Photo of the Week

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The Square Louvois, with the Bibliothèque Nationale in the background. © Paris Update

© JR-ART.NET
© JR-ART.NET
 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

All-night art
> Nuit Blanche is an all-night festival of outdoor art events, plus special happenings in museums, which will stay open late for free. Various locations, Paris, Oct. 1.

Strange Happenings in St. Germain
> The exhibition Bizarro, with works by a number of artists, fills seven Left Bank galleries with “Bêtes de Scènes et Sacrés Monstres.” Don’t miss the Meta-perceptual Helmets by the Irish duo Cleary/Connolly
at the Librairie Alain Brieux, which allow the viewer to see forward and backward, for example, or the way a cyclops or horse would see. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 30.

Two meals for the price of one
> Restaurants participating in Tous au Restaurant offer a second fixed-price menu for free. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Feel-good films
> Classic movies starring the Marx Brothers, Peter Sellers, Cary Grant and more are sure to raise a smile at the festivalQu’est-ce qu’on Attend pour Être Heureux!, Forum des Images, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Indian films
> Indian film festival. Musée Guimet, Paris, through Sept. 30.

Chanson française
> L’Estival features singers performing in French. Various locations, Saint Germain-en-Laye, through Oct. 8.

Antique fair in a bucolic setting
> A visit to the Foire de Chatou antique market and regional products fair makes a great weekend outing. Chatou, through Oct. 2.

Contemporary arts festival
> TheFestival d’Automne presents leading talents in art, dance, film, theater and more from around the world. Various venues, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Classical, world, jazz & electronic
> The Festival d’Ile de France holds concerts in various locations in Paris and elsewhere, through Oct. 9.

Music & more in park bandstands
> Kiosques en Fête brings life to the bandstands in Paris’s parks with concerts, writing workshops, club meetings and even a square dance. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Music on the beach
> Sandy beach and nightly concerts or DJs at La Plage de Glaz’Art. Paris, through Oct. 1.

Amazing gardens
> The popular Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loireis held annually in the park of the Château de Chaumont in Chaumont-sur-Loire, through Nov. 2.

 

Restaurants - Bistro

 

Les Petits Plats

les-petits-plats-restaurant-paris-3

Good food and a warm, friendly ambiance make for a great overall experience at Les Petits Plats.

Pros: Fun, cozy, foodie-friendly, great service

Cons: None

I dined at Les Petits Plats on the same day that I lunched at Septime – yes, it’s a hard life – and loved them both for different reasons. Septime is hip, modern, all stripped-down concrete, rough wood and metal, with fabulous, star-worthy food. At Les Petits Plats, there were echoes of the dishes we at Septime – while not quite as elaborate and refined, you could sense the generational affinities of the two chefs – but the place has a homier, warmer feel with its wooden furniture, red banquettes, brass railings and wine-laden-shelves. The service, provided by two waitresses and a waiter, was unfailingly warm, friendly and accommodating.

Les Petits Plats’ name refers to the fact that diners have the option of ordering small portions of the dishes on the blackboard menu at a lower price and in any combination (no dirty looks if you don’t order an entrée, plat, dessert), a truly great idea that I have never before encountered in Paris. Meat-hungry diners can order from a special (but pricey) menu of different cuts of Aubrac beef, which doesn’t seem designed to show off the chef’s creativity.

My friend Connie and I decided to order normal-sized courses and to share and share alike, trading dishes halfway through. We started with a winner: a chilled “green” soup with fresh brousse, which Connie was sure was going to be a little bush, but which I pronounced to be a sort of Corsican cottage cheese. I was only partly right: the Corsican cheese brocciu is a type of brousse made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, which has its own appellation d’origine contrôlée, while the ricotta-like brousse is also made in other places in France. In any case, it made a fine, creamy yet slightly solid base for the richly flavored soup, which came in a little carafe next to the bowl containing the brousse, both standing on a small cutting board. The other starter, a tartare of mullet and haddock with baby zucchini, attractively presented with a big zucchini flower on top, was fine, but didn’t set off any celebratory chimes.

For our shared main courses, we chose the rich and satisfying ravioles de paleron (beef shoulder palette ravioli) with baby leeks and bone marrow, and supions (squid) a la 

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plancha with black gnocchi, pourpier (purslane) and preserved lemon. While they were both delicious, it was the supions that had us oohing and aahing, especially over those luscious homemade gnocchi and the powerful tang of the citron confit. Both were served on soup plates with a profusion of fresh herbs.

Dessert did not disappoint, even though we clearly preferred the decadent chocolate and hazelnut tart, accompanied by a decorative smear of white and dark chocolate sauce and a

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little pot of heavenly caramel ice cream, all served on a small cutting board, to the worthier strawberry and apricot gazpacho poured over a basil-flavored ice cube and served with a heartwarmingly good pistachio financier.

Our wine was a lovely and unusual Alsatian Pinot Noir (€30) made by Gérard Schueller, suggested by the waiter as an out-of-the-box pairing capable of accommodating the wide variety of dishes we ordered. He was right, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

In terms of creativity, quality and service, I would rate Les Petits Plats almost but not quite as high as Septime, since the food is not quite at the same level of sophistication and perfection. In terms of overall enjoyability, however, it gets 10 out of 10.

Heidi Ellison

Les Petits Plats: 39, rue des Plantes, 75014 Paris. Mètro: Alésia. Tel.: 01 45 42 50 52. Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday. Fixed-price lunch menu (two courses, no choice): €15. Fixed-price dinner menu: €35. A la carte: around €37.

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