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Dining On Choucroute And Pasta

One of the reasons I fell in love with Paris from the very beginning had to do with food. Growing up in New Orleans where life is one big party (they don’t call it “The Big Easy” for nothing), dining out was a daily affair and dreaming about your next meal was standard procedure. So, it’s no wonder that I have always lived by the philosophy CONTRARY to Socrates’: “Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” Eating is one of those sensual pleasures that you could go through life missing if you believe Socrates — “quel dommage!”

In Paris as a tourist, I could only imagine working my way through the French restaurants. Why waste a single eating Chinese or Italian or Indian? If you’re here for just a week, then this has some validity. But, if you’re here for a month or a year or a lifetime, you could experience dozens of different cuisines in any of the more than 5000 restaurants that line the Paris streets.

This week, thanks to newly acquaintanced French friends, I was taken to a new little Italian restaurant deep in the 10th arrondissement I would never have discovered otherwise. With a simple and inexpensive menu, plus great food prepared with real heart, it is a perfect addition to the Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants

The only real way to find mom/pop restaurants like these is to know someone who lives in the neighborhood. In this case, to thank I have two “Bobo” Frenchmen who have the most beautiful contemporary apartment I have ever seen in Paris (be sure to read this week’s French Property Insider )

But even some of the “big guys,” not so “off the beaten track” are doing a really professional job, and often offer a history the new little bistrots can’t. Funny, though, how they always started with the same mom/pop tale:

At the colonial exhibition in 1930, an Alsatian man named Robert Jenny had a kiosk where he sold produce from his region: salt-pickled cabbage choucroute, sausages and beer. It wasn’t long before he opened a restaurant not far from the place de la République. This address had once been a Russian restaurant (1906), then a Belgian restaurant ( 1914). In the 18th century, this quarter had a reputation of being “Crime Boulevard” when the plays billed at the many theatres in the area mainly drew inspiration from the items in the news.

Today, it’s know as Chez Jenny owned by Les Frères Blanc, a family owned chain starting with the most famous restaurant of Les Halles: Au Pied de Cochon. They now own 12, many of which you are sure to be familiar with such as Le Procope (the oldest restaurant in Paris) and La Fermette Marbeuf.

Chez Jenny was closed all summer for remodeling and is just open with fresh carpeting, new upholstery and a bright new look without having disturbed its original Alsatian decor. We’ll be dining there all together after the Grand Tour of Paris on Sunday (as part of the Working and Living in France Conference) in the Colmar room on the upper level with cocktails, three course dinner, wine and coffee. Guests of our conference participants are welcome to join us — and just need to sign up.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]


1) Le Baraonda, 9, rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris,,, e-mail [email protected]

2) For information about the Working and Living in France Conference (there are still places available), the Grand Tour of Paris (open to the public) and dinner at Chez Jenny, visit /parlerparis/liveinfrance

* * *

* Further resources:

* The good news is that obtaining a mortgage here is very doable.

* Stay in a luxurious apartment in the heart of Paris

* Thirza Vallois, will be taking you by motor coach for a Grand Tour of Paris, winding in and out of the prettiest of streets…


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