Tips for France

Au Pied de Fouet

45, rue de Babylone ,

Telephone: 01 47 05 12 27

Métro: Assemblé National

This noisy, crowded restaurant is a neighborhood gathering spot, the colorful regulars returning week after week for the belt-popping meals.  The restaurant is one hundred years old, and not much as been done to it in that time.  

The walls are peeling artfully, the coat hooks could use some polishing, and the miniscule kitchen is an original.  Regulars carefully fold their red checkered napkins and return them to the cubby holes on the rear wall for use at their next meal.

You definitely want to sit downstairs at one of the tables covered with red and white checkered bistro clothes.  Upstairs, which is reached via a perilously steep circular staircase, is tight quarters for anyone over five feet tall.

This is one of the neighborhood's oldest and most reasonably priced restaurants.  In the 1700s it was a stopover for carriages en route to Paris, offering wine, food, and stables.

Don't expect a leisurely or attentive meal: Food and drink will disappear quickly from your table, under the gaze of others waiting their turn.  And if you want coffee, you will probably be "invited" to take it standing at the bar on your way out.

The dishes are solid and unpretentious.  Lunch offers routine sustenance:  grated carrot or cabbage salad, the old oeuf dur mayonnaise standard, roast pork with mashed potatoes, and sometimes calamari.  

The salad gesier is wonderful.  The chicken gizards are slowly cooked until they are melt in your mouth tender.  Then they are simply tossed with lettuce and a light dressing.

The fried chicken livers are also excellent.

On most days one of the daily specials is a fish dish.  The fish is always extremely fresh and some of the best you will find in Paris.

Au Pied de Fouet is easily reached by taking the 87 Bus line and getting off at the Vaneau Babylone stop.  The restaurant is directly across the street from the bus stop. Note that we recommend this resaurant for an interesting lunch experience; however, the service is much too rushed for dinner.


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