April 2 2011
I've been avoiding this place like the plague for the past two or three months. Situated on the crossroads of Pere Lachaise, it was the garish green-and-cream colour scheme, the grey-haired waiters, looking like starched penguins in their uniform, serving loud American tourists who wear beige cut-off cargo pants and white-socks-and-sandals.
Not my cup of tea.
Any lingering curiousity to give it a go vanished the day when hordes of people had piled inside to watch a football match... and the unfortunate thing was that those football fans were standing up with their crotch just at the eye-level of those sitting down trying to enjoy their meal. Even less appealing!
However, I went in for the first time a couple of days ago and it wasn't as ghastly as I'd anticipated. The barman was friendly and quite helpful, although with a certain aloofness that could be interpreted as snootiness but is probably just "Parisian". The highlight actually was being chatted up by the Director of the Père Lachaise Cemetery - a very talented man, multi-lingual, and quirky too, with a bizarre interest in the British Royal Family...
You're probably starting to wonder why it was then that I ventured in. There is a reason. One close to my heart. They sell fresh oysters to take away - specifically, a dozen oysters for 10 euros, which is not a bad price.
Besides the oysters and the 'Vente A Emporter' stand selling crepes and galettes, this café-restaurant-bar has little going for it, in my opinion. Although admittedly, it does attract the majority of tourists in the area and if you're looking for somewhere which has menus in English, Italian, Russian and Japanese, I can't think of anywhere nearby more suitable.
However, if you want a welcoming bar, with a more 'cool' relaxed vibe, go every time to La Factorie directly opposite, or for a meal - especially sitting outside at lunchtime, go to Les Tables du Pere Lachaise, which is just the other side of the roundabout and serves a 2 course lunch menu for 11 euros.