Enjoy the far side
Neuilly-sur-Seine proudly goes its own way, with restaurants new and old
The Palais des Congrès in Paris, which hosts this year’s EURETINA Congress, is a conference centre, a performance venue and a shopping mall. Opened in 1974 (and expanded in 1999) it attracts top entertainers, selective shoppers and some of the most well-attended conventions and meetings in the city. Part of its appeal to delegates is the centre’s easy access to the heart of Paris. The Champs Elysées, the Louvre, the Marais, are all just a few stops away on a direct Métro line or within minutes by taxi. A bonus is the neighbouring town of Neuilly-sur-Seine, only a 10-minute walk away on the far side of the Périphérique.
One of the most upmarket suburbs of Paris, Neuilly enjoys a direct sight line down its main thoroughfare – Avenue Charles de Gaulle – from the Arc de Triomphe in the east, to the Grande Arche in the west. Tucked away from the weight of history at one end and the cutting edge of architecture at the other, bourgeois Neuilly proudly goes its own way.
Like every small town in France, Neuilly has its outdoor market. The stalls are set up Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (07.30 to 13.30) on the Place de Marché. However, what will probably bring you to the area – unless you are a photographer, of course – is not the picturesque open market but the choice of restaurants.
Neuilly residents don’t mind spending money on a meal but they do expect value in return. That’s why a restaurant like Le Sébillon has prospered in Neuilly since 1914. Oysters in season are the typical starter here, followed by the signature dish, roast lamb (all you can eat) served with creamy haricot beans. A decorous setting with white tablecloths and attentive waiters, Sébillon offers a set menu of three courses for €45. Book online for lunch or dinner. www.sebillon.com
Another good choice for a memorable meal is ‘Neuilly’s’, especially recommended if you enjoy seafood. This restaurant, his ‘life-long dream’, was established in 2015 by Didier Mader and his two sons Adrien and Antoine. The care with which food is selected, prepared and presented reflects their passion. There’s an outstanding wine cellar. The bistro is at 14 rue de Longchamp. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and Saturday evening. Closed Sunday.
For something casual, call in to the Café du Marché facing the market at 10 Place du Marché. Good food, pleasant service and a friendly atmosphere. Two courses here cost about €25. A glass of red wine is under €5. If there’s a football match, chances are it will be on the TV. Open daily from 06.00 to 24.00.
3 to hear
Opera and fine dining, in perfect harmony
For music with your meal consider Neuilly’s Bel Canto restaurant, where the waiters are students from the Paris Conservatoire. Several times each evening the waiters and waitresses break into song performing popular arias by Puccini, Verdi and Mozart. The restaurant is installed in a former mansion and designed as an intimate theatre with a grand piano under a crystal chandelier and with tables on two levels. The three-course menu offers a choice of starter, main course, cheese or dessert at a fixed price; €87, which includes the performance and service but not wine. Dishes can be adapted to dietary restrictions. It’s at 6, rue du Commandant Pilot, closed Sunday and Monday. www.lebelcanto.com
Recreate the buzz of a Parisian cafe in the comfort of your own home
The French cafe as a home-from-home for the Parisian intellectual is part of the legend of the city. Hemingway and James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre – they all famously talked, argued and wrote in a cafe. Some might say it was because cafes were warm in winter and offered breezy terraces in summer. Others would say it was for the buzz. Though you may be miles away from Les Deux Magots, La Coupole or the Café de Flore, you can still enjoy the buzz. Brew yourself a very strong cup of coffee, settle comfortably at a table and open a notebook (even a digital one). The final touch? The ambient background sounds of a Paris cafe. For that simply click here. Or, if you’d prefer a table on the terrace, put on your headphones and enjoy these atmospheric binaural sounds.
Enjoy the Song of the Sparrows
They may have been poor little sparrows at the beginning of their careers, but when they flew to the heights of fame and fortune both the ‘Little Sparrow’ Edith Piaf and the later ‘Sparrow of Avignon’, Mireille Mathieu, made their nests in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Listen to Mireille singing here. For Edith Piaf’s greatest hits, here. Over in the 15th arrondissement, the music to tune into would be the songs of Brassens, who lived in the neighbourhood all his life and whose memory lives on in the garden named after him: the Parc Brassens. Hear George Brassens on Spotify.