An American in Paris, Part 2: Beef, Bicycles, and Blomet
After consuming a variety of crepes, fromage, and escargot throughout Paris, my culinary adventure finally brought me to the arches of the Marché Saint-Germain, where I discovered L’Étable and its menu, a collection of dishes that should be on every meat lover’s must-list. (Sorry, vegans — but there is a vinaigrette-soaked artichoke app worth drooling over.)
The restaurant, which opened a year ago, was born from the desire to “eat well in a beautiful place.” The spacious dining room, with its industrial-high ceilings and huge windows, is accentuated with cowhides and raw wood and illuminated by globe chandeliers — a design choice by Imaad Rahmouni who, I’ve been told, was going for a brown-colored cocoon.
Our charming hostess, Doucelia (her gold-plated name necklace was a helpful reminder), suggested that we try their popular “trilogy of beef,” cuts from matured breeds and regions throughout France such as Limousin, Aubrac, and Simmental.
But before we indulged in these melt-in-your-mouth filets, we sampled some elegant-yet-nuanced items that Chef Cyril Aveline prepared for us: a side of ridged pommes frites with garlic hummus, sautéed asparagus, an heirloom tomato-raspberry salad topped with a framboise fraiche (something that needs to be tasted to be believed), and an eggplant-mushroom medley that paired brilliantly with everything.
The Monday lunchtime crowd, we noticed, was an eclectic mix of businessmen and casual diners, including a foursome of poshly dressed sextagenerians who seemed to be having a lively conversation about current events and the state of the world — at least, that’s what I imagined had I been fluent in the local language — considering the city was in the grips of a public transportation strike that, luckily, hadn’t affected my visit.
In fact, it felt as if the union disputes hadn’t affected any of my experiences on the Metro system, especially as I made my way back to my hotel later that evening. However, upon exiting the Vaugirard station, I was nearly run over by one of the many speeding bicycles that were frequently zipping through traffic. C’est la vie, right?
My accommodations for the second portion of my visit were provided by Hotel Eiffel Blomet, a stylish haven 20 minutes away (on foot) from the city’s iconic landmark tower of the same name. The boutique property opened in June 2017, its design representative of the Art Deco movement that flourished during the Roaring 20s. The hotel prides itself on preserving “the spirit of refinement, elegance, and creativity that was born in the inter-war years.” Colors range from soft pastels to more vivid touches that enhance the impression of grandeur and serenity. (Also, generosity; the breakfast buffet proved to be smorgasbord of treats.)
Upon checking in, I discovered my room had been upgraded to a top-level suite that came with a spacious terrace that would have made Carrie Bradshaw gush all over again during that Sex and the City series finale. I immediately grabbed an espresso and set up my laptop on the small round table outside with the hopes of being inspired to draft up a few chapters of my novel (another story for another day). Perhaps I also needed a cocktail…
Back downstairs, I found that the cozy lobby lounge came equipped with shelves of alcohol, mixers, and snacks — welcome to the Honesty Bar, a make-your-own-cocktail station built on an honor system. (Guests fill out a sheet noting their room number and what they’ve taken from the mini fridge or shelf.) I opted for plain ginger ale.
And finally, beyond the Pierre Frey carpets, cozy nooks, and airy terraces lies “the jewel in the hotel’s crown”: Blomet’s pool, hammam, and sauna. Nestled under an inner courtyard, the softly lit dream space is where luxury and relaxation reign, a quiet subterranean getaway that I unfortunately didn’t take advantage of given my busy schedule.
Oh well. C’est la vie.