Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
The online travel guide of “Time” magazine has got it right: any restaurant-bar located near the Louvre Museum is either a tourist trap or overpriced. Remarkably, the consistently excellent Le Fumoir is neither. Indeed, this is a place to seek out: for drinks, for lunch, for dinner and even for breakfast. They serve a great brunch here on week-ends (which is pretty rare in Paris). Don’t feel hungry? Then just have a drink and kill some time while reading: the restaurant space is flanked by book shelves where you’ll also find a good selection of newspapers, which is pretty cool.
The decor is contemporary, in wood, leather, and brownish tones, yet there’s a cosy twist to it (thanks to the books, I imagine). Overall, “Le Fumoir” is a place where you like to spend time, as a local or a visitor, where you feel good and cosmopolitain, it’s a place packed with people, just as a city restaurant should be. Smokers, don’t be misled by the name: here as anywhere in Paris smoking is banned, so the remaining hardcore will have to stand outside to get their dose of nicotine – your view will be nice though: the grand Louvre is just across the street.
Feel hungry now? Then close your eyes and run your finger down on the menu – you can make your choice here blindly and confidently. You’ll get classic French starters like a green lentil salad, a chunk of foie gras served with excellent bread and a chutney made of dates and figs. There’s a creamy spinach salad, there are daily soups or just a “ginger crush” if you’re on a diet (but if you are, what are you doing in Paris?).
The mains put good produce center stage, there’s seasonal fare like scallops (served with mashed celery and slices of turnips, very good!), Argentinian beef (heaven knows why) and organic chicken and guinea fowl. Vegetarian dishes make up part of the menu which, in Paris, is pretty unheard of, and they’re prepared with the same love and care as all the others, it seems, like a vegetable curry or a truffled risotto. The winelist is adequate if you’re expectations aren’t too hight, with quite a few wines served by the glass and, believe me, even the coffee at “Le Fumoir” is better than in most other places.
“La formule” at lunchtime comprises a starter and a main and comes in at 18,50 Euros (24 US$), if you add in a dessert you’ll pay a bit more. Dinner menu is richer and wider and if you don’t eat à la carte you can have a more than decent three-course-meal for 32 Euros (40 US$). Given the quality, the atmosphere, “le cadre”, as the French say, that is very, very competitive. A very good place to have a very good time.Le Fumoir 6, rue de l’amiral Coligny 75001 Paris +33 (0)1 42 92 00 24 Métro: Louvre-Rivoli