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Café des Musées

(UPDATE: Café des Musées changed owners in the Fall of 2014 and I’ve heard mixed reports from locals and visitors. I haven’t been back since the change of chef and ownership but from all reports, it is a completely different restaurant and you should not expect to find the same dishes as noted in this post.)

Located a few blocks north of the historic place des Vosges, steps away from the hubbub of tourists clogging the sidewalks, is Café des Musées.

Chef François Chenel makes his own pâtés and smokes his own organic salmon, which arrives with a spoonful of crème fraîche, chives, and toasted levain bread. Both are also available to take home, including pre-cooked lobes of foie gras, even if you’re not dining here.

We split an order of grouse. One of the great things about France is that in the winter, restaurants will feature game like partridge, wild pigeon, and other specialties that are hard to find elsewhere. The grouse was dark and meaty-red, just as ordered. Alongside were triangles of braised celery root, a pile of dressed watercress and quetsches, Italian prune plums, cooked until jam-like. Although not as unctuous and sweet as I would have liked, a shot of port in the deglazing would’ve sealed the deal.

Café des Musées

Other menu options are a pretty well-crusted entrecôte steak, served with real French fries, which are unfortunately rare nowadays in Paris. Cochon noir de Bigorre is always great here, a neatly-classic steak tartare, and for those looking for a vegetarian option, a cocotte of seasonal vegetables comes in a casserole, bathed in olive oil. (A friend from California who ordered this pronounced it “boring”, so perhaps that’s not the best choice.)

For dessert, we shared a raspberry Dacquoise; a slightly-crisp almond meringue which had a nice cake-like chew. It was served with excellent, dark cherry-red raspberries which were so sweet they were syrupy.

For those on a budget, at both lunch and dinner, on offer is a prix-fixe option. One recent fixed-price menu was vichyssoise and foie de veau, veal liver, with dessert for just 19€. Another time it was a poached egg in red wine with a lamb shank following up for the main course, with dessert being rhubarb crisp.

Café des Musées Menu

The service is a bit scattered, but that to me is the charm of eating in a neighborhood-type restaurant where people just go for good food but are welcome to linger. It’s the kind of place where the tables are pushed close together so you’re rubbing shoulders with your neighbors and perhaps sharing a basket of good bread. That’s one of the pleasures of dining in smaller Parisian restaurants and cafés.

My friends and I shared a bottle—ok, two bottles—of fruity gamay from the Touraine which went very nicely with everything from the charcuterie to the game and through the dessert. And afterward as well.

Café des Musées
49, rue de Turenne (3rd)
Tél: 01 42 72 96 17
Related Posts and Links

Eating & Drinking Guide for Paris

Two French Dining Guides

Marling Menu-Master for France

10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris

Gluten-Free Eating & Dining in Paris

Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking and Shopping

Tips for Vegetarian Dining in Paris

Sunday Dining in Paris



    • Steve

    Maybe the mean French lady told them not to let you take a photo!

    • David

    …ha ha…that gave me a good chuckle!…

    • mallow

    I’ve been vegetarian for over a decade, and rarely miss eating meat. But descriptions of French food often make me question my commitment…

    • materfamilias

    Thank you for the mouth-watering start to my day, and for the recommendation. This looks like an address worth filing away

    • David

    Mallow: Well, if you do decide to make the switch, you’d better get here quick: I just brought home another 5# of pork shoulder for more carnitas.

    Ay carumba!

    • ParisBreakfasts

    This little bisro detailed review is FUN!
    Like being there…
    I love the shot you got!

    • MadCarlotta

    Forget about the restaurant…is that Willy Wonka riding by on a bicycle?! o_0

    I am soooooo moving to Paris!

    • lagramiere

    Perfect timing! I’m headed to Paris this week, it’ll be fun to check out a new spot … Thanks for the tip David – any leftover carnitas?? ;-) Amy

    • David

    MadCarlotta: Well, if that was indeed Johnny Depp—do you think I’d be taking pictures of the front of some corner café…or sharing pics of Monsieur Depp with my deserving readers?

    • fj

    Depp? Gene Wilder is the true Wonka

    • adel

    I’m spending 7 nights in Paris and on my 2nd night (today,I’m into 4th day in Paris and still referring this blog for more places to food hunt), I tried out this cafe as recommended by you (I got a list of your recommendations with me everywhere I go in Paris, haha).
    It was really busy when myself and partner went in around 7pm plus but got a table not long after waiting at the bar (without reservation). Had Filet de Bar and fries at Eur 23, and my partner had Steak and Fries at Eur 18.90 and a glass of nice white wine at Eur5 plus. The waitress was nice to translate the menu in French (one by one). Not sure about fix priced set menu as I didn’t see any. Overall, I liked the food a lot, the fries are ‘juicy’ but a bit dark in colour (any reason why?).
    Anyway, glad to have tried it.

    • David

    adel: The fixed price menu is usually written on a chalkboard, hanging somewhere in the restaurant. It’s always a good deal, but I love the steak frites the best!

    • Natalie

    Merci de la recommandation, David! We went on Sunday night, working off your recommendation (and the dearth of restaurants open on Sunday night) and had a wonderful time. The magret de canard tasted like fois gras. I basically died. We are going back tonight, in half an hour! I will recommend with confidence!


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