You don't become a myth by chance…
The first time I came to Le Chartier dates back to the eighties.
The French adventure, and ultimately my adventure, starts with my parents. Also passionate about France, with French ancestors on both sides (here you go) and family in Maisons Alfort have given me the predilection (sometimes feels like an illness) for France. In the broad sense of the word.
What do they not know about that country? But above all: which part of Paris they do not know. And I'm not talking about the well-known tourist attractions that I have learned to avoid. No, it's mainly about the places that I actually prefer to keep to myself.
I am still grateful to them for that because when I am there, I relive those moments when I was there with them. Places I treasure.
Anyway, several times a year my parents took me and my brother to Paris where they showed us all the nooks and crannies of this beautiful city that I, without really realizing it at that age, fell in love with.
The city embraced me and intoxicated me. By the way, that never went away because a few years later I stood at the station of Rotterdam with a 1 suitcase and 100 guilders to take the train (which then took 5 hours and stopped 6 times) to my great love and certainly not with the intention to return to the Netherlands a few days later.
My brother waved me off and a few weeks later he was standing in front of my tiny apartment in the 18th arrondissement with his fully packed red 2CV. My things only just fit, but oh, I was so fascinated by that. If only it was in Paris. I never forget that moment.
Le Chartier... You really had to know where it was because you couldn't see it from the street at the time. Through an alley you walked into a gold-plated revolving door where the waiters were waiting for you with a grand sourire.
My parents had received the tip from our French relative so we ended there.
We ate there regularly, because it was still a hidden gem at that time. Few tourists, a typical French atmosphere (noisy, dynamic and fast), no English speaking waiters, a menu with traditional French dishes (yes, also the boudins and andouilles (intestines) dishes).
What impressed me most at that age was the writing down of the chosen dishes on the paper tablecloth. No sooner had it been written than it was already on the table. Stuffed eggs, foie gras with warm toast, rillettes and a basket of fresh baguette (which I always poked my nose in because only then could you smell if it was real French baguette!)
As I got older and had reached the age that thank God I could also drink a glass of wine, I discovered the Kir au vin blanc.
You have probably heard of kir royal, a champagne-based apéritif with a measure of blackcurrant cream liqueur (creme de cassis). However, it is a variation on the traditional kir, commonly served in the average bar or restaurant in France, also called kir vin blanc or blanc-cassis.
I never got rid of that and to this day it's the drink I always start with when I'm in France. I have noticed in the Netherlands that especially the more renowned restaurants and bars know what this is.
It happened to me once that instead of a creme de cassis (with alcohol) I got a white wine with 'ranja' in it. So that doesn't work!
Since a few years I have a 'Kir au vin blanc' buddy: Ruud Wunneberg.
It can't be anyone else like him. The former Michelin star chef of Restaurant 'De Boerderij' on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam already served this divine drink in the 1960s.
Plans to go to Paris? Then you are obliged to eat at le Chartier!
More general info about Le Chartier
Le Chartier is over 120 years old but very much alive in the hearts of native Parisians as well as in the memories of tourists from all over the world.
In 1896, the Chartier was born from a simple idea: to offer a meal worthy of the name at a modest price, to respect customers in order to gain their loyalty. Fifty million meals and only four owners later, the recipe is still as good ...
The place, over the decades and anecdotes, has vibrated to the rhythm of all those, illustrious or anonymous, who have loved it as a couple, with family or friends. In doing so, Le Chartier acquired more than a unique personality: a soul. Enter the huge and legendary listed room. Sit quietly at your table, walk your gaze over the famous furniture with drawers where regulars collected their napkins, on the painting by the painter Germont, who created this work in 1929 to repay his debt.
Watch the incessant ballet of servers in black waistcoats and white aprons, unparalleled in efficiency ... And open your taste buds wide! In the plates, tradition and diversity are available at unbeatable prices. Leeks vinaigrette, egg mayonnaise, vegetable soup or cheerful snails as a starter; meats, fish or well-simmered rascal dishes for the rest: the menu is vast and the flavors authentic.
Indulge yourself with the famous glass of homemade Chantilly cream, you will not find it elsewhere. In fact, whatever you come to look for at Chartier, there is little chance that you will find it elsewhere ...
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre