Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t go according to plan. Since so many places in Paris are closed on Monday (including a number of museums), spending the day in the Marais district where places are open on Mondays seemed like a good idea. Or so I thought. As I strolled the narrow streets chockablock with shops of all kinds late in the morning, a number were closed. So I chilled (or rather, tried to warm up on this very chilly, gray day) with a coffee in a café, and eventually headed to the “haut Marais” for Breizh Café (109, rue de Vielle du Temple) for Breton-style crêpes. Half an hour later, I find that it’s closed. I switch to Plan B, and head to Tartes Kluger (6 rue de Forez) for seasonal tartes and quiche. Closed.
By this time, I am getting hungry, and am ready for Plan C: lunch anywhere. Well, the food does have to look good at a passing glance. I walk and walk. And walk. I end up on a major street heading back to the heart of the Marais, but there aren’t too many places to eat. By now I decided I was hungry enough for L’As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers. But before I turned onto the street, I stopped into a shop where I had bought something from the day before and asked the sales associate for a lunch recommendation. He directed me to a place around the corner called Le Loir dans la Théière, the best in the neighborhood, he said.
He was right. Le Loir dans la Théière (the dormouse in the teapot) is a bustling, bohemian café. Art exhibition posters plaster the walls, and there is probably not a matching chair, sofa, or table in the place. The display of more than half a dozen desserts itself is a work of art. The menu was a welcome change for the major eating I had been doing. A chalkboard lists around four savory tarts of the day (the café’s specialty), a plat du jour, and, today, an Assiette Meridonale, a plate of small salads that included cold ratatouille, an eggplant caviar, marinated peppers, roasted tomatoes with mozzarella, and a simple green salad. The latter was my selection, a simpatico medley of tastes.
But for sure, if anything, stop by for one of the homemade, homestyle desserts, the likes of apple tart (tarte pomme), peach tart (tarte pêche romarin), rhubarb tart, chocolate pear tart (tarte chocolat poire), chibouste fraise (a cream-fruit-layered dessert that I have not seen before), and a lemon meringue tart with an incredibly high billowy meringue. I settled on a delicious custardy and slighly charred cherry-strawberry clafoutis. I have since found out the café serves tea from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Sometimes when things don’t go according to plan, you can end up with an even better one. I would go back for the fabulous desserts alone, and it’s fun to eat at such a quirky, one-of-a-kind place.
Le Loir dans la Théière
3 rue de Rosiers 75004 Paris
Open Monday to Friday 11:30am–7:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 10:00am–7:00pm