Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-SquareLouvois

The Square Louvois, with the Biblio-
thèque Nationale in the background.
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© 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

 

Le 6 Paul Bert

Bistro Food That Touches
The Mind and the Soul

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert 1

Le 6 Paul Bert, a bistro to go back to.

Now that the blogger buzz over the opening of Le 6 Paul Bert a few months ago has died down, it seemed like a good time to try out this acclaimed new addition to Bertrand Auboyneau’s small empire, which began with the reliably good Bistrot Paul Bert at no. 18, rue Paul Bert, then expanded next door with the seafood restaurant L’Ecailler du Bistrot and now has a new baby bistro at no. 6.

And what a lovely baby it is! On the left when you enter is a deli case full of tempting hams and other goodies, next to a bar over which hangs a string of light bulbs in wine bottles of various shapes. Facing them is a row of red tables in front of a big picture window. At the back is the open kitchen, all stainless steel, where the chef and his assistants labor away.

The real beauty, however, is in the food, much more sophisticated than what is served up at the Bistrot Paul Bert. There are no separate lists of starters and main courses on the menu du jour, just a list of 10 dishes priced at between €12 and €17. You can choose à la carte from these options or order any three of them plus dessert for a set price of €38. My dinner companion, Susan Stamberg of National Public Radio fame, and I chose the latter so that we could taste as many dishes as possible. In case that sounds like too much, rest assured that these are small plates (those who ordered à la carte seemed to get larger helpings of the same dishes).

Susan went all fishy, ordering the barbue (brill) with white asparagus and lemon (actually a very lemony mayonnaise); the daurade (sea bream) with aioli, baby turnips and green asparagus; and lotte (monkfish) with

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert brill

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert sea bream

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert monkfish

green onions. ’She really likes fish,’ the waiter commented, rather disapprovingly, when we ordered. She does, and she loved all of them, but especially the sea bream, and was thrilled with the various high-quality vegetables they came with, every one cooked to perfection, as was the fish.

I mixed it up a bit more. The first dish to arrive was monkfish liver with smoked leeks and

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert monkfish liver

bone-marrow bouillon. It was exquisite, a three-star dish. The liver had a mild, slightly fishy, slightly meaty flavor and the accompaniments turned it into a blissful ménage à trois.

I lucked out again with the large, meaty morels from the Jura region of France, served with a

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert morels

steamed egg yolk and comfrey, another three-star combination. The diner on my right, a self-described foodie from Germany with whom we later fell into conversation, loved it as much as I had and considered it the highlight of the meal. “It touched my mind and soul,” he said.

My third dish was yet another winner: half a baby pigeon (squab to the squeamish) with

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert pigeon

roasted St. George’s mushrooms and lamier (deadnettle, a green with tiny purple flowers that was new to me). Each part of the bloody pigeon was luscious, and it was served with the liver chopped up into a stunningly good preparation.

The organic vin de table, Anagramme (€30), from Autour de Anne, suggested by the waiter, was a fine accompaniment to both the fish and the meaty dishes.

The desserts maintained the high standards set by these sterling dishes. The lemon cannoli

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert lemon dessert

with fromage blanc sorbet was a dream, with the very tart lemon cream softened by the sorbet, and the cookie-like bitter chocolate ganache broken into rough pieces and served

Paris Update 6 Paul Bert chocolate dessert

with cocoa bean and olive oil sorbet was addictive.

A word for the excellent bread by Jean-Luc Poujauran: a dark, crusty one, and a peppery one, both good enough to make a meal on their own.

The service was not outgoingly friendly but was pleasant and unobtrusive. It sometimes seemed that we had to wait for a rather long time between courses, but we were so busy chatting with each other and our neighbors that we barely noticed.

Bravo to the young Canadian chef, Louis-Philippe Riel! I must go now and put Le 6 Paul Bert on my personal list of Paris favorites – and make a reservation to go back.

Heidi Ellison

Le 6 Paul Bert: 6, rue Paul-Bert, 75011 Paris. Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny. Tel.: 01 43 79 14 32. Restaurant open Monday-Saturday for dinner only and Saturday 11am-7pm for tasting platters. Fixed-price menu: €38 for three dishes plus dessert.

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