Just a short walk from the Notre Dame Cathedral lies L’Ile Saint Louis. Prior to the 17th century the island was used for livestock and owned by Notre Dame. Until 1660 when a brilliant architect had the idea to turn it into a chic area filled with the biggest and best mansions in Paris. Now the island is easily one of the most romantic places in Paris to take a stroll with your loved one.
On the rue Saint Louis, you will find La Taverne de Sergent Recruteur. This restaurant has a very interesting history that dates back hundreds of years. I arrived here with a friend of mine and her family. We were greeted warmly by the staff and taken to our table straight away. They have a fixed menu dinner here, and it is in your best interest to come hungry. It has a very gothic feel to it, but still houses a delectable atmosphere for you and your friends to settle into a leisurely French dining experience.
Your meal starts off with a Kir Royale for everyone at the table. You have a choice of a red, white or rosé which is unlimited and included in the price of your meal. Trust me, it is tradition for the wine to flow freely – you do not have to wait for an eternity for a new bottle to be opened. To start you are given a basket of vegetables, soup of the day, bread, a plate of many different types of sausages, and pâté – all of which are unlimited. You get to choose your main dish and there is no shortage of options! They have salmon, duck confit, roast chicken, burgundy beef stew – they all sound wonderful, so be sure to budget in extra time for you and your party to make up your mind because it’s difficult to settle on one option.
After my main course I was very full and that was when our waiter came up to the table, cleared my plate, looked me in the eye and said, “Cheese time.“ After your dinner course you get an assortment of cheeses and, of course, your choice of desserts. You will not leave this place with an empty stomach. All for 40.50€ per person and 20€ for children.
Named for the activities that occurred within its walls, this was a place where the Sergeants for Napoleon’s army would come and get men extremely intoxicated (or “bourré” en français) then have them sign up for the Army. The restaurant continues this tradition today. At the end of my meal, our marvelous waiter, Andre, came to the table with a certificate and a pen and had me sign my name on the line. He took the certificate and had it certified and Voila! I, like legions of French men before me, was now a part of the army, and given a special souvenir to prove it to others.
La Taverne de Sergent Recruteur is open everyday beginning at 18h, and you can make reservations on their website, where you can also find out more information about their menu. Reservations are recommended for larger parties, especially during weekends and during the summer months.
Address: 41 rue Saint Louis en l’Ile, 75004
Metro: Pont Marie or Cité
Tel: 01 43 54 75 42
Hours: Everyday 6:00pm