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Around Faustine’s desk on the Rive Gauche: restaurant le Cinq-Mars
Next up in the series by our office manager Faustine Cressot, giving you regular glimpses of the neighborhood around her desk on the rue de Verneuil, is an interview with Perrine Ciantelli, waitress at le Cinq-Mars.
The mix of modern and retro décor and the relaxed atmosphere of le Cinq-Mars at 51 rue de Verneuil make it one of the most congenial spots on the Rive Gauche. The cuisine is heartwarming, too: whole sea bass cooked in a parcel with fennel and pastis; sausages from Conquet; and that dependable French classic, chocolate mousse.
The perfect place for relaxed lunches and dinners, the restaurant opened in 2004 and sits behind an enormous glass window – the type you see in artists’ studios. I went to meet Perrine Ciantelli, the young waitress at le Cinq-Mars, who has become something of a mascot there.
What’s the specialty of le Cinq Mars – and what is its history?
A real neighborhood restaurant, the essence of le Cinq-Mars is about enjoying a good meal among friends. We don’t stand on ceremony and focus on serving dishes that are healthy, simple and unpretentious – even if we are in the 7th arrondissement (district)!
Many people come here to try the celebrated sausages supplied by Conquet in the Aubrac region and our homemade purée of mashed potatoes that accompanies them.
The site was fully renovated by Pascal Balland and Paul Baudaine, who launched le Cinq-Mars just 9 years ago, on November 26th 2004. Having worked there non-stop 24/7, even though they were having a great time, they eventually appointed a manager, Rodolphe, assisted by me and Julia, another waitress.
Despite what people always think, the name of the restaurant doesn’t originate from a date but from the floor tiles made in a village called Cinq-Mars-La-Pile in the département (county) of Indre-et-Loire. In the 17th century, the Marquis de Cinq-Mars led a conspiracy against Cardinal Richelieu (Louis XIII’s chief minister) and was sentenced to death.
Why did the owners choose this neighborhood and this location?
It was really by chance. But they immediately felt at home in the village-like atmosphere. Even so, it was a risky venture, since the street is very quiet and a bit hidden away. We’re at the opposite end from Serge Gainsbourg’s house, which is the part that appeals most to tourists. It was a challenge for the owners initially but now we’re always full at lunchtime and in the evening.
Who are your customers?
Our evening clientele are people aged between 30 and 50. Real Parisians who like good food and wine and who want to spend their leisure time relaxing.
At lunchtime, it’s mostly the business trade who come from the Caisse des Dépôts (economic development office), Parliament, the National Book Center and the law firms. It’s an eclectic mix of interesting people
What do you like most about the neighborhood?
Our neighbors! I really like the peace and serenity of the street, the architecture and the location. It’s cosmopolitan while remaining cozy.
And what’s your favorite secret address in Paris?
In the Galerie Vivienne (2nd arrondissement), there’s a wine shop – le Grand Père et Fils (the Grandfather and Son) – where you can buy the best wine in Paris.
Also, at the corner of the rue de Buci and the rue de Seine (6th arrondissement), there’s an Italian deli, ‘Pastavino’, which offers delicious take-out food as well.
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