Vieux Paris

Just back from a mini-break to Paris with some dear friends. It’s a great city, of course; for me, as for many I suppose, much of the city’s appeal lies in its old-fashioned charm, and that fact that things never really change from visit to visit. London’s cut-and-thrust is all very well, but sometimes things cycle round that bit too quickly. But in Paris you always know what you’re getting. So I ticked off the usual culinary stalwarts – foie gras; rognons de veau; a perfectly rare steak; garlic-drenched snails – and paid the price with a number of food hangovers.

Funny, then, that Paris should also be the first place I’ve experienced the ‘self-serve pub’, at Monsieur Le Zinc. On arrival, you buy a pre-paid card, and then help yourself to beer or wine from dispensers dotted around the room, which measure precisely what comes out into your glass. It’s a fun concept, but it’s more than just a gimmick. Think about all the times you’ve stood at a crowded bar in London being ignored by useless bar staff. The petrol-pump pub is the answer! These places should be everywhere. Anyone for a crowd-funding campaign?

Oh, and I also wasn’t expecting to find an excellent vegan joint, Café Ginger: hearty plates of very tasty, fresh grub to offset all those rich Gallic classics….

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