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Le Bougainville: Homemade, Grandmother-Style French Cooking

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

I recently found myself strolling near the Place des Victoires, a business district that appeared to have closed for the day. Continuing in the direction of the more promising Galerie Vivienne, my date and I spotted a 1950s-style café with mosaic tile floors, Formica table tops, and primary-color paint. We were dubious, but hungry, so we stepped in, pleased to find that behind Le Bougainville’s near-empty café was a welcoming restaurant with a trove of pleased diners.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Moments after the waitress brought the chalkboard menu to our table, she overheard me say to my date, “Oh, they have homemade stuffed cabbage!” “Here, everything is homemade,” she interrupted. I started to get excited for the meal ahead.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

The menu is refreshingly traditional. After years of experiencing trendy food, foam-decorated plates, and people regularly commenting, “It’s so good, it could be in Brooklyn,” I am tired of restaurants plating modern dishes that could just as easily be served in Melbourne, London, or Tokyo.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Our starters arrived; a herring salad for monsieur, beet salad for madame. It was all wonderfully delicious. This is not fancy food; it is grandmère-style home cooking at its most nostalgically satisfying. For the main course we both selected the stuffed cabbage. It was cooked to perfection: the leaves al dente, the meat stuffing moist, and a small puddle of a light sauce with steamed root vegetables surrounding the dish. The fries on the table next to us had been cooked twice and were still sizzling.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Even though I noticed they serve artisanal ice cream from Raimo upon walking in, we opted for the île flottante, a light meringue island in a crème anglaise sea. Worth every calorie.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

This is not a lavish or fashionable address, although I imagine Jean Paul Gaultier has lunched here more than once while visiting his neighboring flagship store (now closed). The food features tomatoes from the owner’s garden, charcuterie and cheeses recognized throughout France, and hearty country bread. The perfect offering for visitors who want to sit down to a meal that reminds them they are in Paris.

Le Bougainville – 5 rue de la Banque, 75002; Métro: Bourse; Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 60 05 19; Open Mon-Sat 8am- midnight.

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

Le Bougainville: Unfussy French Cooking near Place de la Victoire in Paris

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Written by Sylvia Sabes for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Palmyre Roigt. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

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Written by Sylvia Sabes

Sylvia SabesSylvia is thrilled to be a French citizen, living in Paris where she writes ad copy for brands like Cartier, Hermès and L'Oréal while raising two teens and learning to share life with a Frenchman. You can read more of her adventures in Paris and across the globe on her website, Only In Paris.

Website: Only In Paris

Photos by Palmyre Roigt

Website: Palmyre Roigt

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