Usually, we spend more than 25 euros for a menu in a Parisian restaurant, but in Bouillon Julien, you can have a 3-course dinner for less than 15 euros.
Bouillon means "broth" in French, and it is a traditional French soup that was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The idea was to create a restaurant where Parisian workers could have a cheap but proper hot meal. Nowadays, the concept remains the same: it offers high-quality French meals at affordable prices in the stunning Art Nouveau interior.
Bouillon Julien is a restaurant entirely designed in the Art Nouveau style (the Modern Style in English) inspired by natural forms such as the twisting curves of plants and flowers. The World's Fair of 1900 marked the high point of French Art Nouveau.
In 1906, the owner of the restaurant and an architect Edouard Fournier invited famous glassmakers and artisans to create a gorgeous interior in the Art Nouveau style. The peacock panels on the walls have become a symbol of this place.
A celebrated glass artist Louis Trezel created four large wall panels with graceful nymphs symbolizing four seasons of the year. He found his inspiration in the iconography of Alfons Mucha, a Czech painter best known for his illustrations of Sarah Bernhardt.
One of the outstanding designers of furniture and cabinetmakers of the time, Louis Majorelle designed and manufactured all of the furniture. He was also a vice-president of École de Nancy, a group of Art Nouveau artisans and designers working in Nancy, France, For instance, look at this spectacular Cuban mahogany bar covered with tin. It is still in use a century later!
A ceramist Hippolyte Boulenger designed beautiful tiling floors with intertwining geraniums and daisies pattern.
Boullion Julien has been very popular among many well-known cultural figures and celebrities. A great French singer Edith Piaf and her lover, Marcel Cerdan, the champion boxer, often had dinner here at ‘table n. 24’.
For the starter, we ordered Burgundy snails with garlic and parsley. In France, this appetizer is usually served during family celebrations, and for the Christmas Eve. You should try it! There is always a special small snail fork for tasting.
The main course is a beef broth with fregola pasta, braised beef, ginger, and lemongrass. The fregola pasta is a type of pasta from Sardinia, and it typically consists of semolina dough. It has a sweet discreet flavor. Beef is chewy, tender, and juicy. It reminds us of the beef noodles in Asia.
Duck leg confit is a traditional French dish. Meat is salted and pickled with herbs for more than 36 hours at a low temperature. It makes the duck meat very tender and soft. Some French fries on the side make it even more delicious and finger-licking.
In 1900, there were over 250 broth restaurants in Paris. Nowadays a very few of them still operate, and Bouillon Julien is one of the most beautiful and authentic broth restaurants in the French capital.
Its founder, Edouard Fournier, once claimed: “Ici, Tout Est Beau, Bon, Pas Cher” - “Here, everything is beautiful, good, and cheap.” The restaurant remains true to its motto to this day.
So if you want to have a great meal in an authentic French restaurant without spending a lot, Bouillon Julien is the best place for you.
Author - Ya Hui
Photos - Yuka Ishihara & Ya Hui CHANG
Address : 16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 4, 8, 9 Strasbourg Saint-Denis station
Opening hours : Everyday 11:45-00:00
Website : click here