as the main course is the newest craze in a country known for its culinary
It's healthy...and trendy.
French would rather choke on a pot-au-feu than
admit it, but their latest culinary discovery comes from England.
Instead of the two-hour lunch, the French are now adopting a new
ritual: a simple soup (perhaps with a dessert and a glass of wine)
for their lunch. The size of the meal is inversely proportional
to the health of the French economy. When things were bad, with
a record high-unemployment rate, the French ate as much as they
could, as if they had to eat to forget that times were difficult.
Now that unemployment has plunged under 10%, they are eating light
for the first time since 1969. Soup, which every French child dreads,
is the new passion. "I wanted to open a restaurant where people
could eat well, but lightly, and in particular, eat vegetables,"
says Anne-Catherine Bley, owner of Bar à Soupes, which
opened last February in Paris's trendy 11th arrondissement. A former
record-industry executive, Anne-Catherine works with a farmer near
Paris to find the freshest vegetables. "I had heard about thesebars
à soupes (soup bars) in London. I have looked for recipes
all over the world, even from Australia, Portugal or Asia."
Thanks to her global recipes, her Bar à Soupes puts
seven different soups on the menu every day. You can eat them in
the restaurant or take them home (or to your hotel room) in the
special little containers she provides. Some soups are hot and some
cold, and they come in every color. She serves Indian golden lentil
soup, pumpkin velouté with bacon, white Parmesan soup, carrot
soup with coconut milk and spices, and cold cucumber and mint soup.
Each one is original. The7euro formule offers a charcuterie or cheese
plate and a glass of wine or coffee.
Le Bar à Soupes. 33, rue de Charonne. 11th. Tel: 01.43.57.53.79.
are a way to travel around France-and the world-without leaving
Here are some of our favorites:
Corsica. This little Corsican restaurant offers two things:
the best wines from the island and a delicious chestnut soup with
cheese quenelles not to be missed. 25, rue Mazarine. 6e. Tel:
Jean. A Basque restaurant. Try the garbure, a thick soup made
with beans, cabbage, carrots, fava beans, prosciutto and gooseneck.
For the stomach and the soul. 27, rue Malar. 7th. Tel: 01.47.05.86.89
Bascou. Another Basque restaurant whose chef is very talented.
Chestnut soup and foie gras ravioles (mini ravioli); pumpkin cream
with duck confit. 38, rue RŽaumur. 3rd. Tel: 01.42.72.69.25.
Very trendy with its stylish design and English soups. Try the
beet and apple, carrot and orange or the red lentils and smoked
bacon. 19, rue Jean Mermoz. 8th. Tel: 01.45.62.50.05.
Ferme Opéra. Organic soups with delicious homemade
bread. 55-57, rue Saint Roch. 1st. Tel: 01.40.20.12.12.
Berthoud. This restaurant serves what are perhaps the freshest
soups in the city. Made on the spot and served in small individual
soup pots. Small green lentil, carrot-spinach and cauliflower.
1, rue Valette. 5th. Tel: 01.43.54.38.81.
Toutoune. The chef is a woman, a rare occurrence in French
restaurants. Cucumber soup, fish and vegetable soup. 5, rue de
Pontoise. 5th. Tel: 01.4326.56.81.
Pause Café. A very trendy neighborhood cafeteria. Jean-Paul
Gaultier comes several times a week at lunchtime. Each day a different
soup. 41, rue de Charonne. 11th. Tel: 01.48.06 80 33.
et Une Saveurs. A delicious vegetarian and organic restaurant.
Two favorites: the potimarron soup and the cinnamon soup. Also,
try the soupe au pistou (basil soup). 72, rue du Cardinal Lemoine.
5th. Tel: 01.43.26.88.80
Delek. These soups come from the roof of the worldŃTibet.
Served in lovely bowls, they have subtle and strong flavors. Try
ten thoug, a beef broth with meat, vegetables, thick noodles,
fresh herbs and cheese. 4, rue des Fosses Saint Jacques. 5th.
14. One of Catherine Deneuve's favorite places in the city
and the best pho in Paris. This Vietnamese dish is a broth with
noodles, slices of beef, fresh soy, mint, red basil and lemon.
129, avenue de Choisy. 13th. Tel: 01.45.83.61.15.
I Golosi. Italian and elegant soups. Minestrone, zuppa di
zucca (pumpkin cream), mushroom and onion soup.
6, rue de la Grange Batelière. 9th. Tel: 01.48.24.18.63.
The best Moroccan soups, such as the traditional Harira with tomatoes,
lentils, chickpeas, meat, flour, vermicelli, coriander and parsley.
12, blvd Saint Germain. 5th. Tel: 01.46.33.86.98.
This clothing store has a small epicerie and a lovely little restaurant
corner that serves great homemade soups. 38, rue Madame. 6th.
24. This place could fit in a shoebox: three tables, two sofas
and a mini-counter. Excellent vegetable soups made each morning
by Michele, the owner. 24, rue Biot. 17th. Tel: 01.42.94.29.65.
Lune. One of our favorite places. The menu offers 30 soups,
each more delicious than the next: noodle-shrimp, vermicelli-laqué,
pork-coriander and noodles-duck. 36, avenue de Choisy. 13th. Tel: