April 3, 2014 by Emma Bentley
“Food and love have two things in common….. they are both temporary but should bring pleasure” says Aux Charpentiers boss, Pierre Bardeche.
Aux Charpentiers is a traditional French bistro, where Pierre and his wife Colette Bardeche have ruled the roost since 1976.
In the heart of the historical St Germain quartier, this is a great address to have up your sleeve. Founded in 1856, stepping inside is also an exercise in stepping back in time. The decor has not changed much since those days… but that adds to the charm. Surprisingly large, I would reckon there are a total of 120 covers once we rack up the light and airy ground-floor space, the slightly dingier downstairs, the patio and the garden.
On the menu: traditional French cuisine, carefully prepared. Expect to see starters such as egg mayonaise, foie gras or an endive&roquefort salad and beef tartare, blanquette de veau or a saucisse de Toulouse as a main course. A plate of cheese to follow is, of course, de rigueur. Everything is prepared onsite from the freshest and most seasonal produce available.
I personally don’t find the wine list particularly exciting. It is rather too traditional for my very eclectic tastes but I hold my hands up and accept that’s entirely my fault.
Colette, who runs the front of house, is always smiley and welcoming but other times, service may be brisk. On one occasion, upon asking the waitress who the winemaker was (the wine list gives just the region and the vintage) to the horror of my dining partner, we received a stinging “bah, mais, j’sai’pas, it’s written on the bottle!”
Despite that, I keep coming back to this classic gem time after time… well, because it’s one of the very few restaurants of its kind that are left.
Essential InformationAddress: 10 Rue Mabillon, 75006 Telephone: 01 43 26 30 05 Website: Aux Charpentiers Opening Hours: 12noon-3pm and 7-11pm, seven days a week. Reservations: recommended – a couple of days in advance. Suggested footwear: flats, nothing too fancy.