We cross the lights on Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement, and Bouillon Chartier rises up to greet us. A monolith from another time and place. I’m only in the courtyard but I feel like I might be whisked away from the entrance in a ’20s style Rolls Royce a la Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Owen, you can come too!). There is just something about the vibe. It’s magic. And Chartier is one of its carefully crafted illusions. I close my eyes, and am relieved to find it still there when I open them.
Founded in 1896, and classified as a monument historique since 1989, it’s a place with history and tradition. If only the walls could talk. It has only had four different owners since it’s opening and is hugely popular with both locals and visitors alike. Deservedly so. We walk through the front entrance and see before us a grand long, Belle Époque style dining room. It has a high ceiling, allowing for a mezzanine, which is where we are led to our table. We are seated along the balcony overlooking the hustle and bustle of the customers below, and the waiters that move with an almost alarming efficiency.
The wait staff are dressed in the traditional rondin. A tightly fitted black waistcoat and long white apron. We are greeted by our waiter, who informs us that he is number six. “What is your name?” we ask him. “Number Six” he replies with a cheeky wink.
We don’t speak french and he doesn’t really speak English, so there is a definite language barrier. Also, the menu is all in french (unsurprising, we are in France after all!). We are aided by out waiter who happily writes down our order complete with illustrations of what we are getting on our throw away paper table cloth.
The food itself is very classic no frills french. You want fish and potato? Great! That’s what you’re getting. It’s pleasant. Definitely edible. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t love this dining experience because of the food….
Dinner couldn’t be complete without a chocolate profiterole and their famous home-made chantilly cream. I can honestly say it was the most delicious profiterole and cream I’ve ever had the privilege of eating.
What a delight! Until next time…
You should go and i’ll live vicariously. Hopefully you can meet Number Six too!!