We all dream of living the expat life in the City of Lights. Lindsey Tramuta, author of The New Paris and the popular blog Lost in Cheeseland, is doing just that.
If I understood anything about Paris when I moved here from Philadelphia 10 years ago, it was that change came slowly. In fact, that’s part of what was so appealing–I knew the corner cafés, bustling bistros and pungent fromageries would be exactly as I remembered them from my first visit years earlier.
But as I settled into my adopted city, I felt eager to reach outside Paris’s romanticized fixtures. And it turns out I wasn’t alone in wanting more. I started to notice restaurant owners challenging tradition and looking beyond their own borders for inspiration. A young generation of chefs, many of them clustered in the eastern part of the city, are leading the charge with an energy and open-mindedness that feels almost radical here.
Consider 23-year-old chef Pierre Touitou at Vivant (43 Rue des Petites Écuries, 10th), who is serving bright, unfussy food like roasted beetroot and a salad of raw beef, marrow and anchovy at his wine bar in the 10th arrondissement. Or Japanese chef Taku Sekine, who left fine dining to open the casual Dersou (21 Rue Saint-Nicolas, 12th), where he cooks Asian-inflected dishes that celebrate the best French ingredients. At Brutos (5, Rue du Général Renault, 11th), a South American barbecue spot in the 11th, it’s all about live-fire cooking and natural wines. But even with this new vitality, the Paris of my memory still has a way of shining through.
The typical terrines and French cheeses that I adore show up at Le Bel Ordinaire (54 rue Paradis, 10th), a modern take on the classic wine bar. And time- honored dishes like steak frites and blanquette de veau are getting updates from chefs like Jean-François Piège at Clover Grill (6 Rue Bailleul, 1st) and Daniel Rose at Chez La Vieille (1 Rue Bailleul, 1st), making me fall in love with them all over again. Paris may never become a city of early adopters, but when it comes to striking the hairpin balance between old and new, no place does it better.