When I created Good Morning Paris …

… Bed & Breakfast in Paris did not exist and customers could not be found on the web : Yahoo had been launched two years before and Internet Explorer was just born but Google was still in preparation. At this time bookings were made over the phone or by mail and one did not need dozens of pictures or customers’ reviews before making one’s choice. Our guests trusted us because we were a professional intermediary who had selected its hosts and rooms with much care for their quality of comfort and surroundings and their excellent welcome.

I have created and developed Bed & Breakfast in Paris because I believed deeply that this kind of accommodation was as relevant in towns as in the countryside and that the meeting of Parisian people providing a warm and thoughtful welcome, some help when needed and personalized advices could improve the experience of a Parisian stay and make it unforgettable. I still believe it.

The first website of Good Morning Paris was created in 1999 ; it has been changed and improved every five years or so since then. In 2012 the Facebook page of Good Morning Paris was born and the guidebook : “Chambres d’hôtes pas comme les autres à Paris” published. In 2013 the instant online booking was implemented on the webiste. And in 2015 I launched Good Morning Paris The Blog.

For twenty years Good Morning Paris has been the instigator of an authentic tourism in Paris. Since 1996 we have been welcoming visitors from the whole world in quality charming Bed & Breakfasts in central Paris. Thanks to us tens of thousands of encounters between Parisians who love their city and visitors looking for a warm, personalized welcome and an authentic discovery of Paris have occured.

We have helped our guests to discover Paris as a Parisian, to be welcomed by friendly and thoughtful hosts in beautiful apartments or houses and to enjoy otherwise their stay in our unique city.

Good Morning Paris closed in December 2016 : we do not offer any longer our Bed & Breafasts as we could not resist the competition with Airbnb. Nevertheless Good Morning Paris The Blog still exists and meets the same purposes : Sharing my love for Paris and my discoveries and ideas to enjoy otherwise the city, whether you are a Parisian or a tourist in Paris.

I invite you to visit it and wish you a pleasant journey through Paris, the Paris that I love since I was born there more than fifty years ago.

Christine Bokobza

The Best Of Paris Under the Snow

Last week we had snow in Paris almost every day. It began to snow on Monday and we had to wait until Sunday before the snow melted in any place, especially on the terraces or in the gardens.

It is quite unusual to see Paris under a white coat. So I decided to take some pictures of the most famous places in the city under the snow so as to capture and remember those magical and fleeting moments. Whether you were in Paris last week or not I hope that you will appreciate them. Just to enjoy, without a word: Snow is also Silence.

Let’s start at the Louvre…

The Tuileries Garden under the Snow - Paris - February 2018
The Tuileries Garden under the Snow – Paris – February 2018
Snow under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel - Paris - February 2018
Snow under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel – Paris – February 2018
The Louvre under the snow with the Eiffel Tower in the background - Paris - February 2018
The Louvre under the snow with the Eiffel Tower in the background – Paris – February 2018
The Pyramid of the Louvre surrounded by snow - Paris - February 2018
The Pyramid of the Louvre surrounded by snow – Paris – February 2018

… Have a walk in Montmartre on a sunny day…

Allée des Brouillards under the Snow - Montmartre - Paris - February 2018
Allée des Brouillards under the Snow – Montmartre – Paris – February 2018
The Vineyard of Montmartre covered by Snow - Paris - February 2018
The Vineyard of Montmartre covered by Snow – Paris – February 2018

… And end with a view on the Eiffel Tower.

Waiting for the spring to come… or maybe for skiing during the winter holidays for some of you. See you soon!

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Enjoy the Night Opening at The Musée du Louvre

Twice a week the Musée du Louvre is opened at night until 9.45pm. Whether you are a tourist in Paris or a Parisian, this is really the opportunity to make the most of your visit and see the masterpieces of the Louvre with very few other visitors!

I went there last Friday around 7.30pm: No queue at all at the Pyramid entrance and, even more surprising, absolutely nobody in front of the admission desk in the main hall.

But before getting down through the Pyramid one could spend hours outside admiring the architecture of the Palace of the Louvre, the elegance of the Pyramid and the views on the Tuileries and beyond at night. The picture below was taken a couple of years ago… however the view is timeless!

Musée du Louvre - The main entrance with the Pyramid at night
Musée du Louvre – The main entrance with the Pyramid at night

Two minutes later I got my entrance ticket and could start visiting. I had chosen to make the Da Vinci Code trail. This is one of the 28 thematic visitor trails which are offered on the museum website and can be viewed online or printed out prior to a visit, what I highly recommend! The museum is so wide that this is a perfect way to prepare one’s visit so as to avoid getting lost and see what one really wants to see.

The Da Vinci Code trail offers an amusing way to see or see again some of the main rooms of the museum and look at some masterpieces with a fresh eye, providing both a historical and literary perspective. And if one has read the novel or seen the movie, one really gets the impression to follow in Robert Langdon or Sophie Neveu’s footsteps.

The trail is really very well done to better understand the part of reality and the part of fiction included in the Da Vinci Code. I have chosen to illustrate the visit with one picture of each masterpiece proposed as a stop in the trail and a short story about it. Each story is related to the Da Vinci Code and highlights some of the exaggerations of the novel.

Let’s start the visit: Close your eyes and imagine that you are alone in the museum, as Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu, in dark and empty rooms…

Step 1: The Pyramid
Musée du Louvre - The Pyramid
Musée du Louvre – The Pyramid

It is made of 673 diamond-shaped and triangular panes of glass, excluding the doors and not 666 as mentioned. The number of 666 was a rumor spread by the opponents to the construction of the Pyramid in the middle of the eighties, as 666 is the number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation.

Step 2: Hera of Samos
Musée du Louvre - Hera of Samos
Musée du Louvre – Hera of Samos

Hera -sister and wife of Zeus- sets an example of the concept of the sacred feminine, which, as this statue demonstrates, was worshipped by the ancient religions.

The sacred feminine and its erasure in the early years of Christianity by undermining the memory of Mary Magdalene is part of the Da Vinci Code.

In the novel the author makes Mary Magdalene the secret companion of Jesus.

Stop 3: The Arago medallion
Musée du Louvre - Arago medallion - Staircase of the Wing vVctory of Samothrace
Musée du Louvre – Arago medallion – Staircase of the Wing vVctory of Samothrace

There are 135 Arago medallions in Paris which form a North/South line crossing the capital on the exact path of the old universal meridian of Paris that they commemorate. About fifteen of them are inside or around the Louvre. In the Da Vinci Code the geographical marker of the meridian of Paris is tranformed into an esoteric symbol, the Rose Line.

Stop 4: The Salon Carré
Musée du Louvre - The Salon Carré
Musée du Louvre – The Salon Carré

In the novel and in the movie, the curator Jacques Saunière dies in the Grande Galerie and the parquet around his body shows black star-shaped motifs… which are only present in the Louvre in the Salon Carré.

The real topography has been transformed for narrative purposes. There is not such a floor in the Grande Galerie which is the next room.

Step 5: The Virgin of the Rocks
Musée du Louvre - Leonardo Da Vinci - The Virgin of the Rocks
Musée du Louvre – Leonardo Da Vinci – The Virgin of the Rocks

The magnificent Grande Galerie of the Louvre plays a significant role in the Da Vinci Code and is the place where everything starts. It is remarkable for its collection of Italian paintings, including Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces. First of them: The Virgin of the Rocks. In the novel a far-fetched interpretation of it is given, transforming the gesture of protection of Mary into a metaphorical representation of murder, suggesting that Mary holds in her left hand the invisible head of Mary Magdalene.

Step 6: Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Musée du Louvre - Leonardo Da Vinci - Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Musée du Louvre – Leonardo Da Vinci – Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

This painting by Leonardo Da Vinci was made famous by the interpretation of Sigmund Freud discerning a vulture in the Virgin Mary’s garment.

It is also mentioned in the Da Vinci Code for its perfect composition based on the use of ‘Phi’, the ‘golden number’. The golden number is said to be a divine proportion and creates in painting or architecture an unparalleled effect of balance and harmony.

Step 7: Noli me Tangere
Musée du Louvre - Noli Me Tangere
Musée du Louvre – Noli Me Tangere

This painting shows that the scandalous impact of the Da Vinci Code, whose plot is based on the idea of a secret union between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, might have had precedents in the artists’ imagination!

As one can see the positions of both Jesus and Mary Magdalene are rather ambiguous and can be interpreted in an erotic way.

Step 8: The Death of the Virgin

This painting by Caravage is said to contain a scotoma, which is a detail that one doesn’t notice first but becomes obvious when one knows the story of the work. The large red drape on top of the painting whose colour is the same as the one of the dead Virgin’s dress could symbolize the body of Mary rising to her Son during the Assumption.

Before reaching the Death of the Virgin one will admire (even if not in the Da Vinci Code trail!) another work of Caravage which is in my opinion one of the most amazing paintings in the Grande Galerie: the Fortune Teller. So beautiful!

Musée du Louvre - Caravage - The Fortune Teller
Musée du Louvre – Caravage – The Fortune Teller
Step 9: The Wedding Feast at Cana
Musée du Louvre - Véronèse - The Wedding Feast at Cana
Musée du Louvre – Véronèse – The Wedding Feast at Cana

The masterpiece by Véronèse is the largest painting in the Louvre and a work with some surprising details that have raised many questions giving rise to various interpretations. For instance why does the Virgin Mary seem to be holding an invisible glass in her left hand?…

Step 10: Mona Lisa

During the day it is almost impossible to reach the first line of visitors admiring the famous Mona Lisa. One of the great moments of my visit during the night opening was to be able to stand as close as possible to Mona Lisa that the safety device allows and to stay there as long as I wanted to. The painting has always aroused fantasies; many of them are of course taken up by the Da Vinci Code.

Step 11: The Red Rooms
Musée du Louvre - The Red Rooms - French Paintings
Musée du Louvre – The Red Rooms – French Paintings

The opening of the movie sets in the red rooms, showing the curator Jacques Saunière running through them. The decor of those three rooms, where the masterpieces from French painters such as David or Delacroix are exhibited, offers a magnificent and spectacular explosion of colour.

Step 12: The Inverted Pyramid
Musée du Louvre - The Inverted Pyramid
Musée du Louvre – The Inverted Pyramid

The trail suggests to leave the museum through the gallery leading to the shops of the Carrousel du Louvre. Not to shop -especially at 9.30pm as they are closed!- but to see the Inverted Pyramid, which is the place where the Da Vinci Code ends. Remember: Richard Langdon understands there that the pyramidion of stone placed under the Inverted Pyramid houses the grave of Mary Magdalene. This purely fictional revelation has made the Inverted Pyramid famous!

I hope that you have enjoyed this original trail through the Louvre. Whether you choose this one or any other among the 28 thematic trails proposed by the museum, depending on your taste and mood, I really recommend you to plan your visit during one of the two night openings, either on Wednesday or on Fridays, starting it around 7.30pm. The visiting conditions for the largest and most visited museum in the world are then simply exceptional!

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information: Musée du Louvre – Métro Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1, 7) – Open every day except Tuesday: 9am-6pm – Night Opening on Wednesday and Friday until 9.45pm

Top Three Places for Champagne in Paris

Champagne is probably the most mythical of all French wines, that one does not drink every day but only on special occasions. One talks about Champagne while there are a great number of wines of Champagne, all very different from each other. And there is much to learn about Champagne so as to appreciate and love it even more… if that’s possible!

There are many wine shops or wine bars in Paris… but only few places dedicated to Champagne. I wish to introduce you to the best of them, all three very confidential but not to be missed by any Champagne lover.

The Champagne Bar Le Dokhan’s: The most refined
Champagne Bar Le Dokhan's - Paris - Intimate and refined
Champagne Bar Le Dokhan’s – Paris – Intimate and refined

The most ancient and remarkable Champagne Bar in Paris is located inside a charming boutique hotel in 16th arrondissement of Paris, Le Dokhan’s. It has an intimate and timeless atmosphere especially when it is simply lit by candlelight.

One can sit either next to the bar in a green living room with wainscoting from 17th century ; or next to the fire place in another elegant living room furnished with antiques and decorated with Matisse and Picasso drawings. Both are charming but my favourite is the one with the bar.

The Champagne list is awesome: 250 different references, including exceptional bottles that cannot be found anywhere else ; but also champagnes produced by independent wine growers unearthed by Arthur, the chief sommelier. One can order either a bottle, a glass or a tasting of 3 different champagnes of independent wine growers, which is in my opinion the best experience.

It is a real pleasure to listen to Arthur explaining you the different soils and grape varieties, showing you the various kinds of glasses to drink Champagne, telling you the history of their shape and helping you to choose the best one to taste the champagne that you wish to drink. And he could talk forever about the wine growers whose champagne you are tasting : Who are they? What is the story fo their family? How do they work?…

The armchairs are very comfortable, the atmosphere very relaxing, refined without being stilted… One leaves the place with regret thinking about coming back the next month to taste the new selection of 3 champagnes; or to attend one of the tasting of wine growers or jazz evenings regularly proposed by the Bar Le Dokhan’s. Before leaving the hotel I suggest you having a look at the elevator whose cage is unique: it is made with a genuine vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk. Back to a time when travel was an art!

Dilettantes: A Champagne Shop… and more
Champagne Shop in Paris - Producers of the month
Dilettantes – The Champagne Shop in Paris – Producers of the month

To be a ‘Dilettante’ is to have just an amateur interest in something, to do it for pleasure. One could not have chosen a better name! Indeed since she opened the first and unique Champagne Shop in Paris five years ago, Fanny has made a lot of people happy. Her aim is to make people discover the diversity and quality of champagnes produced by independent wine growers in small and family-owned estates… and it works!

Fanny has selected 25 Champagne producers representative of the four different growing regions in Champagne. All of them work in a sustainable, organic or biodynamic way and make quality distinctive wines. Each Champagne producer proposes a selection of bottlings and in total Dilettantes sells about 150 different champagnes. Plus 50 references from the most famous Champagne houses, such as Ruinart, Taittinger,… but only rare bottles that cannot be found in supermarkets. Four huge wine fridges keep cool more than 1000 bottles!

Dilettantes is THE place to discover the diversity of champagnes, to taste them and to learn about them. When you buy a bottle, you get a card with a detailed description of the champagne… and a picture of its producer. And at any time during opening hours one can taste there one or several champagnes out of a selection of three which changes every 2 weeks. Many other tastings, either thematic or hosted by the wine growers themwelves are taking place in the shop… I should say under the shop, in a beautiful cellar from 17th century. Every tasting is the occasion to get explanations and advices and to learn more.

Dilettantes - Paris - The Champagne cellar and tasting room
Dilettantes – Paris – The Champagne cellar and tasting room

What could be better? Beautiful surroundings, high quality champagnes between 20€ and 40€ for any taste and cool at any time, and fascinating explanations given both in French in and English, exclusively by women. It is said that Champagne is the women’s wine…

Canard et Champagne: The most original
Canard et Champagne - Passage des Panoramas - Paris
Canard et Champagne – Passage des Panoramas – Paris

Some wines and food pairing do not come to mind spontaneously. Among them: Duck and Champagne, a wedding of two ‘terroirs’ which are so different. Nevertheless a Parisian restaurant opened two years ago with this speciality, and it works very well! The double name of the place, one very ordinary ‘Canard et Champagne’, and one more subtle ‘French Paradox’ shows well the daring of such a wines and food pairing.

Both tourists and local people seem to be fond of the idea to combine in a same meal two of the jewels of the French gastronomy: the restaurant has a great success and is very busy at lunch time. One is happy to discover the perfect harmony between a well balanced champagne -fresh and fruity in the same time- and a foie gras; and the interesting combination of a rosé champagne -served not too cool- with a duck breast perfectly cooked.

There are 35 references in the Champagne list, with a mix of small wine growers and famous champagne houses; six of them can be ordered by the glass, starting at 8€. And for the less rash there is also a short list of red wines…

I like the decor of the restaurant which also shows a search for a successful harmony. The historic panelling and inlaid work of the place, which used to be a Chocolaterie, have been preserved but modernized by the use of black and white, of light wood and geometric lines in the fitting out of the restaurant room.

Canard et Champagne is located in the beautiful Passage des Panoramas: Do not miss a walk in the Passage either before or after your meal. Thanks to the next shop one will learn that people do not collect only stamps or coins, but also foils of champagne. This kind of collection is called: ‘placomusophilie’. I am afraid that there is no English translation for such a word!

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information : Bar Le Dokhan’s 117 rue Lauriston 75116 Every day from 6pm till midnight – Dilettantes 22 rue de Savoie 75006 From Tuesday to Saturday: 11am till 7.30pm (9pm on Thursday) – Canard et Champagne 57 passage des Panoramas 75002 Every day from noon till 3pm and from 7pm till 11pm

Metro Station of the Month: Liège (line 13)

Our Metro Station of the Month, Liège, is not as central or as easy to reach as the previous ones. Indeed it is located on the metro line 13 which is reputed to be the most crowded and the most irregular metro line in Paris. I recommend you to go there at off peak hours!

Yet Liège is one of the most beautiful and original metro stations in Paris. For several reasons… Firstly it is one of the two Parisian stations whose platforms are not lying opposite one another but one after the other. This happens quite often in the London underground while in Paris only two stations were built in that way: the second one is Commerce, located in 15th arrondissement on metro line 8. Regarding Liège this is due to the narrowness of the street where the station was created.

Secondly the metro station Liège has got for many years limited opening hours. I remember that when I started to run Good Morning Paris I had a B&B very close to that station. Nevertheless I did not mention to my guests the metro station Liège but Place Clichy, which was a little further but always open, while Liège was closed from 8pm and on Sundays! Fortunately this changed in December 2006… further to a demonstration of the inhabitants inside the station.

And above all the station Liège is beautifully decorated with ceramics from Welkenraedt (a Belgian town located in the province of Liège) which show monuments and landscapes of the city of Liège and its surroundings. Those works were added in 1982 to cover the white walls facing the passengers in each half-station. One does not know why the ceramics are in colour on the platform towards south while they are in Blue and White only on the platform towards north. No matters! Each of them (eighteen in total) is remarkable and mention the name of the place represented.

Unusual opening hours, unusual platforms… The metro station Liège is unique and charming with its ceramics and its traditional white, blue and brown glazed tiles, so typical of the Parisian metro.

Back to earth: Do not miss the New Athens area where many painters and writers used to live in the 19th century. It is located only a few minutes walk towards the east and is really peaceful and romantic.

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information : Website of the RATP

La Monnaie de Paris: More than a Museum!

La Monnaie de Paris reopened last autumn after six years of conversion work. The renovation plan led by the French architect Philippe Prost had to take up four challenges: open up the place onto the city and the world; perpetuate its original purpose, striking coins; make its traditional know-how and treasures known; let the public admire the beautiful architecture of an historic building. It is a great success!

Thanks to the magnificent restoration of the premises one cannot visit the Monnaie de Paris today without immersing oneself in the French history, traditions and know-how. And the temporary exhibitions of modern art which are taking place there create the link with the present and give the whole a timeless nature. One leaves the Monnaie de Paris amazed by the French ‘art de vivre’: Not to be missed, whether you are a Parisian or a tourist in Paris!

Firstly the surroundings and the architecture…

Monnaie de Paris - The renovation by Philippe Prost
Monnaie de Paris – The renovation by Philippe Prost

The Palace of the 11 Conti was built in 18th century and has been housing since that time the manufacture or the making of coins and medals. It is a huge and very elegant building with two main entrances. The most majestic is located on 11 Quai de Conti between the Pont-Neuf and the Pont des Arts. It allows to enter the ‘Cour d’Honneur’ with in the end of it the historic heart of the place: the workshop of ‘Grand Monnayage’. The second entrance is on the Rue de Guénégaud next to the new bright souvenir shop -located in former workshops- and to the tea-room Bloom… whose terrace in the lovely ‘Cour de la Méridienne’ is for sure a very pleasant place where to have a drink by fine weather.

Monnaie de Paris-Cour des fonderies
Monnaie de Paris – Cour des fonderies

Inside one discovers several buildings and wanders through several inner yards, each one more charming than the last and with suggestive names: Cour de la Méridienne, Cour des Fonderies, Cour des Remises, Cour de l’Or. When the renovation is completely over, one will also be able to take advantage of an inner garden at the back!

Monnaie de Paris - 11 Conti - The main room
Monnaie de Paris – 11 Conti – The main exhibition room

As far as visits are concerned the Monnaie de Paris offers two different spaces. The first one is permanent: the 11 Conti. It recounts one thousand years of history of the making of coins and emphasizes the fifteen art craft works still taking place there. The exhibition design is very beautiful and educational. The collections are integrated into the workshops themselves, which makes the visit more lively, even if one cannot see the craftmen at work as the working hours are not the same as the opening hours of the museum. But one can imagine…

In the largest exhibition room, which is also the main one, one can experiment in a very educational manner different ways of striking, engraving or reducing coins. I have also appreciated the numerous videos in which each craftman tells his specific work: so lively and informative! One can see Didier the reducer, Stéphane who works in specialized coining…

The following rooms show successively: the creations of the Monnaie de Paris -trophies, medals, rare coins, jewels-; some treasures whose exhibition is set as if one were in the strongroom of a bank; different types of collections; and finally the uses of currency through ages. In any room the explanations are great and translated in English and most of the time also in Spanish.

Women House - Louise Bourgeois - Femme Maison 1994
Women House – Louise Bourgeois – Femme Maison 1994

The second space of the Monnaie de Paris shows temporary exhibitions and is intended to exhibit only modern art. The exhibition taking place at the moment, Women House, is really worth the visit. It tells how the domestic space has been for a long time a prison for women, a space of domination of the female body; but also how it has been turned into a space of creation by female artists in the 20th and 21st centuries. All the works exhibited are from female artists, including the famous Niki de Saint Phalle or Louise Bourgeois. I have also noticed that most of the visitors are women…

The exhibition starts with a striking video of Johanna Demetrakas which is a tribute to the original exhibition ‘Womanhouse’ that took place in Los Angeles in 1972 and launched the movement of women’s emancipation in art. Do not miss it!

Then 17 rooms illustrate 8 themes, from ‘Desperate housewives’ to ‘Woman-House’ through ‘Une chambre à soi’ referring to Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’, or ‘Une maison de poupée’ in reference to Henrik Ibsen’s play ‘Doll’s house’.

The works, a mix of photographies, videos, paintings, sculptures or wider installations are all exhibited with much care. The colour of the walls varies from one room to the next, from yellow to dark grey. The exhibition lies on two floors. The rooms downstairs are small and without windows: they illustrate perfectly the domestic space as a prison. While the rooms upstairs are much wider and brighter and emphasize more and more the emancipation of women through artistic creation.

Women House - Room 5 - Empreintes
Women House – Room 5 – Empreintes

One can admire the beautiful decoration of some rooms upstairs, their wooden or black and white tiled floors, their period architectural features… without forgetting the amazing views on the Seine from the large windows.

The highlight of the exhibition is the Spider, by Louise Bourgeois, which stands in the middle of the ‘Grand Salon’ of the palace…

… As far as inside is concerned. Indeed the exhibition goes on outside with some other major artworks such as Nana Maison II, by Niki de Saint Phalle, that everybody can admire in the ‘Cour d’honneur’ while entering the museum. But my favourite is The Teapot, by Joana Vasconcelos, in the ‘Cour de la Méridienne’… So amazing at night when the shadow of the sculpture gets drawn on the enlightened ground!

Monnaie de Paris - Cour de la Meridienne - The Teapot - Joana Vasconcelos
Monnaie de Paris – Cour de la Meridienne – The Teapot – Joana Vasconcelos
Monnaie de Paris - Cour de la Meridienne
Monnaie de Paris – Cour de la Meridienne

Women House ends on 28 January 2018. The next modern art exhibition will be a retrospective of Subodh Gupta, a major contemporary Indian artist, and will start on 13 April 2018.

Before ending I must tell for the wealthiest that the Monnaie de Paris is also the place where to find the three-star Parisian Retaurant of the Chef Guy Savoy. Its entrance is located on the opposite side of the ‘Grand Salon’ on top of the ‘Grand Escalier’. You will be welcomed by the motto of the Chef: ‘La cuisine est l’art de transformer instantanément en joie des produits chargés d’histoire’ (Cooking is the art to turn instantaneously into joy produce with a lot of history). An absolutely unique and unforgettable experience… for those who can afford it.

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information: Monnaie de Paris – 11 Quai de Conti ou 2 rue de Guénégaud 75006 Paris – Tuesday till Sunday: 11am-7pm (9pm on Thursdays-and Wednesdays from 31 January 2018) – Exhibition Women House: Until 28 January 2018

 

 

The Parisian Market of the Month: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is one of the most unusual markets in Paris… for several reasons. First of all this is the oldest food market in the capital. Its creation dates back to 1628 and it used to be a wooden covered market built with sixteen oak pillars and called ‘Le Marché du Marais du Temple’. At the end of 18th century it became ‘Le Marché des Enfants rouges’ referring to the eponymous orphanage located in the same area and that had just been closed.

In the mid-1990s the market had almost been destroyed and turned into a car park. But the inhabitants of the Marais area and many tourist guides had mobilized to avoid its disappearance. After six years of restoration ‘Le Marché des Enfants Rouges’ reopened in 2000.

The market has kept its originality: Thanks to its numerous stands of cooking and take away food it is still rather a place where to eat than a traditional market where to buy fruit, vegetable, fish or meat as any other Parisian food market. Its atmosphere is very special and friendly; I felt as if I were in a village square, not in a food court. And although there are many tourists it remains very authentic!

Marche des enfants rouges-Rue de Beauce
Marché des Enfants rouges – Entrance Rue de Beauce

All the meals are cooked on the spot and at lunchtime many people -whether local, working or visiting- are queuing in front of each stand. The length of the line may depend on the season, on the time (peak hour between 1 and 1.30pm on weekdays) but of course also on the popularity of each cooking stand… or of the cook himself!

Marche des enfants rouges-Queue at Alain
Marché des Enfants rouges – Queuing for a crêpe at Alain

My favourite: Alain, for his gourmet pancakes… and his eloquence! A generous and tasty pancake stuffed with cooked onions, premium ham -rostello or san daniele- and premium cheese -comté or cantal- costs 9€. Moreover it is a true delight to attend its preparation and listen to the chef while queuing. Alain takes his time and talks a lot. So if the queue is already long and if you are in a hurry, you had better choose another meal!

I can also recommend ‘Le Traiteur Marocain’ held by Ahmed: good food, very efficient service and an impressive choice of couscous and tajines, under 15€. I have been attracted by the spicy scents and the lively atmosphere of this stand, which is very popular among tourists in winter. Not forgetting the Japanese stand, Taeko, which is much appreciated for its efficiency and delicious bentos and is about to reopen after a very short closing for renovation.

And if you do not feel like eating a couscous or a bento, one can also find Creole, Italian or Lebanese home-cooked meals; two stands of burgers, whether organic or not, both cooked on the spot and served with French fries (12€); and one stand of bistronomic French cooking whose menu depends on the season -oysters or capon for instance at this time of year-.

One can also choose the Estaminet des Enfants Rouges, a traditional French bistro with a small dining room and a terrace, which serves good food at reasonable prices.

And if you are in the mood for cooking home you can also buy fruit and vegetable, fish or cheese. But while the cooked meals are all value for money, the fruit and vegetable are really expensive… especially the organic ones sold by the greengrocer ‘Chez Wagner’ : they look very beautiful and appetizing but cost much more than in any other Parisian food market. One is in the heart of the Haut Marais, a trendy Boho chic area!

If you leave the market through the main entrance on the rue de Bretagne do not miss the little shop of photographies: Collected. They have a wide choice of beautiful ancient photographies, B&W views of Paris or portraits of Parisians, pictures of actors or taken during movie shootings, … Most of them are from unknown photographers and not too expensive. The ones which are signed or framed cost more. And even if you do not buy anything the shop itself is worth visiting. A pleasant way to end a tour at the Marché des Enfants Rouges.

Marche des enfants rouges - Photographies Shop
Marche des enfants rouges – Photographies Shop

Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris The Blog

Practical information: Marché des Enfants Rouges – 39 rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris – Tuesday till Saturday: 8.30am-8.30pm (9.30pm on Thursday) – Sunday: 8.30am-5pm – Closed on Monday