The Paris Brunch
Brunch is a strictly American concept, and because being Anglo-Saxon is quite cool in Paris these days, going to brunch has become THE thing to do.
The American restaurants are popular with the natives: Coffee Parisien, Thanksgiving and Breakfast in America cater to sellout crowds.
But there are local options that are more exotic for visitors used to brunch at home.
For something light and simple and absolutely French, head to Café de Flore on the boulevard St.-Germain. Famous for its literary past, this café is still a major draw, and every Sunday the place is crowded with regulars, many of whom have not yet made it home from their Saturday evening escapes. It makes for excellent people watching as you enjoy a traditional Welsh rarebit or the Rykiel sandwich, named for the illustrious fashion queen. Eggs can be prepared just about any way you’d like.
If you want something simple and French but without the tourists, Francoeur, in the 18th Arrondissement, is worth the trip. The neighborhood is bobo chic, with pouty parisiennes and their suffering mates, small dogs and large sunglasses. The decor is perfect for a quaint moment at the foot of Montmartre. As for the menu, it was at the printer’s when we visited, but expect typically French offerings with pastries and juice and coffee. Or you can order from their lunch menu, which is all about meat.
Trendsetters and fashionistas with kids are loving the extremely varied and laid-back brunch at Mama Shelter. The quality of the food here really is remarkable, with Spanish ham cut from the bone, fresh-squeezed citrus juices and glasses of house-made Nutella, jam or whipped cream. There was the best selection of vegetarian salads I’ve ever enjoyed in France. Indulge under a graffiti-scored ceiling and amuse yourself with a foosball table, lots of reading material and Tex Avery cartoons.
For a très français luxury experience among valet-served princes, aging rock stars and spoiled athletes, the Hôtel de Crillon is the place to be. You are greeted by name at the door of the historic ballroom, you and your handbag are immediately seated (a chair for you, a stool for the bag) and the buffet spread is supervised by a Michelin-starred chef. The day we went, champagne was flowing freely. A meal fit for a king.
129, rue Caulaincourt, in the 18th. 01 53 28 10 63.
4, rue Princesse, in the 6th. 01 43 54 18 18.