There's nothing quite like a quick trip across the channel for an event - this time it was to Roland Garros and the French Open. A glass of champagne in the world's longest champagne bar at St Pancras set us up for our speedy journey on Eurostar, to Gare du Nord in central Paris.
As a tennis lover I have tried to combine my passion for food with tennis events in as many destinations as I am able. This was my first time to Roland Garros so with that in mind, I selected a hotel near to the stadium in a pleasant residential area, close to the River, where when stretching one's neck, could catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. I checked the local restaurants for a typically Parisian experience.
Our group of four tennis lovers was booked for two nights, so we researched and found what we thought would be a good choice for each evening. We also asked advice from our concierge in the Hotel Auteuil Tour Eiffel and one of the two we had chosen was highly recommended – we decided to book this for our last night in Paris and were delighted to have saved the best till last.
This venue, pre-selected and recommended by the hotel, was Restaurant Chaumette, just 5 minutes on foot from the hotel. We passed by to check it out having been disappointed by our first evening's experience, and unanimously agreed to book a table. White linen table cloths and Chaumette branded china adorned the tables in this cozy, traditional French neighbourhood Bistro.
The service was welcoming and the ambiance friendly and relaxed. Classic French literature, cookbooks and family pictures were all around, it was like being in a French family home, wood panelled with discreet lighting. There is an eating area outside which would be wonderful in summer; it was still a little too chilly for us to dine al fresco.
We started with a coupe de champagne then tucked into our delicious terrine of fois gras, tasty mushrooms in a delicious pastry and mouth watering mussels au gratin. We all chose the fish from the special dishes, it was the most light and flavourful, filleted John Dory in a rich lobster sauce, accompanied by vegetables and new potatoes roasted with whole cloves of garlic. 'Comme les francaises', we selected to drink a red wine, a Cote du Rhone, which we finished off with a selection of French cheeses.
We couldn't leave this wonderful restaurant without trying the much talked about wafer thin millefeuille and the chocolate mousse, again top quality and taste. Freshly brewed coffee completed a perfect evening.
The whole experience was more than we had hoped for, and a fitting end to our trip to Paris. It was an exceptional restaurant serving the best of French cuisine, in a wonderfully relaxed environment. Chaumette is definitely worth a visit for that special touch, unique to Paris and indeed France.