Les Fous de L’Île
If you’d rather not pay the island’s inflated tourist prices for a view of the Seine and some pretty mediocre cooking, Les Fous de L’Île is for you, and is the choice of many local Parisians. Although it lacks a picturesque outdoors the interior is deeply atmospheric, with kooky décor and eccentric, if somewhat laid-back, staff. Built-in display cabinets contain a strange array of crockery, among which sit rather surreal oddities such as a toy caravan and broken telephone. Les Fous is one of the oldest commercial businesses on the island, and the structure has evolved over time: a courtyard was covered and paved to create extra room, and the kitchen used to be another shop altogether. The traditional menu of bistro favourites (think steak frites and salads) is fresh and tasty, but make sure you leave room for the chocolate marvel, the marquise chocolat, that is their signature dish. If the chef takes a liking to you (i.e. you’re pretty or have eaten all his food) he’ll offer you some of his potent home-made Clementine rum liqueur – a potion that has been known to spark off some wild parties here, especially on their Thursday live music nights.