My Paris Stories

The taste of the Paris Pletzl

"Chez Marianne” is what you can call an institution, it’s the mainstay of the Jewish quarter somehow. But here you get the Sephardic alternative to the Ashkenazi fare served in the spots all around.

Strangely, its name is not Jewish at all but very Republican. Marianne is, as you might know, the national emblem of France, an allegory of liberty and reason. The restaurant is just coined after her. Don’t ask me why. An idealist must have done it, a long time ago. You still see portraits of her all over. There is one painting showing Marianne together with former president Jacques Chirac. Also represented on the painting is the World Cup, which the “Bleue” won in 1998. It was a key moment of French History when the Republic with a capital "r" still was a promise to all French immigrants.

Not eating animals? It's your place

So, obviously, "Chez Marianne” is a great spot but watch out: the day you come and eat here is the day you don’t care about kilos and diets. You don’t want to eat animals anymore? Welcome, here is one of the rare eateries in France where you can stick to this choice without a problem. It’s all about the Middle Eastern cuisine “Chez Marianne” - and ingredients are absolutely fresh and of good quality.

Nothing is actually more exciting than the pick-as-you-please-platter. It’s a science, I agree. The other day, we had to explain to our neighbours how the system works.

Pick-as-you-please

The system? Well, the waiter won’t explain it to you, I’m afraid. But it’s not complicated. You choose from a great assortment of dips and salads like delicious eggplant caviar, tarama, sesame cream, hummus, chopped liver, artichoke salad, not to forget the lovely falafel. Platters can contain from four (€ 12) to 10 (€ 26) different meze depending on your appetite or purse. Most of them are absolutely soul warming. Enjoy them with a glass of red wine and the day will be yours.

It’s a lovely place, too, somehow nostalgic. During lunch hours and dining traffic peaks it can be difficult to get a table. It’s even more improbable to get one at the lovely terrace during a nice summer evening, so try to reserve beforehand. Otherwise just go for the takeaway falafel in pita sold for € 4,50. You won’t be hungry after.

Chez Marianne
2, rue de Hospitaliers
75004 Paris
Tél. +33(0)1 42 72 78 86
Open every day from 12am-12pm
Metro: Saint-Paul