Parisian Bobos Discover Brunch at Bread & Roses and Claus
The one-stop-shop meal of the weekend, brunch — the melding of breakfast and lunch — is an all-American invention. This common habit traveled to Britain at the end of the nineteenth century. A hundred years later it crossed the Channel and is now the rage among French Bobos. The term Bobo applies to a class of young, hip Bourgeois who are open-minded and quick to jump on new fads. Les Bobos put aside the traditional family Sunday lunch leg of lamb and vote for brunch: sweet or salty, eggs Benedict or brioche, brunch offers the liberty to enjoy all of the above.
Bread & Roses, the former Hermès canteen, has been transformed into a tea lounge, bakery and épicerie, and stylish Parisians nibble on quiche, smoked salmon and delicious pies. Brunch is served daily (30 euros). 25, rue Boissy-d’Anglas, 8th arrondissement, 01 47 42 40 00, www.breadandroses.fr
Craving Italian food while in Paris? Why not? And forget the old adage “When in Rome…” or “… in Paris.”
Italian chow is the preferred foreign cuisine of the French, who admit that since the conquest of the Gauls by Julius Caesar, Italians are not really foreigners. The French have embraced Italian cuisine as well as Italian art, culture and social organization, and hired Leonardo da Vinci to build palaces for their kings who married powerful or beautiful women — the latest being Carla, the spouse of Sarkozy. They also learned from them to eat with forks. It’s no surprise that there’s no dearth of Italian eateries in Paris.
Our friend Jean-Claude Ribaud, one of the most respected food critics in France, has visited — or revisited — a fistful of old and new Parisian Italian restaurants. For more on Italian cuisine at large, read John Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered the World.
A Chinese billionaire has just purchased the most glamorous Burgundy wine estate, Gevrey-Chambertin, which was owned by the same French family for more than 150 years, at an astronomical price. Why not? The problem, though, may be that there are more Chinese billionaires eager to buy vineyards in France than there are glamorous wine estates in the hills of Burgundy and on the banks of the Garonne. Some fear that, in the future, top French wines will exhibit a too-strong Mandarin accent.
The historic Hôtel de Crillon, located right on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, will be closing its doors around autumn 2012. But there is a happy ending, as it will reopen about two years later completely renovated from top to bottom, every corner and space. It will also include the addition of a new spa.
The façade just recently received a facelift. To hide the scaffolding — and help preserve the grandeur of the Place de la Concorde — the outside of the building was covered for a year with a tarpaulin printed with a reproduction of the exterior. (The recycled cloth has since been turned into hand bags, each one-of-a-kind, which are available at the hotel gift shop.)
Now we must talk about one very important part of the hotel: the restaurantLes Ambassadeurs, orchestrated by 30-year-old chef Christopher Hache. This former ballroom, with views of the Place de la Concorde, was restored a few years ago making it an even more stunning setting for an unforgettable lunch or dinner.
Installed in a former butcher shop, where not much has changed since the nineteenth century except for a few recently added scars on the wall to render it even more authentic, Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris must be one of the most bistro-ish bistros of the world and possibly one of the most emblematic. The bistrot — with a ’t’ or without — is now a part of our lifestyle and an indispensible component of a gastronomically civilized city. We are well used to its format: the zinc bar, banquettes, white marble top tables, chalkboard menu, waiters clad in black aprons, steak frites and blanquette de veau, and the house red wine.