Weekends in Paris are languid affairs, where sleeping in, strolling markets and touring galleries is the order of the day. So, it may come as a surprise that brunch only made its Parisian debut in recent years. The mid-morning meal’s laze-appeal, seasonal offerings and attractive prices have secured a following, resulting in its own verb (bruncher), staples (Bloody Mary, svp!) and (see-and-be-seen) scene.
Arguably the most glamorous dining room in the city, the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée glitters with enormous deconstructed Swarovski chandeliers and booths of reflective chrome. Weekend brunch is a not-to-miss multi-hour, multi-course gastronomic journey at the restaurant, accompanied by a coupe (or two) of the star chef’s eponymous champagne.
Dish to Try: Pace yourself on the patisseries to save space for Oeufs mollets cardinal, its signature soft-boiled eggs topped with a lobster medallion.
“Sweet pastries with salty egg dishes, coffee with champagne: Parisian brunch has an unstructured code that allies perfectly with the atmosphere of the weekend.” —Antoine Lair, Breakfast Director, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
Le Bal Café Otto is a collaboration between art space Le Bal and Austrian chef Lisa Machian, with none of its generous portions priced over €15. This art deco-style diner on the edge of Montmartre pulls in a stylish crowd, who remain at Le Bal after their meal to visit the gallery’s photography, film and new-media exhibits, or browse its bookstore for rare and out-of-print art books.
Dish to Try: Indulge in creative comfort fare such as fermented-milk pancakes with bacon cream and cheddar sausage in apple sauce.
Soya Cantine Bio’s vegan brunch was conceived as a buffet to not only tempt the converted but to introduce newbies to the diversity of vegetable-based cuisine. The bustling, high-ceilinged space provides a cheerful backdrop to the sprawling vegan spread, which features courses from mezze to dessert. Wash it all down with natural wines and gluten-free craft beers.
Dish to Try: You can’t go wrong with seasonal dishes such as the curry masala or the tofu-basil puree topped with cashew pesto.
L’Estaminet, a greasy-spoon on rue Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissement, is the place to eat through the morning after. The bistro’s €27 buffet has everything from muesli and viennoiseries (think croissants, brioche and apple turnovers) to bacon and scrambled eggs. Reminiscent of a 1940s-era Parisian bar, this spot sets the tone for an afternoon of vintage shopping nearby.
Dish to Try: Bookend your breakfast with a glass of freshly-pressed juice and a serving of the house-favourite mousse au chocolat.
Brunch with Kids
Joseph Dirand drew reference from artist Yves Klein, the art deco movement and architect Adolf Loos when crafting the design for Monsieur Bleu. But, while high art has its place in this restaurant, located in the Palais de Tokyo, blue finger paint is also bienvenue. While the adults are catching up over coffee, a dedicated children’s host entertains the little ones.
Dish to Try: Try the aged-cheese croque-monsieur or the work of art that is the melt-in-your-mouth pain perdu brioché.
[This story appears in the January 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]