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I’d heard that dining in a traditional Bouillon Paris restaurant was an authentic Parisian experience. It just took me a while to walk through the door. Was I ever glad that I did!
Bouillon Paris: A Little History
Bouillon restaurants were started by a clever butcher, Pierre-Louis Duval, in 1855 who decided to offer a warm meal to the workers in the Marché des Halles. Serving a simple and affordable bouillon or broth brimming with meat, his restaurants were incredibly popular. The Bouillon restaurants were the first chain of restaurants and by the beginning of the 20th century, there were close to 250 Paris bouillon restaurants.
Bouillon restaurants evolved and became more popular among the bourgeois and eventually fell out of favour.
But, a few years ago, the classic bouillon Paris restaurant started making a comeback. Traditional comfort food was once again popular.
Today there is a resurgence of Paris bouillon restaurants offering traditional French cuisine at affordable prices. Which one will you try?
What To Expect At A Bouillon Paris Restaurant
- traditional French cuisine
- a large choice of entrées (starters), plats (main course) and desserts
- affordable prices – good for all budgets
- quick and efficient service
- lineups that move quite quickly
- an authentic Parisian atmosphere
- open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week
Where To Find The Best Paris Bouillon Restaurants
- Bouillon Chartier, 7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9eme Paris (historic monument)
- Bouillon Chartier Montparnasse, 59 Bd du Montparnasse, 6eme Paris (historic monument)
- Bouillon Chartier Gare de L’Est, 5 rue du 8 mai, 1945, 10eme Paris
- Bouillon Pigalle, 22 B,d du Clichy, 18eme, Paris
- Bouillon République, 39 Bd du Temple, 3eme, Paris
- Bouillon Julien, 16 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10eme, Paris (historic monument)
- Le Petit Bouillon Vavin, 119 Bd du Montparnasse, 6eme, Paris
Bouillon Paris Restaurants: Bouillon Julien
I’d been in flâneuse mode. For those of you that count steps, I was nearing 15000 and I was starving or as the French would say, I had a “faim du loup.” Luckily for me, I was standing in front of Bouillon Julien.
I pushed open the door, peeked behind the long velvet curtain and knew I had hit a hotspot. It was buzzing with chitchat, full to the brim and the stunning Art Nouveau decor had me at, “Bonjour!”
Bouillon Julien opened its doors in 1906, having been constructed by the French architect Edouard Fournier. Top Art Nouveau artisans of the day were used to design the sumptuous and elegant interior. I couldn’t take my eyes off the sea-green walls, the mirrors, the lights, and the glassworks of four nymphs representing the seasons nor the peacock panels which symbolize eternity and paradise.
Walking across the tile floor is like walking on a carpet of flowers. The bar, well over 100 years old, in Cuban mahogany and pewter is remarkable. I had to drag my gaze from the stained glass ceiling to order my meal. Dining at this bouillon Paris restaurant is simply a must.
Read More| For Art Nouveau fans only! Here are some top places in Paris where this floral and whimsical style can be seen.
Seated amidst the lunchtime crowd, I perused the menu. The choice of hors d’oeuvres (in French the entrée) ranges from leek vinaigrette with hazelnuts, eggs mayonnaise (I know I’ve been living in France a while when this excites me) and escargots from Burgundy. For the main (le plat) there are 13 choices ranging from beef bouillon to rabbit, fish, and poultry. And the desserts? A lovely choice including créme caramel and chocolate mousse.
I thoroughly enjoyed my main course featuring cod as I sat and sipped my wine watching the lunchtime crowd. I rounded off my meal with a delectable crème caramel and a noisette (espresso with a dash of milk).
A three-course meal at this Bouillon restaurant will cost about 20 €(without wine).
Practicalities Of This Bouillon Paris Restaurant
Bouillon Julien, 16 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10eme Paris
Hours: Open daily from 11:45 a.m. to midnight, reservations recommended.
Bouillon Paris Restaurants: Bouillon République
Bouillon République is the sister restaurant to Bouillon Pigalle where the lineup snakes out the door all day long.
On a gloomy Monday at noon, I met my friend Lolo for déjeuner at this newly opened bouillon restaurant. It was my suggestion, born of curiosity to see if all Paris bouillon restaurants are created equally and determination to try all the bouillon Paris restaurants.
We lined up for a few minutes and stepped into a world of ancient charm. Wooden panelling and globe lights were the backdrops to the bustling bistro. Full to the brim, the waiters were hustling amidst crowded tables and a din of convivial chitchat.
For a foodie, it’s easy to get excited by the menu at a bouillon restaurant. There’s a choice of twelve entrées (starters) including such items as oeufs mayonnaise, a leek vinaigrette, and a purée of cauliflower and chestnuts. The prices range from €2.20 to €3.80, affordable enough to try two!
For the main, prices range from just less than €9 to just less than €12 with a plethora of choices. Serving traditional French cuisine, choucroute, steak with pepper sauce, and carbonade de boeuf are three dishes that grace the menu. Vegetarians have a limited choice although, the baked squash with blue cheese and walnuts sounds very appealing.
I ordered the “gratin de cabillaud, purée de pommes de terre et choux-fleurs” – a baked purée of cod, potaotes and cauliflour. Not what I was expecting, it was delicious.
Of course, being a lover of French pâtisseries (find all my top choices right here) I had to finish with a dessert. I chose Profiterole with ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was simply divine. Lolo chose Baba au Rhum, another superstar.
What makes the Bouillon République one I’d go back to is the lively atmosphere, friendly and efficient service and affordable prices. One can easily have a generous meal here for €20.
Update: October 2022: I have passed by the Bouillon République many, many times. There is always a line up!
Practicalities Of This Bouillon Paris Restaurant
Bouillon République, 39 Bd du Temple, 3eme Paris
Hours: Open daily from 12 pm to midnight, reservations available.
Read More | Looking for vegetarian and vegan options in Paris? Try these best vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
Bouillon Paris Restaurants: Le Petit Bouillon Vavin
I met my Swiss friend Elsbeth for my first bouillon Paris restaurant experience at Le Petit Bouillon Vavin. Everything was exactly as it should be at a bouillon restaurant. Red and white checkered tablecloths, a buzzing ambience, a multitude of traditional French plates, and very quick service.
I started with a delicious vinaigrette of haricots verts (green beans) followed by the cabillaud (cod). The portions were very generous.
As with all Paris Bouillons, the prices are affordable with starters starting as €2.10, main courses starting at €8.60 and desserts at €2.80. Glasses of wine start at €1.90.
Practicalities Of This Bouillon Paris Restaurant
Le Petit Bouillon Vavin, 119 Bd du Montparnasse, 6eme, Paris
Hours: Open daily from 12 pm to midnight
I hope you enjoy sharing a meal with friends at a Paris Bouillon Restaurant. Where will you go first?
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
Gastronomy in Paris:
Now that you know where to find the best bouillon Paris restaurant, here are some more food suggestions. Read about where to find the most delectable Pâtisseries in Paris. Have you tried all these classic pâtisseries, like the Paris Brest?
Here is where to find the best croissant in Paris and here are my tips about French baguettes and how to eat them like the French!
Are you a cheese lover? Have you tried these French cheeses? And here are seven of the best fromageries in Paris to find that perfect cheese, and have that, oh so fun, experience of standing amongst oodles of cheese.
There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. Suggestions for restaurants in the Marais is a popular post along with the best places to eat in Canal Saint-Martin.
If you are in Paris and gluten-free, luckily it is much easier to satisfy the taste buds than it was years ago. Here is my go-to on gluten-free delights.
DELICIOUS TIP: If you are here in January, don’t miss out on this very traditional pâtisserie that only makes an appearance once a year. Find out more here.
Exploring Paris and Beyond:
PARIS: Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller. And this guide on the Paris arrondissements will help you plan the best trip ever!
Where To Stay in Paris: Suggestions are here
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. Did you subscribe to my newsletter to get my awesome 2-Days in Paris Itinerary?
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint-Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais.
Canal Saint-Martin is great fun to explore. Here is what to do in this Bobo quartier.
These hidden gems of Paris will lead you to uncover some super secrets in Paris.
FRANCE: If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.
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