Burger mon amour


I find the current Parisian obsession with burgers completely baffling.

Like the mushrooming of crappy steak chains in the 90s (see previous rant on Hippopotamus et al), they seem to have sprung out of nowhere and in huge number.

I know that French cuisine has been criticised internationally for not innovating or evolving enough, but surely this isn’t the answer. I also get the whole “really-need-a-grease-fix” thing, but do we really need burger restaurants in such huge number?

There are at least four burger joints (five if you count McDonalds) within a square mile of where I live: Bio Burger, Big Fernand, Le Camion Qui Fume and Mamie Burger.

The latter occupies a large space on the corner of rue du Faubourg Montmartre and rue de la Grange Batelière in the 9th district. I walked past it for about six months on the way work while it was being built, naively expecting something exciting and original to materalise, only to have my hopes dashed. And why “Mamie Burger” anyway? Is the name supposed to evoke the traditional beef patties that Granny used to put between two pieces of bread? Because if your Granny is French it’s pretty likely she never did that.

Anyway, rather like the fish and chip fad that has swept Paris (see Perfidious Albion), I reckon this latest burger obsession is just a flash in the pan (ha ha).

While it lasts though I will continue my one-woman crusade against all things burgerly. And probably found the Parisian Anti-Burger Front (PABF). Or maybe even join forces with the Anti-Burger Front of Paris (ABFP).


Marché Saint Martin, a cool find

I just made a really cool find about 15 minutes walk from my place.

I think I’d vaguely heard of the Saint Martin market before but never bothered to find out where it actually is or if it’s any good. I randomly walked past the very discreet entrance this morning on the way to somewhere else and decided to check it out.I only had a couple of minutes but managed to get a good feel of the place and enough to definitely decide to go back there soon.

It reminds me a lot of the indoor markets that I’ve been to outside Paris, notably Dijon and Arcachon, which have a combination of pristine stalls filled with lots of interesting meat, veg, cheese and fish, as well as a bar so you can have a coffee or a glass of wine once you’ve done your shopping. Love that!

It was early and the place was just opening so it seemed very calm, I’m sure it will be less so on a Saturday afternoon, but despite that it still seems like the kind of place that would never get too crowded (which in my book is definitely a good thing). This place is similar in a way to the Marché des Enfants Rouges in the 3rd district, except that in the latter there’s a lot less space between the stalls, it’s usually rammed, and because it’s pretty central and well known the prices are considerably higher than traditional markets (although the chicken pastilla at the Maroccan stall are AMAZING).

Anyway, I shall be going back to the Marché Saint Martin sometime soon. Likely on a Saturday morning to do the weekend’s shop and then have a cheeky glass of wine afterwards.



Where you can have a glass of wine once you’ve done your shopping


The discreet entrance (apart from the flag). In my defence it’s next to a really nice florists so I’m usually too busy looking at the flowers as I walk past to notice anything else.

My favourite butchers

The Boucherie Roger Billebault on rue Cadet in the 9th district is what you could call a traditional butchers.

According to the sign they’ve been around since 1899 and you get the impression they probably sold exactly the same range of meats and game at the time as they do now.

We’re lucky to have them near us because the place has a really good reputation, although this combined with the fact that they’re on Rue Cadet (where pretty much all the shops are expensive) means that it’s not the place to go if you’re looking for a bargain.

The average age of the four guys who are front of house is about 45-50, they’re all highly competent and capable of providing cooking tips for everything they sell you. However none is particularly friendly. It has never stopped me from going but always intrigues me: is it because it’s a difficult trade and requires a lot of energy so they’re always knackered, or is it that they know they don’t need to make an effort because the customers will always keep coming as they clearly have done since 1899.

I hope they always do, because it’s a great place, however the two new places in the same street selling good quality meat (Stevenot and Maison Fournier, a traditional traiteur which now has a butchers section) will possibly make them think a bit.

Selection of cooked meats, sausages and beef cuts, all of which are good quality here


Literally the only thing in the place that I will never buy – ‘pied de porc’ (pig’s trotter). It’s still a total mystery to me why people like this.