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“Here, everything is beautiful, tasty, and of great value,” said Edouard Fournier, who founded Bouillon Julien in 1906. He was following in the steps of Pierre-Louis Duval as well as Camille and Edouard Chartier, who pioneered the bouillon concept. One of the few such establishments still existing in Paris, this gorgeous Art Nouveau restaurant is still going strong, serving classic French fare for a very reasonable price and honoring Fournier’s promise to this day. The interior of this classic Parisian restaurant is an architectural delight, with large mirrors and dark wood contrasting the predominantly pale-green walls. Large stained-glass skylights and sumptuous moldings cover the ceiling. It feels decadent and luxurious, despite having been originally designed to serve the working class.
A few paragraphs printed on the paper tablecloth advise the reader to take notice of the surrounding architectural and decorative elements, like the sculptural bar, for example. Carved of Cuban mahogany and adorned with elegant arabesques typical of the era, it is the work of Louis Majorelle, an important designer of the Art Nouveau period.
At 7pm, when I go in for dinner without a reservation, I’m lucky enough to get a table for two. The restaurant is extremely busy yet the service is prompt and courteous. The pichet of red house wine is cheap and delicious. The menu is a mix of familiar dishes (deviled eggs, escargots, braised beef, roast chicken) and quite a few items that your grandma would have cooked, if you had the good fortune to be born in France. Sadly for me, both the parmentier of black pudding with sweet potatoes and the flank steak with fries are already sold out, so I opt for the seared salmon instead. Accompanied by a side of rice from Camargue, it’s simple and tasty. My companion orders sausage and mashed potatoes and she’s perfectly happy with her choice. The dessert menu offers things like rice pudding, chocolate tart, and chestnut mousse. We both order baba au rhum; delicious.
Wine, two entrées and two desserts, and the bill is around 40€. Maybe not the cheapest meal, but I’d gladly pay a bit extra for such a fabulous setting. It seems pretty clear by the end of our dinner that Monsieur Fournier’s promise still stands, and Bouillon Julien makes it on my personal list of Paris recommendations.