Time was, Saint-Germain-des-Prés had some serious lit cred. All the big publishing houses were based here before rents soared and they were forced out to the suburbs, and in the early 20th century the tracks made here by Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and others are legendary – and it also attracted slews of local bohemian artists, writers and musicians. Today, the neighbourhood is still littered with bookshops – many of them second hand English vendors, plus a lot of comic book and manga vendors, and plenty of antique and specialist boutiques – though these, like the bouquinistes that line the Seine, tend to cater more to tourists these days than to locals on literary treasure-hunts.
So Les Editeurs (‘the publishers’) isn’t quite pulling the wool over your eyes with its claims to be at the ‘heart of literary Paris’, but it’s a stretch. The walls of the downstairs dining room are indeed lined with around 5,000 books – gifts from local publishing houses, apparently – and the venue regularly hosts prize-givings, talks and signings. Among the tourist traps and overpriced ‘chic’ venues of the area, Les Editeurs is in fact relaxed and down to earth, with a mixed clientele tending to solo Americans of a certain age reading novels over a glass of wine. This is all fine – and the quieter upstairs dining room, all red banquettes and dark wood – is pleasant.
Don’t expect too much from the food though. The pan-friend bream with a Provençal aubergine stew and the steak with rosemary potatoes were fine, but no more than that, and certainly not at over €20 a throw. Desserts, again, did the job – a café gourmand with pastries, and a vanilla crème brûlée – but you’d do better to think of Les Editeurs as a pleasant, reliable pit stop in the area than as a destination in its own right. For more lasting literary thrills, do without the food and head to the nearby Shakespeare & Company.
|Venue name:||Les Editeurs||Contact:|
Carrefour de l'Odéon, 6e
|Opening hours:||Daily 8am-2am|