Go to The French Paradox Resolved Go to List of Paris Bistros Go to The Democratization of Excellence Go to Whitings writings Home Page

Des Rez

Le Rez de Chaussée


  • This is the sort of accidental discovery that makes flaneuring in Paris such a rewarding activity. Setting out to find a Pudlo-listed bistro that was supposed to be open in August but wasn’t, Frank and I passed this promising place on the way and returned to it just as they were starting to serve lunch. In Michelin parlance, it turned out be be worth a detour—I’ll definitely be coming back for more.


    Self-evidently named after its architectural location, Le Rez de Chaussée is apparently a local institution in an area of Paris once famous for its disreputability. It even has its own fancy website, in both French and English, although it doesn’t give very much information in either. Anticipating a full dinner, I only had a single course, but it was excellent. The Magret de canard [below] was cooked to perfection, cut into fanned-out slices and dressed with a deliciously rich sweet sauce. The lightly dressed lettuce and rough-cut unpeeled fries were beyond criticism. And excellent bread!


    Soon another blackboard went up, offering a two-course luncheon for 11€. The outdoor tables began to fill up with locals, many of whom seemed to know each other. They were an arty, distinguished lot, looking rather like characters out of a Sartre novel; I kept waiting for somone to get up and begin a monolog.


    After we’d emptied the carafe of decent house red, we walked a block north to the Parc de Belleville, an attractive and varied space which, thanks to the steep slope and unstable soil, was mercifully granted “recreational status”. If you come to the Rez for lunch, the park is an excellent place to walk it off.



    Le Rez de Chaussée 10, rue Sorbier, 20th Arr, Tel:01 43 58 30 14, Mº Gambetta

    ©2008 John Whiting


    Back to the beginning of this review