The best way to find the best places to while away a Monday afternoon in Paris is to wander aimlessly. This is one of my specialties – frittering away time (at least now I can call it research!). If you can manage to never take the same path twice, you’re bound to discover great little treasures.
Today we stumbled upon Le Bistrot de La Grille Saint Germain around 6:30 pm – just the right time for a little wine tasting. The wine list at the Bistrot de la Grille is amply stocked with delightful wines served by the glass, the carafe, or the bottle.
We opted for a 25 cl carafe of Graves for 11 Euros. This is one of the few bistros in the neighborhood where you’re likely to find main courses ranging from 13.50 Euros to 15 Euros (including lamb chops). Although we didn’t stay for dinner this evening, we will definitely be back. Located just across the street from the Saint Germain market, this is an ideal corner for people watching. But, as Chris said, it’s hard to decide – which direction do you look? The people inside this bistro are more gorgeous than the people outside. And if you happen to stop by during off hours when the tables are empty, you can gaze at an array of France’s past great movie stars. I could find it very easy to sit here for hours sipping delicious wine.
PS. I don’t want to forget to mention what a nice welcome we received from the waiter who was extremely polite and gracious. He offered us suggestions on which wine to try and he was happy to speak to us in either English or French.
Chris reminds me that my perspective is becoming far too biased. Tomorrow we’re going to spend some time on the Right Bank to remedy this imbalance. Place Clichy will be our destination. You’ll find more details about other Right Bank neighborhoods under the Neighborhood heading.
However, I’m not going to apologize for my bias. St. Germain-des-Pres exudes such casual elegance – and seems to capture the essence of French ‘savoir faire’. Here’s where you’ll see Parisians dressed to the nines – but never appearing as ‘serious’ or as calculated as Right Bank style. And there are the lovely incongruities – like the silver-haired man businessman with a brimmed hat and a purple raincoat. Very purple – and were his shoes purple also?
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing double takes. Street fashion in this neighborhood can catch you by surprise. So much so that I can’t possibly capture most of it on camera – you have to be here. Sip a glass of wine and marvel at the beauty of it all. This is Paris.
Bistrot de la Grille St. Germain
14, Rue Mabillon
Metro: Mabillon/ St. Germain-des-Pres