The Carreau du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement struts its elegant, curved steel structure, bound with glass panels that show off the interior golden oak paneling, which reflects the ever-changing palette of Paris light. It’s that glow that greets visitors to Le Jules, the bar and restaurant that welcomes attendees of the Carreau’s music or cultural spectacles, les sportifs after a gym class or anyone in the neighbourhood.
The circular bar embraces you in that glow upon entering Le Jules. Fashioned of grey onyx marble, the bar looks onto a wall made of columns of horizontal rows of variegated light and dark wood, looking like a toasted spreadsheet. The columns of wood angle upward and transform into the ceiling. Along the wall is a grey shelf that holds bottles of gin, whiskey, vodka and other spirits, encouraging a pause for a cocktail. The bar reminds you that this is a modern, urban Paris, and you just entered a strikingly pleasant place to hang out with friends.
The menu is “cuisine de comptoir” – simple food to eat at the bar or at one of the dozen or so tables in the restaurant area. The menu changes often, keeping things fresh, and it also has a healthy angle. There are non-fat desserts (glace au yaourt 0%), fruit smoothies and a chicken burger.
Plates to share with friends include salmon fumé, Iberian ham or a terrine of wild boar (sanglier) and chestnuts from des Cévènnes. There is also a classic selection of salads, sandwiches and tartes, plus the “Must du Moment,” the chef’s selection of beef and fish selections.
I ordered my favorite, a chévre chaud salad, and my husband ordered the chicken burger, which was served with a savory red onion confit, barbeque sauce, a small salad and a handful of potato chips. Prices were reasonable, with nothing over 16.50 euros. My perfect chévre salad was 12.50 euros and the moist chicken burger was 14.00 euros. Service was friendly and efficient, with the manager even stopping by our table to see if we liked the meal.
The wine selection offered a nice variety, including several “vin bio.” It’s the summer season, so there was a choice of several chilled rosés.
The Carreau de Temple was built in 1863, near the site of the Temple, the Knights Templar headquarters in Paris. The recent renovation from its rather sad life as a clothes market into a cultural, arts, music, fashion and sports center is one of many changes in the increasingly trendy Haut-Maris district.
But the lure of change sometimes has a few bumps, and when Le Jules requested an expansion of table service into an outside terrace area, the locals protested. The noise of drinkers laughing and talking until two in the morning disrupted those trying to sleep. Objections were filed with the mayor and hand-painted protest signs fluttered from windows. Although the mayor has agreed to cut the size of the space for Le Jules’ terrace, it still allowed outside service, which means the bar scene will be heard by the neighbors until late.
Ah, summer in Paris. Go have a drink at Le Jules. Just keep your voice down, s’il vous plaît.
Le Jules, 2 rue Perrée, 75003, Paris. Tel: +33 1 01 57 40 84 40. Open for continuous service Monday – Friday at 9 am, Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, closing time is 2 am.
Martha Sessums is the France Today Ambassador for San Francisco