The two Parisian rip offs of the summer!

parisdiaRestaurants & Hotels8 Comments

The decor at Mon Square is brilliant and happy

Since no-one stays in Paris in the summer, it was tempting to try the very busy restaurants that all my friends tell me about,  which are constantly fully booked.  I started with “Girafe” in the Trocadero, which has a splendid view over the Eiffel Tower and then had lunch at “Mon Square“, a new very pretty place in front of Sainte Clotilde church. Both are ridiculously expensive and very pretty. What a dilemma!

Calamari with chorizo and piment d’espelette at Girafe

Girafe was opened a year ago by Laurent de Gourcuff, the magician of Paris restaurants who also owns “Monsieur Bleu” in the Palais de Tokyo. The seafood is delicious and presented like a painting. It does not even seem expensive on the menu, but when you get a bill for 155€  for three starters, two desserts and mineral water … you get angry. Anyway I did. Plus because it was summer, the public was a mix of middle class bank managers and provincials who (like me) wanted to see the famous place… This, added to the fact that our waiter asked us every two minutes if we were enjoying our meal, was very frustrating… I recommend that you find a sugar daddy and I suggest the management give menus without prices…

The very pretty tartare of fish at Girafe

One thing, I have to admit, was a huge plus for the place: I had booked for Wednesday and had not noticed that the web site had offered a Wednesday two weeks later. So the charming hostesses could not find my booking of course. But they graciously found us a seat anyway and could not have been nicer. It is better to book by phone…than on their web site.

Pavlova at Girafe

The food is absolutely delicious but the portions are minuscule… I had baked clams and tartare of fish. My niece had calamari and a Pavlova which was excellent… including the café gourmand with tiny desserts.

Thaï Beef salad at 28€ at Mon Square

“Mon Square” took the place of a charming typical Paris café at corner of rue Saint Dominique and rue de Martignac. It faces a lovely “square”, a public garden, where children come and play in the afternoon. And it is just across the place from Sainte Clotilde, the church of the left bank establishment, the former Faubourg Saint Germain. It has been decorated in the most fresh and garden like way and I love the furniture. It seats 140 people and opened last July.

Mon square is delightfully well decorated

The service is sweet but we were almost the only customers so there was no rush… The food is edible and very pretty on the plate. But again the prices are ridiculous. 40€ for a rack of lamb or a daurade, 20€ for oeufs mimosas!  or 24€ for a melon… I thought I was misreading the short menu all along. The manager, Quentin de Fleuriau, boasted about having worked for many years for the Costes brothers. It seems he only picked the wrong sides of this chain of restaurants and hotels, including a lack of simple politeness… and he mentioned that the owner was his partner.

Suprême de volaille, Caesar dressing at 28€

After eating a Thaï beef salad and a Caesar salad, we came out of the place feeling very hungry and having paid 84€ for two, including a tiny cheesecake for dessert! which for a quick lunch in Paris is outrageous.

So resist the impulse of going to either restaurant this summer, even though they have nice terraces and beautiful looks. They might revise their prices in the autumn if the place is empty every night?

Delicious baked clams at Girafe


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8 Comments on “The two Parisian rip offs of the summer!”

  1. Bonjour Laure,

    What I like so much about your column is your directness, when something doesn’t please you, you have the courage to say so. At times,also for diplomatic reasons, you are more tender with art galleries or designers, but judgement here, is bound to be more subjective. Food and prices are more objective and straight forward, although the palate is for sure very subjective. I haven’t been two both restaurants but have lived through many years of rip offs or very bad surprises in our wonderful Parisian restaurant world. The photos, by the way, were very professional and high quality. You took those yourself? Bravo!

    While endless books have been written about Paris, your insight and well written interesting comments, should be good cause to publish annually ( many things do change quickly as we both know) a little personal guide. I would suppose many of your fidel reading crowd is large enough that they would be willing and able to spend between €15 and €20 , so hopefully not a loser. Whether you wish to go through this exercise is a different question.

    Anyway, good luck and thank you for your personal weekly, even in August, when Paris is the only capitol in the world, which “shuts” down. Even the Gilets Jaune haven’t be able to stop this long lasting tradition. At least the boulangerie Kayser now stays open, by my last count.

    With best wishes,

    PS: You may know the ” Au Bon Acceuil” and ” Chez les Anges” in the 7th, which have maintained an excellent menu price for lunch AND dinner. For me one of the better rated quality/price values. A la carte is a different story.

  2. It’s much more ridiculous in St. Tropez. We were there the first week of June and the prices out of sight. But, it’s St. Tropez. Better in Cap Ferret where we spent a week end of July.
    Didi & Beatrice

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