I’d love to tell you that I am cool and hip and that I just stumbled across this gem of a Parisian café but rather annoyingly I read about Odette’s in a guide book. I was in desperate need of a nice cup of tea and a sit down (I told you I wasn’t cool) and the review in my book mentioned choux pastries, art deco and a 1920s jazz – suffice to say it was a choux in.
Odette (or as I like to call it ‘The Taming of the Choux) is located just off Square René Viviani on the left bank and the delicious choux pastries are inspired by the ones the owner’s Grandmother used to make when he was a little boy – and I think choux might like them. These small cabbages (if you use a literal translation from your mobile) are filled with different flavoured creams, changing by the seasons. And because I am not a goodie two choux – I tried a lot of them!
Outside the café, which is housed in a small 17th century building, there are whimsical signs and a vintage bike with bright red geraniums in planters and window boxes. Inside, up the rickety spiral staircase there is a cosy room with a 1920s jazz soundtrack to accompany the art deco style.
My guide book failed to mention the view – straight across the square to Notre Dame, which made me think that the author had never in fact visited this lovely cafe because this uninterrupted view is magnificent.
Note to self: Don’t be embarrassed or too cool to use a guide book it’s highly likely to give some good guidance (the clue is in the title) – also if the author hasn’t actually visited where they are reviewing then you may have a lovely surprise anyway.
This area of Paris is so busy and noisy with traffic and people but the window seat at Odette’s is a little peaceful haven. We sat and gazed out onto the splendor of Notre Dame, soaking up some of the history of this amazing cathedral – cabbages and kings, a brilliant combination!
I am desperately trying not to finish this café review on a pastry related pun, like some kind of GBBO script writer wannabe, so instead I’ll conclude that I think that Odette has charm, warmth and wit. The latter of which could be my imagination getting carried away by the 1920s ambience as my friend’s shirt did start to fade into a smoking jacket and he began to morph into Noel Coward – I think I was on some kind of happy choux high. No matter, as Mr Coward himself said: “Grab it while you can — grab every scrap of happiness while you can”.