The same day I was strolling through Saint Germain when I shot the architectural details on rue Danton, I discovered the most charming restaurant, Roger La Grenouille. Decorated with frogs everywhere, the restaurant was closed in between lunch and dinner but I peered into the windows with great curiosity, wondering what the great frog had to offer. I saw there was a 20€, two course formule, so the deal was cinched and Lynn and I went for lunch last Thursday.
Confused by the front door of the restaurant that was closed, we realized the entrance was through the courtyard, where a pair of leaping iron frogs greeted us. The restaurant was dark and dim, one of the old classic bistros that are far and few between these days. Copper pots hung from the ceiling an authentic way, not just faux pots like you see in modern restaurants striving to create atmosphere. The walls were studded with an eccentric mix of world currencies, Parisian street signs, photos, memorabilia, certificates, and kitschy frogs in every form, from a cartoon poster to the toilet paper holder.
The restaurant was empty and we practically had the place to ourselves until a few other diners arrived thirty minutes later. Since the restaurant was empty, we were not only hungry for lunch but also but also for more insight in to what was on the walls. The kind waiter, who loved the restaurant and has worked there for 10 years, took us on tour, extolling its history and colorful owner, Roger. Roger Spinhirny, the original owner, born in 1900 and died in 1985, took an old shoe repair shop and turned it into a restaurant in 1930. The restaurant shortly took on legendary status with the impresario Roger at the helm and Popes, Presidents, and Queens dined at the humble restaurant as well as Picasso, Francois Truffaut and poet/aviator Saint-Expuery. Balthus was a frequent patron and painted a portrait of Roger. Roger had an heroic side and during WW II, he worked with the Resistance in addition to having a philanthropic side, providing free lunches for poor schoolchildren and the homeless.
Fully captivated by the waiter’s tour, we finally sat and got down to the business of what to have for lunch. The fare for the formule was pretty standard, for entrees, they offered carrot soup, rabbit terrine, and foie gras crème brulee, and plat- Merlan fish, entrecote, or Osso Buco. There was a selection frog’s legs including Provencale and Normandy style (cooked with cider) but unfortunately they were not part of the formule.
The soup arrived in a Pyrex pot and had a nice full body to it, with not too much cream in it, if any at all. Lynn’s terrine was house made and my bite full was tasty and moist. We both ordered Osso Bucco and it came out in a Le Creuset style iron pot, with a glorious scent steaming from it. Lynn and I always have a bit of a disagreement about the tenderness of French meat. I found it tender and easy to chew, Lynn thought the veal was tough. The beer sauce was so tasty we longed for more, as the portion was a bit puny. Dessert was a Café Gourmand, a much more generous portion than the Osso Bucco.
If you’re looking for good bistro comfort food with not much surprise and great atmosphere and charm, Roger La Grenouille is pitch perfect.
Roger La Grenouille
26-28 rue des Grands Augustins, 75006
Open Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12PM-2PM, dinner 7PM-11PM
Tel. +33 1 56 24 24 34
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 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.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
My offer of a 12-month subscription with an extra month free is good until October 31, so remember to order now before the offer ends.
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.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
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.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.