Falafel, crepes, knishes – you can find it all in the Marais. Among classic French cafés and vamped up grilled cheese restaurants (yes, they exist), we have found one of favorite new lunch spots – brand new and brought to you by a Belgian dude. That’s Paris, for ya.
On the rue des Guillemites (formerly “street of the monkeys”), tucked away in the Marais off rue des Blancs Manteaux, there’s a big old door that we’ve walked by for ages at number 3/5. Then one day, it was open, and we weren’t expecting what we saw inside. A truck serving food, surrounded by couches, tables, and quirky decorations was open for business. Welcome to L’improbable.
The team serves up sandwiches called pistolets, a Belgian bread filled with either hot or cold ingredients. They work with some famous chefs and veggie producers to create simply delicious, fresh, and distinctive sandwiches. We tried the grilled beef with pine nuts, parmesan, and tapenade as well as the BBQ pork and red cabbage. Neither disappointed. At 8 euros, it’s only a bit more expensive than the typical cheap eats in the Marais, notably falafel (at 5.50 euros), though just as filling.
You can take your sandwiches to go, but the little covered courtyard is a relaxing oasis, with high ceilings and little nooks for kicking back for lunch. They also serve drinks and homemade pastries, so there’s really no reason to head off immediately.
L’Improbable is not the only newcomer on the street. After a sandwich, we headed next door to 3 rue des Guillemites, an antique store that has been there for some 40 years. The owner has emptied out her front room and set up a mix of old chairs and tables for customers to taste her homemade pastries over a tea or coffee.
She even encourages you to draw with oil pastels on the brown paper table top, putting the best ones on display. It’s 0% frills and 100% character – just don’t expect your fancy locally roasted coffee or gourmet cheesecake. Hipsters will want to abstain. The coffee comes from capsules, though the tea is pretty unique. Her pastries come from her little kitchen, and her selling point is that she uses very little sugar.
We went for the after-lunch tea, but stayed for the experience. Check out the tiny rue des Guillemites next time you're feeling peckish in the Marais.