Paris: Day 8

November 20, 2023 • 11:00 am

I had to leave Paris before I could post about my final day, which consisted largely of lunch and packing. I’ve one more post to go—about the antisemitism and antiracism demonstration—so be patient.

The photos of the dishes of our final meal are unsatisfactory as I used my point-and-shoot camera, but it was so dark in the restaurant that I had to use shutter speeds as slow as 1/8 of a second, which makes for blurry photos. I should have used my iPhone. But so be it.

Three of us dined at one of Paris’s most famous restaurants, Chez Dumonet, sometimes called Joséphine or Joséphine Chez Dumonet: it’s in a house owned by a woman named Joséphine, but the owners were Dumonets.  It’s an upscale bistro, perhaps the most expensive of the ones we dined at, but it’s absolutely worth it.  We had reservations at the front of the house, as sometimes foreigners get exiled to Siberia, in a small two-table alcove walled off from the rest of the diners off the kitchen. That is unsatisfactory, for a large part of the eating experience in Paris is watching the other diners, seeing what they order, and often speaking to them. In Paris you don’t dine before you go out for entertainment; eating is the entertainment.

As you can see from the many reviews of Chez Dumonet (see for example here, here, here, and here), it’s universally lauded, and I have never had a meal less than superb here.

Here’s the restaurant from the outside; many treats wait within (it’s a short walk from the Duroc Métro stop):

The menu in the window (click to enlarge). Some dishes you can get in half portions, and I’d recommend that for the famous boeuf bourguignon with fresh homemade noodles. Portions are large:

A view looking towards the rear; I’ve put an arrow pointing to the table where we sat. This photo was taken from Our French Impressions:

And our view of the front of the restaurant:

A gratis amuse-bouche: cauliflower puree:

A really bad photo of one appetizer not on the menu: sauteed morels (mushrooms). Oy, am I ashamed of this photo!

My appetizer: a half portion of the house-prepared smoked salmon (i.e., LOX) with a little pot of crème fraîche and ample bread on the side. I put the salmon on the bread with a tad of the crème. It was terrific, and filling.

Winnie’s entrée: roasted langoustines with lemon butter. I turned down an offer of one but now much regret it:

Winnie and her friend Marie both had the same plat, and it sure looked good: Millefeuille de pigon et ses cuisses confites, or a layered “pastry” (made of potatoes) containing rare-ish pigeon breast with its legs (preserved in fat) on the side. Both ladies affirmed that it was delicious:

There was a d*g at the table next to us (they are permitted in French restaurants), and it looked up hopefully as Winnie ate her pigeon:

I was starved, so I had the cassoulet maison—the only cassoulet I ate this trip. It was of course huge, with tons of beans, sausage, fatty pork, and duck confit. I managed to finish all the meat, but the beans defeated me:

The ladies were too full for dessert, but I ordered the restaurant’s most famous dessert, which has to be ordered with your entrée and main course so they can prepare it in advance: soufflé with Grand Marnier. I don’t know how they time it so it arrives after you’re finished, but they must watch the table to see what stage your dinner is at.

The soufflé, which is light but delicious, comes with a glass of the orange liqueur Grand Marnier. You simply make a hole in the soufflé and pour in the booze.  An excellent dessert!

A little plate of treats comes after dessert, including a madeleine, a chocolate, and some other unknown but tasty goodies. Tasting the madeleine immediately conjured up remembrances of my childhood.

And so endeth our Big Feed in Paris.  Will Paris remember me? I think not, though I’ll remember it.  Once again I quote Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa, because it always reminds me of Paris when I leave it:

“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

And so I strolled back to the Métro, pleasantly sated, passing along the way the café Au Chien Qui Fume (“At the dog who smokes”):

There will be one more installment of the trip, with photos of the demonstration. À la prochaine!

8 thoughts on “Paris: Day 8

  1. Ah!

    A sort of lagniappe from Paris, what a treat!…

    .. or … what is the French expression for “doggy bag”?

  2. My wife and I were given a bottle of Cherry Marnier for our wedding over 50 years ago. We managed to cherish it over a couple of decades. After it was gone, I could not find it anywhere. Now with Google search, one can find it. One place has it for $599 for 740 ml bottle and another for $499 for a 700 ml bottle. Sigh.

  3. Incroyable! All of the food looks incredibly delicious. You’re a fortunate man, Dr. Coyne!
    And thank you for the Karen Blixen quote, which brought back memories of Kenya.

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