It’s rare these days in Paris to find a true mom and pop run bistro. Most bistros are now owned by young start up chefs with a minimal staff or by Michelin star chefs who add simpler style bistros to their roster of two and three star Michelin restaurants.
Les Fetes Galantes near the Pantheon is a hole in the wall that’s stuck in a time warp, but not in a derogatory sense. Among the ten or so tables, the walls are packed to the gills with old Polaroids and snapshots along with thousands of thumb tacked business cards put up by former and frequent clients. On a comical note, one of the walls is lined with lingerie consisting of bras and panties and Lynn and I forgot to ask the reason behind it.
Isabel, a portly and amicable woman, runs the front of the house serving and greeting guests while her Egyptian husband Bibi does the cooking. Lynn frequents Les Fetes Galantes because it’s very close to her apartment and said the house specialty was the pot au feu. We shared a starter of snails which are often overcooked and puny after you go through the trouble of opening them, but these were plump and perfectly cooked without too much garlic. Lynn opted for the duck confit which she liked very much because it wasn’t too salty. Pot au feu presentation wise is not one of the prettiest dishes but Bibi artfully presented his version, carefully laid on a flat white plate highlighting each vegetable and pieces of beef. The meat was tender and the marrow inside the bone was sweet and smooth. Although it was evenly balanced between the meat and the vegetables, I craved a few more of the crisp vegetables, especially the turnips.
Since everything is home made at Les Fetes Galantes, I had to have dessert. I limit myself to one dessert a week these days, so I am very choosy. I’m always up for a warm apple tart and this version, more like a dainty apple turnover served with fresh cream and fruit compote, didn’t disappoint.
One thing to note: Although I loved the charm and authenticity of a husband and wife run bistro, the service was slow to say the least. Patience is required, so be ready for the experience to take at least an hour and fifteen minutes and don’t go when you are starving. Is it worth the wait? Yes and please ask Isabel the purpose of the lingerie on the wall.
Lynn had the two course formule for 15.50€. My pot au feu was 16.50 a la carte and not on the formule and my dessert was 6.50€, so my total was 23€ but well worth the extra three euros.
Les Fetes Galantes
17 Rue de l'École Polytechnique, 75005
Tel. 1 43 26 10 40
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
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Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
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New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
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