Of any given evening, I can’t imagine a more captivating show in Paris than the constantly changing mural of unselfconscious city life you can observe from a table at L’Européen, a long-running and very popular brasserie just across the street from the Gare de Lyon, the city’s rail portail to the south of France and Italy. Fast-paced, quietly glamorous, and resolutely démocratic, the L’Européen is a quintessentially Parisian brasserie, and as such, it’s as much of a local monument as the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. The Paris brasseries I like best aren’t the touristy ones, but rather the ‘real’ ones, or places with a diverse but mostly French clientele. Meeting a friend for dinner at L’Européen the other night before she boarded a late train to Nice, I loved my smoked Scottish salmon and chicken roasted with tarragon, while she tucked into a half-dozen Utah Beach oysters from Normandy. Our festive and very good meal concluded with a Poire Belle Hélène (poached pear with vanilla ice cream and hot-chocolate sauce) for her and a nice Baba au Rhum for me, and after I bid her farewell in the train station, I was already looking forward to her return two weeks later, because we’d agreed to meet for a welcome-back-to-Paris lunch at L’Européen.
Where – Morris Visitor Publications