Brunch in Paris

Les Bonnes Soeurs, 8 Rue du Pas de La Mule (3rd Arrondissement)
Ok so Brunch is not a French concept, but that doesn’t mean Paris shouldn’t be on the brunch scene. Les Bonnes Soeurs has got its formula spot on and the brunch trend has evidently caught on in Paris – expect lines out the door for this place’s weekend brunch (served 11am – 4pm Saturdays and 12 noon – 4pm Sundays and bank holidays).

There are two options at Les Bonnes Soeurs: ordering a la carte (prices range from around 8 Euro for yogurt and museli to 15 Euro for the Eggs Benedict) or you can order the belt busting “Formule”, which appeared to be the default order of the day when we went.

Being the glutton that I am, I obviously went for the Formule, which comprised a hot drink of your choice and freshly squeezed juice, a basket of brioches and breads together with jams (apricot and raspberry) and nutella, a choice of scrambled or fried eggs with cheese, bacon or smoked salmon (served with green salad and fries), followed by a choice of American style pancakes and maple syrup or home baked patisserie. My brunching companions who evidently aren’t as gluttonous as me opted for a la carte, ordering Eggs Norwegian and Eggs Benedict respectively. This all turned out perfectly, since portions are so generous we were able to share the brioche basket and pancakes (with plenty left over)!

We universally agreed that the eggs were delicious. The hollandaise was perfectly whipped into a pale yellow sauce with the lightness of air and the eggs were poached brilliantly, the yolks bright orange with just the right amount of runniness.

And now onto my scrambled eggs – again another lesson in the art of cooking the perfect eggs – not too wet and not too dry, seasoned with fresh black pepper and chives, topped with a generous helping of smoked salmon. Lip-smackingly good.

And finally the pancakes – whoever thought you couldn’t get perfect fluffy pancakes outside of America (and least of all in France, where the crêpe rules) was wrong. They were awesome and the serve yourself syrup was a bonus too.

The overall verdict? Well, my husband who is an ardent brunch fan and uses the Eggs Benedict as a barometer of the credentials of any new brunch venture proclaimed them to be “the best Eggs Benedict” he’s had this year (and he eats them a lot).  In fact his only criticisms of Les Bonnes Soeurs were that he couldn’t find enough room to finish off my pancakes and they didn’t serve chocolate milkshake (really, why would they?! I am embarrassed to say that this is a man who doesn’t like coffee – a concept as unfamiliar in France as vegetarianism.)
For me, one of the biggest gripes I usually have with brunch places is not being able to have the best of both worlds – yet the formule at Les Bonne Soeurs is perfect, since you get both sweet AND savoury doses of yumminess, even if eating the lot means that you are likely to have consumed a week’s worth of calories in one sitting.
The only downside? The wait – as with popular no-reservation brunch places in London and New York, we waited about 45 minutes for our table.  But trust me, the wait at this place is worth it – nothing sets you up for a big day of Paris sight seeing better.

Epicurean Wrap-Up

Brunch for three: Formule, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Norwegian, Coffee – 53 Euro
Value Barometer: 6/10 – a bit pricey, but hey, you won’t have to eat for the rest of the day!
Ambiance: Weekend catch-up with friends/recovery from the night before
Food: French patisserie meets global brunch favourites
Go if: Breakfast is your favourite meal of the day
Don’t go if: You aren’t prepared to stretch your stomach
Getting there: Metro – Bastille or Chemin Vert
Also in the area: Pretty Place des Vosges – lay in the grass for a post-brunch nap if you need some recovery time
You may also like: Le Fumoir – Formule Brunch 25 Euro, Reservations required (review to follow)


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