When Maila Doukore took over the legendary Cinéma du Panthéon in the heart of the Left Bank, she decided not just to renovate the place but to add on a whole extra floor – a huge open-plan loft with an intimate outdoor terrace. The idea was to create a lounge bar and restaurant, but also a meeting place for lovers of what the French term Le Septième Art. And who better to ask to decorate the place in her own inimitable chic style but the ultimate Parisian silver screen icon, Catherine Deneuve. And so, five years ago, Le Salon was born. Today it's a favourite rendez-vous for actors, directors, artists and musicians, perfect for lunch and afternoon tea, a relaxed hangout where you can laze away in comfy designer sofas, flick through back copies of 'Les Cahiers du Cinéma' or view the monthly exhibition of contemporary photos or paintings curated by the fashionable Rive Gauche gallery, Paule Ka.
Agnès Buffet took over the cuisine here a year ago, and she prepares a selection of creative plats du jour each day, like haddock curry or spicy tortillas, as well as soups, smoked fish, charcuterie, salads and quiches. Lunchtime is always packed out, so booking in advance is vital, while in the afternoon it is much more laid back: wander in, order one of the chef's to-die-for desserts, such as chocolate fondant with chestnuts or lemon cake, accompanied by a pot of tea from their special ‘Thés des Ecrivains’ menu.