The Bistrot des Halles , conveniently located 15 rue des Halles in the 1st arrondissement (phone 01 42 36 91 69 , open 7 am-8.30pm , closed sun.) is the true "bistrot parisien" as well as a wine bar with a sizable wine list .
"Les Halles" were in the past the huge central market in the middle of Paris , dubbed "belly of Paris", and where individuals and restaurateurs came early in the morning to buy vegetables , fish , meat , flowers... for their household or their business . It was an architectural marvel wich was destroyed in the 70's and replaced by a commercial and shopping complex . The Halles neighbourhood had a high concentration of very professional brasseries and restaurants to serve these demanding customers . After the market moved elsewhere ( in far away suburbs ), it changed . But some of the restaurants and bistrots that catered for all these food professionals survived . Like this Bistrot wich outlived the neighbourhood transformations .
Jean Pierre Breud, who previously worked in a cafe near Beaubourg , bought the place 5 1/2 years ago and preserved its style & authenticity : Mosaic floor , real period bistrot chairs, copper on the counter and tin & wood on the work side .
He works with his wife Isabelle who does wonders at the kitchen .
The place is very busy for lunch , with usually two "plats du jour" , plus the menu list . The cuisine like the bistrot, have been the object of several articles in the printed media . Her foie gras , bought in southwestern France and prepared and cooked here , is a must , we were told . Two other persons work here .
Wines by the glass are either whites or reds . When we visited , 14 whites and 20 reds were on the list , from different french regions , plus 3 different Champagnes . Small producers have the big share . Some other wines can be had only by the bottle , to drink with friends or to eat with : A Saint Joseph 2000 , Fronsac 1999, Mercurey 1998 , Cote de Nuits 1999 (22 Euro), for example . The wine cellar of the Bistrot has 50 appellations, wich allows a regular change of the wine list
Wines by the glass begin at 2 Euro . Two volumes are served : 10 cl or 14 cl , with 2 prices . Most prices are about 3 Euro , wich is very reasonnable . A Champagne coupe is 5 Euro .
Our choice was :
__ B. took a Quincy 2003 ( 2,3 & 3,25 Euro ) from Domaine Sylvain Bailly . La Croix Saint Ursin . Quite generous nose , she says , floral , wheat aromas . I chose :
__Fitou 2001 (also 2,3 & 3,25 Euro) Domaine Saint Pancrace . 13 ° .Typical Fitou colour . Round , generous , some leather . Another one I'll write down and look for . Good wine .
To go with this , we took a "planchette de charcuterie" with only quality saucissons, ham , andouille, bought directly from artisans in the french provinces (brittanny, Auvergne, southwest...) and good bread . The planchette is 13 Euro . They have also an "Assiette Italienne" (italian plate) with other charcuteries at 11,5 Euro . Julia , from germany, on the picture on left , is about to enjoy one .
They have several cheeses too , also bought for their qhality , and aged and refined in a separate cellar under the bistrot : Maroilles, Pavé Correzien , Cantal d'Auvergne , Bleu d'Auvergne , Munster... That can be an option with some of the wines . Best is choose the cheese first , and ask the waiter wich wine goes best with .
Our second try :B. took a Sancerre 2003 Domaine Merlin Cherrier 13 ° (3 & 4,1 Euro ) and I took a Vacqueyras, Domaine des Genets 2001 13° (2,9 & 3,8 Euro) . Probably the first Vacqueyras I taste . This appellation is in the Rhone region . I like this one but I think my tasting order should have been the other way around .
We have to leave but will come back for this bistrot ambiance , people dropping sometimes just for a draft beer , habitués staying for hours at a table . Plus , it is very close to Chatelet subway station , a central point in Paris .