May Restaurant Buzz: Where to Eat in Paris

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May Restaurant Buzz: Where to Eat in Paris

Lily of the Valley (muguet des bois) has been “the lucky flower” of May since the Renaissance. In 1561, Charles IX of France launched the tradition – offering it to the ladies of the court on May 1st. And that’s the origin of La Fête du Muguet –it’s also La Fête du Travail, a public holiday. May is chock full of holidays in France: the 8th commemorates Victory Day, the 9th celebrates Le Jeudi d’Ascension (when Jesus ascended to heaven), and lundi de Pentecôte (Whitsun) falls on the 20th. So be sure to check opening hours for restaurants in Paris, and confirm reservations in advance. Here’s some of the most exciting food news this month. 

“Le plus grand changement c’est de ne rien changer.” The biggest change is to change nothing.  –Paul Bocuse 1926-2018 

La Tour d’Argent – Wine, Friends & Rock n’roll 

Rock on at a live concert by Grapeful Dead taking place at the La Tour d’Argent! Grapeful Dead debuted about 20 years ago, celebrating the friendship of winegrowers from the northern Rhône Valley. It’s led by Paul Amsellem with Yves Gangloff and Pierre Jean Villa. As passionate about wine as they are for music, they’ll perform on the Toit de la Tour (roof of the Tour d’Argent) at the achingly upscale TDA’s first ever outdoor live concert! Here’s a unique opportunity to taste excellent Rhône wines, chosen by the Grapefuls, with Victor Gonzalez Head Somm. Expect delicious gourmet bites by chef Yannick Franques, all with breathtaking views of Paris.  

DETAILS

Monday May 13th, 2024 from 7.30-11.30 Price €95 
15 Quai de la Tournelle, 5th 
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine 
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 54 10 08 

Tour d’Argent rooftop

The Best Baguette in Paris 2024… 

…goes to Utopie Bakery as boulanger Xavier Netry scoops the €4000 prize – seeing off 172 contenders. Monsieur Netry also has the honor of supplying his beautiful baguettes for President Macron, guests/family at the Elysée Palace and The Paris Town Hall.  Bravo! 

DETAILS

Boulangerie Utopie
20 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11th 
Tel: +33 (0)9 82 50 74 48 

courtesy of Boulangerie Utopie

Bar des Près Montaigne 

Cyril Lignac’s latest address highlights delicate Japanese dishes. Located a sushi roll’s throw from Avenue Montaigne, and its retail therapy, Bar des Prés makes the third BDP address in Paris, following the successful venue on London’s Albermarle Street launched in 2021.

“It’s a cuisine made for sharing,” says Lignac. Focusing on Japan, the menu brings together yellowtail sashimi (from €22), fatty tuna and shrimp nigiri, eel makis, and a melting black cod. There are also the signature recipes, such as the iconic crunchy galette crab cake with Madras curry and avocado (€30). A myriad of cocktails include a margarita twisted in the Japanese style with wasabi (from €16) and non-alcohol (€13).

The hip contemporary design is by Studio KO.  “We started together 20 years ago,” Lignac recalls. “KO were not well known – neither was I! They designed the first Bar des Prés in 2016 and my five patisseries.” He also reveals that KO designed his apartment. “I love what they do.”

Sayonara! 

DETAILS

21 rue Bayard, 8th 
Metro: Franklin D Roosevelt 
Tel: +33 (0)1 87 53 60 60 
Open 7/7 for lunch and dinner 

Bar des Près Montaigne, Cyril Lignac. Photo: Geraldine Martens

O’Sullivans Bar & Grill 

Charismatic chef Gary O’Hanlon has arrived at the helm of the kitchen. Originally from Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, he’s spent time at the famous The Olde Post Inn, Cloverhil and at the Lobster Pot of the Galway Bay Hotel. With his signature “cock’s comb bun,” the build of a rugby player, and the energy of a rock star, Gary is today the one of the heroes of the new Irish culinary scene. 

A globe-trotting chef, he activated the kitchens of Devlin’s, Boston, propelled Viewmount House as one of the best Irish restaurants, and established the Château du Coudreceau in France among the beautiful destinations of the Loire Valley. The chef has a big heart, never hesitating to cook for a good cause and share his passion for gastronomy via his appearances on the BBC, his TV and radio shows, his columns for The Irish Times and his recent podcast (with his colleague Gareth Mullins).  

“It is always difficult to introduce yourself but, if it is necessary to do so, then I must admit, and I accept it, that I’m an Irish chef belonging to an uninhibited generation which now dares to express its terroir, its roots, its country. My Ireland and the cuisine that accompanies it are flavors from land and sea, dishes that nourish hearts and bodies. I’ve worked in the USA, in France and each country is an encounter and my cuisine never fails to draw inspiration from it. In my dishes, I bring my Ireland beyond its borders. Finding myself in Paris today is therefore as much a dream as it is a chance. I’m  proud and delighted to share my cuisine in this unique city for all cooks. An even stronger pleasure in the heart of the legendary Bastille and this O’Sullivans Bar & Grill, eager to convey the taste of our pubs loud and clear,” he tells BP.

DETAILS

6, place de la Bastille, 12th 
Metro: Bastille
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 01 09 83 
Open 7/7 

courtesy of O’Sullivan’s Bastille

La Maison du Chocolat 

Celebrate Paris 2024 – Les Jeux Olympics – Friday 26th July-Sunday 11th August while enjoying the 329 events in 32 sports (including Le Breakdancing!) Rendezvous by the Seine (opening ceremony) at Le Stade de France and the Trocadero Gardens with delicious souvenir chocolates.

courtesy of the Maison du Chocolat

Flon Flon 

Near the Arc de Triomphe, Flonflon revives the atmosphere of Parisian bistros, 2024 style. After graduating from the prestigious Ferrandi school, Pierre-Thomas Clément joined the teams in the kitchens of Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire. The 36-year-old chef, from the Yvelines area, likes to highlight products of the Paris region with simple recipes. Cooking with seasonal products, his menu changes every two months. The mantra in the kitchen? Quality! Clément uses spices discreetly and creates original sauces finding it important “to preserve the pure taste of my food.” A recent menu featured starters of chestnut soup, chicken cream and rosé des prés (€13); prawn ravioli, leeks with ginger, coconut red curry broth (€16); mains of a tasty Burgundian-braised beef cheek, celeriac puree (€26); or the beautiful barley risotto, dry milk, butternut, white onion cream and pears (€25). For dessert, homemade chocolate cake with a pistachio center (€14). 

And, at aperitif hour, the menu features tapas to share with friends/or not! Japanese-style sardines (€9), Miso eggplant (€9) or gouda with truffle (€13), Iberian ham croquettes (€11) and don’t ignore the fabulous Croque-Monsieur with porcini mushrooms (€14). 

DETAILS

2, rue Brunel, 17th 
Metro: Argentine 
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 90 09 95 
Closed Saturday & Sunday 

courtesy of Flon Flon

La Ferrandaise 

Bright new décor (following 8 months of renovations) still rustic and elegant makes this jewel of “Parisian bistronomy” a must. Named for the rare Ferrandaise breed of cattle found at Puy-de-Dôme, here’s an address for beefeaters. The menu, by Gilles Lamiot, highlights the best Auvergne produce. Cheese is exceptional: Saint Nectaire, Cantal, Salers, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne. 

The wines, selected by Lamiot, arrive from small organic vineyards. Enjoy all this in the main dining room, the tiny salle intimiste or the wine cellar.   

DETAILS

8, rue de Vaugirard, 6th 
Metro: Odeon/Cluny 
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 26 36 36 
Lunch menu €20 Menu-carte €42 Starters €13 Mains €25 Desserts €11 
Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday & Monday lunch 

courtesy of La Ferrandaise

The Ritz, Paris  

On Monday, June 3, 2024, the Ritz Paris celebrates summer with an exceptional evening bringing together two emblems of French excellence – gastronomy and music – in a unique, bucolic setting in the heart of the hotel’s fragrant Grand Jardin. It’s “One Enchanted Evening”- an ultra-chic cocktail reception with a romantic classical concert by violinist Renaud Capuçon accompanied by pianist Guillaume Bellom.

“Artists have always celebrated the Ritz, Paris. In 2024 the Ritz Paris pays homage to them,” explains the legendary pastry chef François Perret, who promises delicious delicacies in collaboration with Ritz Executive chef Jérôme Legras.

Prepare to be amazed.

DETAILS 

La Nuit Enchantée at the Ritz Paris, from €250.
Monday, June 3, 2024 
7.30pm: Champagne cocktail reception 
9pm: Open-air concert by Renaud Capuçon 
15 place Vendome, 1st 
Metro: Concorde 
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 16 30 30 

Lead photo credit : Bar des Près Montaigne. Photo: Geraldine Martens

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !