The Belly of Paris

Nick Lander, “Vantre (Not Ventre).” Jancis Robinson, 22 July 2019:

In his recently published and well-reviewed book, the Anglo-French writer turned editor Andrew Gallix explores a fascinating theme.

He quotes Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Grey: ‘When good Americans die, they move to Paris’.

Gallix’s collection of contributions from over 70 authors is entitled We’ll Never Have Paris. Published by Repeater in the US and Penguin Random House in the UK, his book seeks to explore the myths that surround this wonderfully attractive and romantic city. His thesis is that Paris can just as easily be disappointing as fulfilling.

It is a shame that among all the well-known contributors there is no one whose speciality is writing about restaurants, the phenomenon which Paris at the turn of the 19th century gave to the world, and a common reason why visitors to this website also visit The City of Light.

Beauvilliers, Lavenne and Veron et Baron were three of the most prestigious restaurants in the early 1800s in Paris. As well as the good food and wine they offered, they were also able to provide a further reason for the many British then in Paris to visit them: they offered a rare opportunity to watch the French at play.

Had I been asked to contribute, I am afraid that I would have had to end any paean of praise to Paris and its restaurants on a disappointed note. There are so many good places to eat, so many that evoke happy memories of my times in the city, but I am always at a loss to answer the following question: why are so many open only Monday to Friday and closed at the weekend when most tourists are there?…

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