It’s a conundrum. A #firstworldproblem of the greatest order. There you are, fresh off the Eurostar. After you dump your bags, there are two things that you need.
The first, is a glass of champagne. There are probably things to celebrate. For us, a birthday and some good news brewing.
But the fact that you’re in Paris should suffice.
The second thing you need is something decent to eat.
My pick for a first meal in Paris is a strategic one. The next few days carry with them a heavy burden of ‘Parisian fantasy meals’; steak frites (for The Hungry One) and roast chicken (for me).
Think of this meal as a gradual introduction for your system. To me oysters, bread and butter are a civilised way to start.
If that sounds ok to you too, then Huiterie Regis is somewhere to put on your next itinerary.
It’s just steps away from the Mabillon metro, close to St Germain and a very easy stroll from our charming hotel room at Villa Madame.
It’s tiny- inside it seats only 14 and is sparse and white walled. The focus here is what comes nestled on large platters of ice. The wine list comprises mostly Sancerres and Muscadets, but there’s also bubbles by the glass.
You can’t book and by 9 pm on Friday night the inside is packed full of Parisians, busy gesticulating with tiny forks. Yet the four tables out the front are free. It’s cold, but it’s not that cold.
We sit, order bubbles and choose our oysters. Jumping out at us are the Les Fines de Claires N°2 (24,00 € for a dozen) and Spéciales de Claires (29,00 € for a dozen).
Not cheap, but then few great things in Paris are. The number after the oyster refers to the size. They’re calibrated from 000 and they go up to 6 . The smaller the number, the larger the oyster- the scale goes from 120 grams down to 20 grams.
Fines de Clare come from the in Marennes Oleron Basin. The fines are grown with 20 to the square yard, maturing for two months in the salty marshes.
The Speciales are a little more… special. There are only 10 per square yard and they mature for two months; meaning they get fatter- and we decide- sweeter.
There’s bread and butter. There’s a bracing collaboration of shallots and red wine vinegar- but to me all these beauties need is a squidge of lemon.
And then there are the locals; including some pretty inebriated characters who keep taking cigarette breaks outside. They insist we have some of their Sancerre. They try and pilfer an oyster or two from our platter, like it was a cocktail party. They offer to take our photo (with the brand new camera) and then won’t give it back until we kiss.
It’s local, it’s charming, and highly entertaining. It’s exactly what you need from your first night in Paris.
3 rue de Montfaucon – 75006 Paris
Tel : 01.44.41.10 .07 Horaires d’Ouverture :
Open Tuesday to Sunday
From 12:00 to 15:00 and from 18:30 to 23:00
Metro: Mabillon ou Saint Germain