We unexpectedly celebrated our third day in Paris by stumbling into a brilliant breakfast.
From our matchbox-sized flat we took Boul-Mich (Boulevard Saint-Michel) south to the Jardin de Luxembourg, that great casual/formal park that pulses like the heart of the 6th. We were there to try out an internet cafè which turned out ruinously expensive. No email for us yet--we'd better find a solution fast, the mail is piling up.
Next door stands a café(sans internet) that looked promising, but whose breakfast was three times the price of Paul's (our current default), so we drifted to the corner of Boul-Mich and Place Edmond Rostand. I pressed my nose against the glass of an exquisite pastry and chocolate shop. "There's a staircase in back," Burke noted, "Maybe they serve petit déjuner?"
It was already 10:00, late for breakfast, but they sat us. From the quality of the pastries and patés and chocolates downstairs, from the delicate, plush, reserved but tasteful decor, we felt we'd found a good one. How right we were.
Dalloyau (there are six in the city) is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a garden-side temple to French gastronomy, serving perfect little pastries and chocolates since 1802. Practice makes perfect. Burke and I enjoyed a prix fixe 14 Euro (about $12) breakfast that began with two pastries each--perfect pain au chocolate (think croissant with a lovely lump of dark cocolate in it) and anothter, a spiral of puff pastry glazed with sugar and raisins. A fresh-squeezed glass of orange juice served tall with an overlong spoon and ice cubes, the first ice cubes I've seen in Paris. Delicious--pure juice from fine oranges. Then a pyramid of plain yogurt: a super yogurt that was akin to fromage blanc.
A pot of hot cocoa, darker and more subtle than the one at Paul, just as thick and creamy, enough for two cups each, complimented the pastry and yogurt both. Then came the main plate: for me, four toast points (crusts removed, so civilized!) fanned out over two of the most fresh fried eggs in history. Those yolks were orange as a sunrise, the flavor screamed EGG. Below were four pieces of bacon like we'd never had in all our days in the States: fresh, several textures, salty but not greasy or overpowering. The best in bacon.
Burke's scrambled eggs were marvelous too, though not the equal to the great British soft scrambled eggs we had in London last year. We ate this kingly breakfast from a velvet-bordered private window overlooking the entire Jardin de Luxembourg, fountains and gilt-tipped gates, trees, lawns and all Paris promenading before us. Heaven.
At 14 Euros, we didn't even need to feel guilty. The half-dozen macarons (unless you've had French macarons, please banish from your mind's eye any of those brick-like cocoanut toasted lumps the word might have conjured, get on a plane, come here and try one) were almost on par with the great Laduree.
We've had our first great meal here and didn't even plan it. We eagerly await the next surprise France has in store for us!
Maison de Gastronome Fondée en 1802
2, Place Edmond Rostand
Telephone: 01 43 29 31 10
A Burke and Wells Review