PARIS

PA RT 1 : DAY 1, LUNCH

Canada’s 100 Best - - Travel -

Where to take my daugh­ter for her his­toric first meal in Paris was a sur­pris­ingly easy call. On my first trip there, with my par­ents, I was whisked all but straight from de Gaulle to the ven­er­a­ble Brasserie Lipp, in Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés. And there for me be­gan two en­dur­ing love af­fairs (one with Paris, another with chou­croute garni). So, 30 years on there was noth­ing for it but to try for a re­peat, and head straight for the same old brasserie. And I mean the same. In a chang­ing world, Lipp is a con­stant. As we set­tled onto our ban­quette, a waiter brushed past bear­ing plates of cerve­las ré­moulade—on the menu here since 1880, and still look­ing just like Hem­ing­way de­scribed it in A Move­able Feast (“...a heavy, wide frank­furter split in two, and cov­ered with a spe­cial mus­tard sauce.”) De­spite the 25°C heat, my 87-year-old mother sum­moned her in­ner Al­sa­tian and man­aged a chou­croute garni (sliced ham, ham hock, ba­con, sausages, etc.) all by her­self. I opted for chou­croute de la mer—my sauer­kraut loaded with salmon, had­dock and smoked had­dock (an in­au­then­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the fish of land­locked Al­sace, but de­li­cious all the same). My wife set­tled on the one light, weather-ap­pro­pri­ate dish on the menu (sole me­u­nière). And for her first French meal my daugh­ter opted for the fa­mil­iar (duck con­fit). Then it was time for île flot­tante, prof­iteroles, espresso, co­gnac, a short walk­a­bout through some cen­turies-old lo­cal churches, and a long af­ter­noon nap.

Brasserie Lipp, 151 boule­vard Sain­tGer­main, 75006 Paris, brasserielipp.fr A sen­ti­men­tal day de­manded a fa­mil­iar lo­ca­tion for din­ner, too, and so for that I chose another of my par­ents’ lo­cal favourites. Some con­text: my fa­ther, Morde­cai, knew French cook­ing was the best. But he had lit­tle ap­pre­ci­a­tion for haute cui­sine and no pa­tience what­so­ever for its rit­u­als and pre­ten­tions; his pas­sion­ate en­thu­si­asm fo­cussed ex­clu­sively on la cui­sine bour­geoise (think coq au vin, cas­soulet, en­trecôte bor­de­laise, etc). Restau­rant Al­lard has forged its rep­u­ta­tion on just that since 1932. And while some in­dif­fer­ent years fol­lowed the Al­lard fam­ily’s de­par­ture in 1995, I was very keen to see how things were run­ning in the new era—since Alain Du­casse bought the place four years ago. First, I can hap­pily re­port that the master chef has had the good sense to not change a whit of Al­lard’s charm­ing Old World dé­cor, nor the con­cept. In other good news, the master chef’s healthy re­spect for tra­di­tion ex­tends to ap­point­ing a fe­male chef (Fanny Her­pin) to run his kitchen, main­tain­ing an all-too-rare con­ven­tion that at Al­lard dates to in­cep­tion (when the kitchen was helmed by Marthe Al­lard, and then by her leg­endary daugh­ter-in-law, Françoise). More im­por­tant still, chef Her­pin is here by merit alone; she and her team cook beau­ti­fully. We nib­bled first on per­fect pâté de cam­pagne on thin toast along with the re­fresh­ing coun­ter­point of a sim­ple cu­cum­ber salad. Then, work­ing through a sub­lime Meur­sault (2013, Sous la Velle, Anne Bois­son), we tack­led lus­cious es­car­gots in their shells, the best toma­toes of the sea­son, and a salad of crisp let­tuce and homard bleu with but­tery crou­tons. To fol­low, a mag­nif­i­cently large, plump, firm and pris­tine Dover sole for two, façon me­u­nière (all it needed), poached tur­bot with beurre blanc, and suc­cu­lent roast lamb. To fin­ish, be ad­vised that Du­casse has slipped his sig­na­ture rum baba onto the bistro menu. Or­der it—or live in re­gret ever af­ter.

Restau­rant Al­lard, 41 rue Saint-An­dré des Arts, 75006 Paris, restau­rant-al­lard.fr The plan was to take ev­ery­one to the Rodin Mu­seum, and with a view to max­i­miz­ing our time there I self­lessly vol­un­teered to ease back on the heavy din­ing sched­ule and in­stead have a quick bite at a bistro nearby. But guess what hap­pens when you google “restau­rants near Rodin Mu­seum”? The clos­est place is l’Arpège, which has held three Miche­lin stars since 1996 and whose veg­etable-tot­ing chef, Alain Pas­sard, won the 2017 Life­time Achieve­ment Award from the World’s 50 Best Restau­rants. What could we do? Well, now we know what a tomato salad looks like when it costs $125 (stun­ning, go fig­ure). We were moved, too, by the colour­ful ar­ray of sen­sa­tion­ally del­i­cate veg­etable ravi­o­lis adrift in laven­der-ac­cented con­sommé. The beet tartare (the one that started it all) was good, and the vege­tar­ian “sushi” ex­tremely pretty if a bit silly (what did all that rice add to the culi­nary equa­tion, ex­actly?). For­tu­nately, I had been re­li­ably ad­vised to not stay the course with tourist­driven veg­e­tar­i­an­ism here, and in­stead sam­ple Pas­sard’s less trendy work with meat and fish. So, next I was next tuck­ing into

BEET TARTARE AT L’ARPÈGE

LOB­STER WITH FOAMED VIN JAUNE RE­DUC­TION AT L’ARPÈGE

THREE GEN­ER­A­TIONS OF RICHLERS OUT­SIDE BRASSERIE LIPP

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