If we wanted to describe what the de luxe Parisian brunch is, in all its glory, we would be tempted to take brunch at the Café de la Paix as the exemplar.
It is at the heart of the Hôtel Intercontinental Paris le Grand (which is celebrating its 150th birthday, by the way) and close to the Opéra that this amazing Sunday brunch is open from 12:15.
Where do we begin? Probably with the historic setting of this unique Parisian institution, frequented by Oscar Wilde, Georges Clémenceau, Marlène Dietrich and so many famous names that it would take too long to list them. And, in the end, they’re not on the brunch menu.
What makes the brunch at the Café de la Paix so exceptional
Nowadays, it’s an epicurean clientele which gathers there; Parisians, but also people from the four corners of the world. And for good reason: sumptuous buffets are to be found there (probably the most extensive and varied that we’ve come across so far) with people rhapsodizing over them in different tongues, whilst enjoying the playing of a live jazz band.
And, it’s not for the glass of rosé Champagne included in the brunch that they go there. It’s about the platters of seafood, oysters, scampi, whelks and shellfish, fresh salmon, grey and pink shrimp. To the left, an imposing stand of sushi and makis with wasabi purée (probably homemade) sits next to the stand of carvery meats, for a piled-high plate. A sauce worthy of a starred establishment that day, with the piece of beef …
Shall we move on to the AOP cheeses? A stroll through the regions of France, savored with a fine ham and a good selection of breads, although somewhat limited.
Some people will launch their attack on the breakfast side (pastries and scrambled eggs), but we think we’re right in saying that other things are the stars of brunch at the Café de la Paix: sea bream and pan-cooked artichokes and asparagus, generously served; gargantuan mixed salads, both classic (Italian salads or those from the Landes region) and more original (quinoa with fruit).
Never seen before? Continuously replenished blocks of foie gras, to be eaten with their preserves.
Of course, when it was time for the dessert buffet, it had been two hours since we were hungry. But we dive in, no questions asked, amongst the gourmet tartlets (strawberries and raspberries), the homemade ice cream for the display of homemade profiteroles, produced by the Café de la Paix and a thousand and one other delicacies,. And even a detour via the children’s buffet, to hold skewers of fresh fruit under the chocolate fountain. And a macaroon or two.
Points to remember
- Outstanding product quality. Yes, you’ll go home fit to burst, but full of nothing but noble products! From the sea when it’s the season but from the top of the range all year, come what may.
- Wide range of world cuisines, hot and cold dishes, breakfast or dessert… you can spend hours there.
- A dessert buffet loaded with temptations. More sugar-laden than other brunches, but truly a food-lover’s delight.
Top of the range, but smiling and ultra-professional. For it’s the type of place where, while the crayfish and foie gras are available without limit, they’ll make it a point of honor to bring you every coffee to the table.
A little niggle, though?
Just one for the road: the orange juice didn’t seem to be freshly squeezed, but to have come from a bottle.
Nevertheless: it’s the only luxury brunch to offer the Joozi range or organic juices, based on superfoods such as acai berries, acerola, etc. And an ‘open bar’, of sorts… but worth a round of applause.
Sex & the City Verdict
A luxury hotel brunch which goes straight into our top three. We’ve said it and stand by it. It is exceptional value for money, given what is served at the Café de la Paix brunch, and that counts, too.
Café de la Paix – Hôtel Intercontinental Paris le Grand
5, place de l’Opéra 75009 Paris
85 € (one glass of rosé champagne included!)[button target=”_blank” style=”” class=”” link=”http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/fr/index.php”]OFFICIAL WEBSITE[/button]
Every Sunday from 12.15 to 3.30 pm
Kids activities and buffet are available.
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