Le Colimaçon, the ‘marsh snail‘, in the Marais is one of our favourite restaurants in Paris. This tiny, cosy, upstairs/downstairs eatery has been pleasing locals and people from around the world for years. It’s slate menu details the evening specialties which are based on fresh, seasonal products and fabulous French flair.
We first visited Le Colimaçon 20 years ago and whenever we stay in Paris it remains our first ‘must do‘. The restaurant is very small (20 seats upstairs and about the same downstairs). Set in a character-laden 13th century building with blackened ceiling beams, heavy, handmade, uneven, rustic brick walls, wooden floors and furniture, you really get the feeling of being in old Paris. The food is excellent and the menu changes frequently.
We, of course, started with the restaurant‘s signature dish, the snails (Escargots), this time served in small bread cups, succulent and very delicious. For mains we had the lightly grilled lobster 35,00€ and the Magret de Canard (duck breast) served on a compote of vegetables for 23,00€. For dessert we chose the Pain Perdu a l‘ancienne with glacé vanille. This dish consisted of sweet carmel soaked pieces of brioche, topped with vanilla ice cream, very French. We also tried the chocolate mouse with a caramel salted butter side sauce and this one was a total winner. All this was washed down with a bottle of dry Chardonnay from Bordeaux at 25€.
Vicky our waiter made our evening very pleasant by helping out with the menu in her best broken English and a lot of good humour. Price wise, this is a middle of the road restaurant but the atmosphere and food is far better. A few tips to note. Make a booking as the place is mostly booked out each evening. The table at the window upstairs is the best and the spiral staircase to the top floor is very steep for those with any mobility issues. We highly recommend this restaurant as a special dining experience in one of the oldest parts of Paris.
Before dining we had a pre-dinner drink across the street at Les Etages du Marais. This is a gorgeous little old cocktail bar, with low seats, friendly staff and if you want to be very French you might like to try the Absinthe. This spirit is around 70 percent proof, so take it easy. We watched the barman make the drink by adding a nip of absinthe to a glass, then he put a sugar cube onto of a small sieve over the glass and slowly dripped ice cold water over the cube until it dissolved. He then topped the glass up with more cold water from the water fountain. The making of this drink is like a complicated journey and teaches you about the destination you are in, complex and sophisticated. Enjoy!
44 Rue Vieille du Temple, Paris
+33 6 27 18 08 07