Dining in Paris is synonymous with opulence. Rich sauces, decadent surroundings, and serious over-indulgence in just about every aspect of the eating-out experience. Or at least it has been in recent years. This year, however, has seen the resurgence of something quintessentially French and wonderfully nostalgic, but somehow forgotten in-lieu of extravagant luxury: the old-fashioned, characterful (and affordable!) brasserie and the even more relaxed and welcoming bouillon.
Food is kept simple, classic and delicious, with age-old favourites such as steak frites, soupe à l’oignon and raw oysters (now, somehow, made casual dining) topping many a menu. Whilst the ambience is bustling and full of life, much like the city itself. What’s more, you’re likely to be introduced to a wealth of beers, rather than the usual wine offering (the word brasserie is also French for "brewery" after all).
The most legendary Parisian brasseries date back to the beginning of the 20th century. The first bouillon appeared around 1860 providing – as the name implies - bouillons or broths enriched with bits of meat and vegetables for the working class. Today, the elegant baroque décor and antique fixtures and fittings remain in these newly rejuvenated dining rooms, worn and faded with time but only lending to the trendy feel that is drawing in locals and tourists alike.