Bistrot Papillon For Traditional French Food With 1900’s Charm

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At the heart of the 9th district, close to the big department stores, you will find a little street, home to Bistrot Papillon, a traditional French bistro that has 1900’s charm. Apparently all gourmets in the neighborhood know about it and it was a local friend who invited me to join them for a dinner there when I was in Paris this December.

Regulars who have been going to the restaurant for awhile assure that the spirit of the venue has been preserved and the former owner of this restaurant has even passed on his most famous recipes.

The owner Christophe Vesque tries to combine old fashioned charm with human warmth so guests will feel at home.

They don’t tout themselves a trendy hip place (and it’s not), but you get top notch cuisine amidst at Belle Epoque décor.

The walls are covered with wood or tapestries; the atmosphere is that of a bistro but without the noise.

Some of the appetizer options include: Egg cocotte, oyster mushrooms cream, with fingers bread and beaufort cheese, or a homemade lightly smoked salmon of Scotland.

There’s also the “Sainte Maure“ (goat cheese), comfit tomatoes , green salad and crispy bread or the Raw sea bream “ceviche“, lime, ginger and coriander.

If you really want to go French, you could order the  Burgundy snails, raviole filled with cheese, and vegetables of the season.

They also have a meat plate with toast, which we had to try… we ordered a plate for the table.

And, of course they have salads too or a soup if you’d like to go with something simple….and warm.

Obviously you can get wine by the glass or by the bottle and since the majority of the table was going with a crisp white Sancerre, I opted for Bordeaux by the glass, sampling a couple different ones depending on what was being served at the time.

They also had foie gras and given the fact that it’s hard to find in the states these days, we ordered a plate, even though my companions at the table were all French. They served a healthy sized portion of it as well, also with toast.


Jumbo shrimp anyone?
The scallops dish was out of this world.
Or, if you want to go a little heavier. The ribs were delicious.
One of the few desserts we sampled. (again, excuse the graininess).
My friend lives in the neighborhood so they come to this restaurant quite often and of course, knows the chef, so he came out to say hey, obviously curious who the yank was who was taking so many photos of his dishes. That said, I didn’t have my Canon 7D with me, so these were shot on an iPhone and the quality shows, particularly tough to take in a dimly lit restaurant.
Other main course options include steamed cod fish, mashed potatoes with herbs and virgin olive oil, llambéed sea bass with rosemary herb and “ratatouille”, top of the sirloin “Black Angus“, bearnaise sauce and fried potatoes (see above), veal brain with lemon comfit and herbs, pasta and spinach and calf’s liver with butter, mashed potatoes, glazed onions and parsley juice.
We definitely give it a 2 thumbs up, so if you’re in Paris and are keen to venture into a neighborhood rather than sticking to the tourist spots, check out Bistrot PapillonIt is located on 6 Rue du Papillon. (for those of you who don’t know the translation, papillon means butterfly in French).

If traveling to Paris, check out some of the Paris hotels we’ve covered in the past as well as this section on WBTW and for food/wine in Paris. Photo credits: Renee Blodgett except for the inside of the restaurant which is from

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