As I walked up the stairs of the Monnaie de Paris on a quiet Friday morning, I wondered what awaited me at the top. I was in France’s oldest institution, the national mint in the centre of Paris overlooking the tree lined Seine. It was early, and the staff at the door were surprised to see me arrive as they don’t open until lunchtime. I am here to have breakfast with Guy Savoy, I announced gently in clumsy French, with some trepidation.
One of France’s Most Iconic Chefs
Guy Savoy is one of France’s most iconic chefs. His flagship restaurant, which I was climbing the impressive broad stairs of, has 3 michelin stars which it has held since 2002. Guy has 4 other restaurants also now in Paris and Las Vegas. It is very well regarded, and while I have not eaten there yet, critics I trust love it.
3 Star Restaurant Guy Savoy
Dining at a 3 star restaurant is a luxurious thing. The food can be extraordinary and it can be disappointing too, with expectations being at their maximum, along with the bill. A 3 star restaurant is so much more than the food and the chef. It is an experience of a lifetime. There is usually wonderful art, excellent wines and all the smallest touches are attended to with aplomb. Restaurant Guy Savoy has an impressive art collection and wonderful views over the Seine through it’s many large windows spread throughout 6 dining rooms. There is a complete collection of the Michelin guides from 1900 (publication was suspended during World War 2), including the 1939 edition which was reprinted for military use in 1944 as it was judged to have the most up to date maps available for use by the Allied Forces.
Behind the Scenes at Staff Breakfast at Restaurant Guy Savoy
Every Friday, Restaurant Guy Savoy has a staff breakfast, which Guy Savoy had invited me to experience. The kitchen is wonderful, more large windows, bubbling copper pots, a huge vat of duck on its way to confit, bubbling gleefully in fat. Young enthusiastic chefs in bright whites supervising pots of stock and stacks of brioche. In the centre of all this, there was a beautiful feast that would be our breakfast that morning.
The chefs lined up with their plates and proceeded to tackle the buffet. I watched what they took, wondering if there was a favourite that I shouldn’t miss. There wasn’t, so I took my plate, and tried a bit of everything, as I should. Rosbeef gremolata, lush pink and peppered with green was sublime. I can’t resist saucission, and this was some of the best I have had, ditto the sausages with potatoes. The strawberries with chantilly cream were as perfect a bite as I might want for breakfast by the Seine on a Friday morning.
Breakfast was: Rhubarb clafouti ; rosbeef gremolata ; calf’s head carpaccio ; Parma ham ; strawberries with Chantilly cream ; saucisson ; caillettes (stuffing of porc and herbs) ; pot-au-feu terrine ; liver pâté ; assortment of cheeses (Poligny, Sainte Maure, Coulommier, Comté, Chèvre frais); salmon gravalax, pink grapefruit ; caramel custard ; pain au chocolat ; croissants ; cookies ; sausages and potatoes.
What a wonderful experience, and gorgeous place. I will be booking in for lunch there when I have something to celebrate. I love hopping on the train to Paris, I could do it happily every month and can’t wait for the next time.
With thanks to Guy Savoy for his generous hospitality.
I travelled to Paris with Voyages-sncf.com, who also sponsored my trip. I stayed at the Hotel Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse where rooms are from £126 per room, per night. Fares from London to Paris start from £58 standard class return per person. To book go to Voyages-sncf.com or call 0844 848 5 848 (please note calls to 0844 numbers cost from 7p per minute plus the phone company’s access charge).