Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Le Square Trousseau

Just down the road, at the edge of large, elegant square, is a turn of the century cafe/bistro so perfectly preserved that it has featured in movies and photo shoots. Inside the L-shaped room, the walls are sepia-toned and lined with leather banquettes and mirrors reflect the light from tulip-shaped chandelier bulbs. On the pavement, small tables and rattan chairs are arrayed so as to best take in the sun, trees and passers-by. No detail is missing: gleaming, zinc-topped bar, waitresses in long, white aprons, even the resident dog.

A bit more polished and expensive than its competitors, Le Square Trousseau nonetheless remains a locals’ joint. I could imagine putting on heels and crimson lipstick and having a decadent dinner there. But its timeless quality might be best appreciated with a coffee in the off-hours. Spring afternoons on the sidewalk-cum-terrace are predictably glorious, angling for the sun on my shoulders, watching after school errands segue into pre-dinner drinks. But I’ve begun to prefer indoors, where the gentle bustle of the square is replaced with old jazz standards and the whir of the coffee machine.

One day last week I arrived late, 11 am or so. The kitchen emitted smells of stew and chocolate cake, and the waitresses were preparing for lunch. On each table they set out a square of brown paper, a pepper grinder, wine glasses, flatware and white linen napkins. Two enormous loaves of bread arrived, a round of cheese was whisked off to a serving table, wobbly tables were righted with the help of lozenge-shaped metal disks.

Seated further down the banquette was the only other customer, a middle-aged woman reading the Sunday magazine supplement. The dog, a white and black Jack Russell, perched on the banquette between us, his posture perfectly erect. As the French would say, tous comme il fait (everything as it should be).

Le Square Trousseau
1 rue Antoine Vollon 75012
Open daily from early to late, limited café seats during peak eating hours


כנרת said...

so well put, the description of the classically yet nicely preserved and always fresh Square Trousseau, one of my favorites joints in eastern Paris.

It seems that its more "come il fallait" - all Paris bistro should have been that way: classic, simple, entirely elegant, just not as expensive.

Shira said...

Thanks so much for your comments. Very much looking forward to a "return" to the Trousseau when I get back to Paris this week.