When planning a visit to Paris, a lot of online searches for brunch recommendations turn up results in 5* hotels and other formal venues with fixed menu prices to match, which, at face value, can make brunch seem a little on the expensive side. It may work well on some occasions, when the gathering is in itself the focal point of the day and you and your dining companions have both the time and resources to make the most of the food and the surroundings, but when you have more casual meal in mind, the options aren’t always so forthcoming. I stumbled across my latest Parisian find quite by accident. I can’t remember now exactly what I was searching for at the time but a decent brunch menu always catches my eye.
Enter Marcel. They currently have a presence in three different neighbourhoods – the 18th; the 7th; and the 1st – so chances are no matter where you’re staying there’s one within reach. During my last trip, I took a walk from the 10th arrondissement down to the 1st, to visit their Rue Montmartre premises. As an added bonus, on the day I visited (a Sunday), there was also an organic food market lining the street just outside the door.
The brunch menu is great: it’s non-prescriptive, reasonably priced (for Paris) and there’s something for everyone here. As mentioned in a previous post, Bircher muesli is a relatively recent discovery of mine but has fast become a favourite, so it was the first thing to catch my eye. When it arrived it was light and fresh with strong notes of citrus, just as it should be.
Glancing around at some of the other tables, I spotted a doorstep-sized crab sandwich that looked delicious, as did their perfectly cooked rolled omelette, but for once, my sweet tooth kicked in early, and I followed the muesli with a round of French toast, topped with salt butter caramel and sliced banana.
Marcel is clearly a popular spot. By chance there was a no-show when I arrived so I managed to get a table but I was the last walk-in to do so during the time I was there. Other less fortunate arrivals were informed that the restaurant was fully booked for the next couple of hours and referred elsewhere. Whilst they don’t insist on reserving a table in advance, I’d definitely advise booking ahead to avoid disappointment, especially for small groups.
That aside, I found the Rue Montmartre location to be a convenient post-brunch starting point for visiting some of the most central areas of Paris. It’s within easy walking distance of Les Halles, the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the area around the Pont Neuf and the Hôtel de Ville, so it’s also handy for meeting people. Definitely one to keep in mind for future visits.
– Closest Metro: Etienne Marcel; Les Halles (line 4)
– Vegetarian options: Yes
– Outside seating
– Cards accepted
– Website: http://www.restaurantmarcel.fr