My Paris: Interview with Gilles Pudlowski

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My Paris: Interview with Gilles Pudlowski

Gilles Pudlowski, aka Pudlo, is the creator of the eponymous restaurant guides that are beloved in France. He’s an award winning French journalist, essayist, literary critic, food lover, cook and gastronomic critic.

A columnist for Saveurs and Cuisine et Vins de France as well as Editor-in-Chief of the blog Les Pieds Dans le Plat, Pudlo understands the art of living and the history of authentic dishes, and he’s constantly on the lookout for the good, the true and the new. “Gilles doesn’t take himself too seriously,” observes writer Albert Nahmias. His book “A Quoi Sert (Vraiment) un Critique Gastronomique, dedicated to his mâitre and friend, the late great Christian Millau, proves that.”

Always on the road discovering and encouraging new talent, he taps into the latest foodie fashions and trends. One wonders: Does he ever sleep? Outgoing, ebullient and garrulous – just like his reviews – he has a genuine love of restaurants and chefs, sharing his delicious discoveries daily on his blog: www.gillespudlowski.com and his Instagram account @gillespudlo.

To mark the publication of Petit Pudlo des Bistrots (2022), Gilles opens his address book for Bonjour Paris readers: Download the guide and don’t leave home without it. (Spoiler alert: Pudlo’s “Bistro of the Year” is Le Paris 16.)

Trophees Pudlo des Bistrots poster

Trophees Pudlo des Bistrots poster

Margaret Kemp: Where were you born?

Gilles Pudlowski: Metz, northeast France, at the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers, northwest of Strasbourg and south of the Luxembourg frontier.

What are you most proud of in terms of your own achievement?

I have the good fortune to have the best job in the world.

A hidden talent?

I always wanted to be either Gene Vincent or Eddie Cochrane, so I compensate by singing in the shower – the acoustics are excellent!

A person past or present, with whom you would like to share a bottle of wine?

Guillaume Apollinaire, one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century, as well as one of the most impassioned defenders of Cubism and a forefather of Surrealism.

A local you admire?

Hélène Darroze. A wonder woman, but humble at the same time, talented cheffe and excellent mother to her daughters Charlotte and Quiterie.

A favorite Paris walk?

Everywhere! La Promenade des Quais de Seine, one sees a magnificent panorama of Paris: Le Pont Mirabeau, Statue of Liberty, The Eiffel Tower. J’adore!

Every Parisian should own?

Le Pass Navigo! For the metro and the bus. I have one in each pocket, I’m so nervous about losing/forgetting them. The Navigo is the key to the city.

Helene Darroze at Chateay La Coste

Helene Darroze at Chateau La Coste

You can’t live without?

My iPhone.

Favorite Paris lunch spot?

Aux Lyonnais. Simple, quality price it’s excellent. The cheffe Marie Victorine (from Lyon) is “Cheffe of the Year” in Petit Pudlo des Bistrots. After Noma, Copenhagen, Atala D.O.M, Sao Paulo and chez Daniel Humm, NYC Marie Victorine returned to Paris delighting us all with her modern spin on Lyonnais cuisine. Respect to Alain Ducasse for renovating and conserving this magnificent Art-Nouveau maison circa 1890 – the restaurant not Monsieur Ducasse!

Aux Lyonnais restaurant

Aux Lyonnais © pmonetta

Best address for a café or drink?

Cravan, the essence of Parisian chic, at 17, rue de la Fontaine in the 16th. Named for Arthur Cravan, Oscar Wilde’s nephew, the bar showcases Cravan’s duality as poet and boxer. Located in a listed Art Nouveau building – serving clients since 1911. Try the Tunnel, which twists a classic Negroni, adding a splash of dry vermouth for extra complexity, or the house French 75. Don’t ignore the delicious food either, from oysters to grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

 

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Where do you shop for clothes?

I used to go to Arthur & Fox on rue de la Pompe, 16th but recently changed to Harrison also on rue de la Pompe. It’s less formal and their tailoring and fit is excellent.

Where do you shop for groceries?

Chez Delphine Plisson and I recommend La Grand Epicerie de Paris for everything – and they are so polite.

Your favorite part of Paris?

That’s a difficult one! Auteuil, a village and the countryside in Paris. Nouvelle Athenes SOPI (South of Pigalle) for the romantic history and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, bien sûr.

Something amusing?

I like to play the tourist, listen to people’s conversations. So I head for a hotel bar. I enjoy the atmosphere on the front terrace at the Plaza Athénée and in the fabulous gardens of the Hôtel Bristol, newly redesigned by Lady Arabella Lennox Boyd – very cool.

A secret activity that delights you?

I wait for my six grandchildren to come to Paris to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower!

Where do you take guests visiting Paris?

Place Furstenberg, just off Boulevard Saint Germain and next door to the Musée Eugène Delacroix. The artist’s former home and pretty garden showcases tributes from great artists of the 1920s such as Maurice Denis, Paul Signac, Édouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel- and afterwards Aux Deux Magots for some refreshments and people watching.

Aux Deux Magots

Aux Deux Magots © Gilles Pudlowski

Best Life Lesson?

Bien faire et laisser dire. Follow your own path don’t take notice of others.

Three words to live by?

Eat – Drink – Love

You have €25 left – how will you spend it?

2 nice bottles of Beaujolais (but certainly not the nouveau!)

How do you stay in shape?

I try to be reasonable, not always easy. Read my book, Comment Être Critique Gastronomique et Garder La Ligne (2004, Editions du Rocher).

How to be a food critic and keep in shape book cover by Gilles Pudlowski

How to be a food critic and keep in shape book cover by Gilles Pudlowski

Favorite Film?

Ah, there are so many. Un Homme et Une Femme (Claude Lelouch),
Vincent, Paul et les Autres (Claude Sautet), Truffaut’s Baisers Volés, Danny Boyles’, Yesterday

Favorite city outside Paris?

Strasbourg, of course! A very European city, romantic, gourmande, fraternal, cheaper than Paris. My heart is there!

Lead photo credit : Gilles Pudlowski @ LS

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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 !