Le Bouquet des Archives is a quintessential neighbourhood bar where good quality plats du jour are hurried out to a devoted crowd of locals, workers and the odd stray tourist by efficient and friendly (well, as friendly as efficiency will allow) staff.
As is typical of most local cafes in Paris, many who frequent this bustling bar are regulars. I have started to recognise the faces that show up every day during lunch hour to order whatever salad is on the list of plats du jour. You can tell how often a particular patron stops in by the greeting they receive. The real regulars are met with a kiss on both cheeks; familiar but less well-known visitors get a handshake. I am desperate for regular status. I made strides when I asked the waiter if anyone had ever told him he looks like Jason Statham and his smile grew a fraction warmer. Once, the waitress let us have a drink at a table outside at lunch time, which is a strict no-no in any french cafe, but still no shaking of hands and certainly no bisous.
This place is always busy but you can usually get a table. There is a single row of terrace tables that get sun until late afternoon. During the summer months, drinkers spill out onto the pavement in the evening. On the opposite corner, the equally popular La Fronde competes for business and contributes to the lively atmosphere on the street.
Le Bouquet des Archives in a nutshell:
Speedy omelettes, salads (don’t let the word mislead you, there will be very little green on your plate), burgers and meaty plats du jour.
On the sunny corner of Rue des Blancs Manteaux and Rue des Archives, set apart from the busy commercial streets of the Marais.
Good value lunch or dinner, hearty breakfasts, evening aperitifs, afternoon sun and interesting people watching.
See you there!