Observations of local Parisiens generally amount to descriptions such as stylish, elegant, effortless, artistic, dog-lovers…the list does go on and there are many places to people watch throughout Paris to reach these common conclusions. Watch the romantics in Les Jardin des Tuilleries, watch the thoughtful and pensive as they mull around Rodin’s The Thinker, watch the sun lovers bask on the banks of the Seine, watch the modern day gypsy-like artisans at Montmartre. I discovered one more place to people watch on my last trip to the city of lights and the people I watched here were the locals scurrying or strolling past self-absorbed and oblivious to their own beauty. At the end of the Pont Louis Phillippe bridge – Marais side is a chic French bistro called Chez Julien. It was on recommendation that I came to this place. What I didn’t know at the time was how much I would fall in love with one destination on such a short stay.
Chez Julien is located directly opposite the bridge and its tables spill outside where diners can be watched and in turn watch their surrounds. The waiters who come to serve me sparkling water look like they have just stepped of a Paris catwalk and blend right into this picturesque scene. The tan shoulder bags that they wear across their bodies are not just fashion accessories but a means to hold euros that they collect off satisfied patrons. The food is mouth-watering. The chicken dish I order is filled with terrific yet simple flavours and it epitomises French cooking in one go by showcasing that it does not take a raft of ingredients to make a spectacular meal. I sit here for the rest of the afternoon and digest every detail. The next day, I come back with two hours to spare before flying out, feeling like a local who frequents this bistro daily yet laughing at myself because I am a tourist who should be experiencing something new while I am only here for three days.
When in Paris, people watch from here and eat nothing but copious amounts of divine French goodness.
1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris, France – 01 42 78 31 64