Marcel (Paris, France)

My travels in France had me spending a spare weekend in Paris (quelle horreur!), and on Sunday morning, after a stroll through the north end of downtown Paris, ending up in Montmartre, I realized I was starting to get a bit hungry, and I set off looking for a decent breakfast or brunch. The Parisiens definitely do brunch, but in my case it was still 10:00, which is a bit on the early side; so instead of going to one of the many cafes and bistros around the base of Sacré-Cœur for a brunch, I had a bit of time to wander around some of the quieter corners of the neighbor. I ended up looping through Villa Léandre about two blocks of Sacré-Cœur, a fairly quiet residential area that’s got a fair amount of art deco decor, and that’s where I found Marcel.

Marcel is a small Paris chain, with three locations spread over Paris, most of them in surprisingly quiet corners of normally busy parts of town. The overall feel of Marcel is similar to one of my London favorites, Pimlico Fresh: a good menu of breakfast and brunch staples covering the gamut from French classics like crêpes, to modern dishes like eggs Benedict, and even a moderate rarity in French, “French toast” actually labeled as such. All made up fresh, with a good selection of both coffee drinks and fresh-squeezed juices.

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for both fresh-squeezed juices, especially those containing either ginger or cayenne pepper for a kick, and my carrot, apple, and ginger juice was a bold and flavorful start to my meal. Once that wore off, I shifted to an equally tasty chai latte, which was also assembled with no shortage of spice, making for a rich and very cardamom-laden breakfast beverage.

As I mentioned above, the menu actually had a relative rarity on it for France: “French Toast” actually labeled as such, and served up mostly in the style you’d get in the United States: two thick (we’d call it Texas Toast) slices, dipped in a spiced egg batter and fried up, served with bananas. The normal French equivalent, Pain Perdu (“lost bread”) is usually a simpler dish made with French bread and generally served up without the array of toppings; a pleasant dish done well, so I was a bit surprised to see a more audacious “French toast” here. One key difference from a traditional American version: in the States we’d serve this up with maple syrup; Europe still finds this to be a bit of an acquired taste, so the flavor used here was a similar caramel toffee. Overall, a very satisfying breakfast, enjoyed on a nice outdoor table in a charming back corner of Montmartre. Marcel is definitely a good find.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply