthe, a peaceful square at the top of the rue Saint Marthe, a colourful street lined with an eclectic mix of artist’s ateliers, cheap and cheerful restaurants, associations and apartments—some of which are pretty run down but it makes for an interesting mix. The square itself is lovely, with hardly any traffic and two very nice cafĂ©s/bistros which are perfect for drinks or a casual dinner en plein air when the weather gets warmer.

Another secluded spot in the 10th is CafĂ© A, located just steps away from the Gare de l’Est. Leave the seedy surroundings of the station and step inside the grounds of what was once a convent—and is now the la Maison de l’Architecture—and you’ll find a beautiful courtyard cafĂ©. It’s so calm that it’s hard to imagine that the Gare de l’Est is just outside its doorstep.

My next choice leads you to the Parc de Belleville, which is incidentally the highest park in Paris and offers a pretty amazing view. On a tranquil corner situated just in front of the park sits La Mer Ă  Boire. The food here is nothing special and the inside in pretty non-descript but the terrace over looking the park is especially peaceful and the view of Paris below is worth the trip.

Rosa Bonheur, as I’ve written before, is another idyllic spot, so idyllic in fact that half of Paris now flocks to it on the weekends. Last weekend the slopping hill just in front was so crowded that it looked more like the beaches of Saint Tropez, than an urban park. Nevertheless, even with the crowds, the Buttes Chaumont is so lovely that it remains one of my favourite places to get a way from it all and if you go early, you’ll avoid the crowds.

The banks of the Canal Saint Martin are another great place for a lazy afternoon in the sun, although you’ll have to head more towards Place Stalingrad if you want some peace and quiet as the banks around rue de Lancry can be quite crowded. For picnic fare you can pick up a bottle of wine at the Verre VolĂ©, order a pizza from Pink Flamingo (they’ll deliver it to the canal for you when it’s ready) or grab a sandwich from Chez Castro (which by the way has some of the best sandwiches in Paris).

There are also a few cafés along the canal which merit a detour. A few years ago, I would have included Point Ephémère, but it’s no longer a secret and the refugee camp that has blossomed a few feet away takes away from its charm unfortunately. Better to head to 25 Est on the Quai de la Loire or, better yet, to the Bar d’Ourq, where you can borrow a set of boules for a game of pétanque while you sit back with a glass of rosé.

So there you have it, a few of my picks to relax and soak up the sun on the next beautiful day in Paris.

Place Saint Marthe
Paris 10th

Café A
148-154, rue du Faubourg Saint Martin, Paris 10th

Mer Ă  Boire
1 Rue des Envierges, Paris 20th

Rosa Bonheur
2, allée de la Cascade, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Paris 19th

25 Est
Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad, Paris 19th

Bar d’Ourq
68, Quai de la Loire, Paris 19th

Coinstot Vino

This wine bar/cave Ă  manger, recently opened in the picturesque Passage Panorama,  is a welcome addition to the Paris wine scene.  Bright and airy with a great terrace in a quiet part of the passage, with the warm weather coming, it’s sure to be a hit.

Expect small plates of marinated anchovies, smoked fish, charcuterie, artisanal cheese, Isigny “special” oysters, sardines, and foie gras all washed down with a nice selection of vins naturels. A recent visit also included two plats du jour, andouillette or pork chops, served with homemade mashed potatoes.

Coinstot Vino
Passage des Panoramas
75002 Paris
01 44 82 08 54

Open daily except Sunday

See the Map Here

More Photos

Coinstot Vino in the Press

Le Fooding


Rosa Bonheur, Part Deux

Posted in 19th Arrondissement,Terraces by Phyllis Flick on October 26, 2009


Rosa Bonheur, the funky buvette in the Buttes Chaumont, which opened a little over a year ago without much fanfare, but then went on to become the darling of the press and bobo Parisians this summer, has metamorphosed into a full-fledged restaurant—well really a cross between a resto and rotisserie—this past week. 


I fell in love with Rosa Bonheur this summer when it was still somewhat unknown, but as word got out that this charming little spot had opened in the Parc, serving drinks and tapas late into the night, it quickly became a victim of its own success and—at least on the weekends—overwhelming crowds of hipsters spilled out the doors, making it more of a headache than an oasis. 

Then came news that they were opening a real restaurant in the fall and there were unconfirmed rumours that Armand Arnal, the newly-starred chef of La Chassagnette in Arles, the first organic restaurant to have a star in France, was a partner and so I was eagerly awaiting its opening which finally came about this past week.

I am still not sure to what degree, if any, Arnal plays a part (our waiter confirmed the connection but did not say to what extent and it may well be that one of his chefs is overseeing the kitchen).  In any event, traces of La Chassagnette can be found, as they use organic products for the most part, or at least agriculture raisonnée, and like the owners, many of the ingredients come from the Camargue. 

The three-course 29 € menu is simple, with a handful of first courses to choose from including a very nice crayfish bisque with Pastis and a “correct”, as they say in French, cabbage rĂ©moulade with crisp apple, carrots, cabbage and shrimp, that was good, but could have used a bit of pizzazz .  The main courses include a choice of two rĂ´tis, one that changes daily, along with a roasted free-range demi-coquelet.  On Thursday you’ll find a fricassee of rabbit with mustard, Friday Sète-style cuttlefish with olives, Saturday was slow-roasted spiced spare ribs, which are not something you find too often in France, and on Sunday roasted lamb shoulder, each served with seasonal, organic vegetables.  

Desserts, if I remember correctly (because at this point we had finished our bottle of red and my memory is a bit foggy), included a very good rice pudding, chocolate mousse and cheese.

While the food was certainly good, it’s more the feeling of the place that would lure me back, with its choice of ingredients, amiable wait staff and unusual location hidden in one of Paris’s most beautiful parks.   It was just the thing for a dreary Parisian October afternoon.

Rosa Bonheur
2, allée de la Cascade
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
75019 Paris
Métro:  Botzaris
Telephone: 01 42 00 00 45 ;  To reserve at the restaurant call: 01 42 03 28 67

Bar, Café open Wednesday-Sunday, 12- midnight (however the park gates close at 20h);
Restaurant is open for lunch 12h00-13h30, dinner from 20h00 until 21h30.
See the Map Here

Corso, a new Costes in the 10th

Posted in 10th Arrondissement,Terraces by Phyllis Flick on August 23, 2009
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I’m not usually one to run out to try the latest Costes establishment; spending a small fortune on so-so food, served by glamorous young things who know nothing about cuisine, no matter how beautiful the setting, is not really my thing.

If your ever spent time in Paris, chances are you’ve been to one of establishments of Jean-Louis and Gilbert Costes, the two brothers who have managed to build a small culinary empire in Paris.  They started some 25 years ago with the CafĂ© Costes, designed by the then up and coming designer Philippe Stark, and now can count a long list of establishments owned by the brothers themselves or one of their kin.  Places like CafĂ© Marly in the Louvre, le Georges with its stunning view from the Centre Pompidou, le cafĂ© Beaubourg, L’Avenue on rue Montaigne and the Hotel Costes and Costes K, are all owned and operated by the Costes brothers or a member of their family.

I broke my anti-Costes stance when their latest establishment (or one of the latest, as they seem to open left and right) opened in my neck of the woods, on the place Franz-Liszt in an up and coming part of the 10th.   The large terrace, which overlooks the Place and Saint Vincent de Paul, was just thing for a hot Sunday night in August, when many decent restaurants have packed it up until the rentrée in September. 

The food—and prices—were surprisingly not bad with neo-italian dishes that included an artichoke salad, smoked breaded mozzarella, several pasta dishes like penne alla boscaiola, rigatoni all’ arrabbiata, jumbo shrimp risotto, and a puttanesca which strangely included eggplant, zucchini, olives, tomatoes and ricotta in the list of ingredients.  Main courses include a whole grilled sea bass, grilled calamari, veal Marsala, and the entrecote Montana.  We opted for what turned out to be delicious fried smelts with tartar sauce, a perfectly acceptable, although a bit bland, artichoke and arugula salad, a so-so linguine with baby clams and an impressive grilled entrecote served with delicious looking fried potatoes that my companion devoured before I could steal a bite.  They also serve “Lo Snack” for those just wanting something simple like carpaccio or an assortment of charcuterie. Unfortunately, we didn’t save room for dessert and lingered over an Illy cafĂ© instead.  

Service was—unlike my memory of Georges and Hotel Costes—welcoming and professional and definitely an addition to the experience.   Our friendly server forgot to fire our main courses and apologized before we even noticed and comped our second bottle of Pellegrino to compensate.  The fact that he noticed and apologised is definitely a first for me in Paris. 

All in all, I found this newest Costes, a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

2, place Franz Liszt
75010 Paris
Telephone: 01 42 47 01 23
See the Map Here

Open daily from  8am-Midnight, continuous service.
Prices: entrées 7-12 €, plats 12.5-19.5 €; desserts 3-7.5 €; les snacks 6-12.5; petit déjuner 7.5€, sunday brunch 23 €

Rosa Bonheur


Located in the beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont, this newly blossomed cafĂ© has quickly gained a following with bobo Parisians looking for a bit of respite from city life. It’s the perfect place for a cafĂ© or an apero with friends en terrace.  If you’re looking for more than a drink, you can order up plates of chorizo, Bellota or Serrano ham, along with Manchego and Salers cheese and other small tapas-style plates, simply served.   Linger late enough and you can hang in the Parc after hours and enjoy the view long after the gates have closed. 


Rosa Bonheur
2, allée de la Cascade
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
75019 Paris
Métro:  Botzaris
Telephone: 01 42 00 00 45 

 Hours: Tuesday-Sunday noon till midnight, entrance by the park until 22h; on Friday and Saturdays you can enter by the gates at 7 rue Botzaris from 22h till midnight
See the Map Here