Café Louis Philippe

The Polish Countess had just joined me as a member of the Grandparents Club and I invited her for a celebratory drink. She chose one of her neighborhood haunts, the venerable Louis Philippe that has guarded the Pont Louis Philippe along the Quai de Hotel de Ville since 1810.

louis thmb 

The Polish Countess had just joined me as a member of the Grandparents Club and I invited her for a celebratory drink. She chose one of her neighborhood haunts, the venerable Louis Philippe that has guarded the Pont Louis Philippe along the Quai de Hotel de Ville since 1810.

We were welcomed by the owner’s aunt and brother, Alain, who works the bar. After bisous all around we were ushered to a cozy nook under the winding iron staircase leading to the second floor dining room with views of the Seine.

The Louis Phillipe is one of the few bars in Paris not owned by Auvergnats and Provencal hospitality was on display as peanuts and the house olive mixture appeared. The Countess had a dry white and I a red cotes du Rhone. A second glass and complimentary thinly-sliced sausage took the edge off and with our third glass we ordered an assortment of cheeses. Voila-dinner!

As I attempted to settle the bill, Gilles, the owner arrived and insisted that we join him for un verre. After another round of bisous and introductions and I escorted the Countess over the Pont Louis Philippe onto the Ile Saint-Louis and said bon nuit.

En route to my apartment I realized that I had forgotten an envelope stuffed with beautiful Paris stationery and continued toward the Louis Philippe. As I walked in Gilles rose from the table where he was drinking with clients and handed me the envelope that he had stashed behind the cash register and directed Alain to pour us a round.

I emptied my wine glass and prepared to leave when Alain finished his duties and insisted that we join him in a round. Believing that I could now leave and rest my liver in walked James, a motorcycle racer and DJ from Boston sporting a long grey beard resembling an inverted handlebar moustache and the inevitable followed–another round.

I fearlessly navigated the cobbled Marais streets without incident, managed to locate my apartment with no difficulty and made my early morning business meeting with a clear head.

Future visits proved that the Louis Philippe inspires generosity and I’ve enjoyed the company of many former strangers.

Metro: Pont Marie
66 Quai de l’Hotel de Ville, Paris 75004

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