Monday, 27 September 2010

A La Pinte du Nord

I was very briefly in Paris last week for work. Not expecting any free time, I hadn't researched any beer destinations. Then I found I had three hours to kill at Gare du Nord.

I know a couple of things about Parisian cafés. Principally that they're hideously expensive. But there's one handy rule of thumb: any café in a prominent position on a main road is likely to be at the top end of the price scale. So I went for a wander around the smaller streets, hoping to find somewhere vaguely affordable.

I did better than I expected. Not only did I find a place with something drinkable on offer, the prices were about the same as Amsterdam. Just 5 euros for a Chimay Blue. I took more than 90 minutes to drink it. That's record. A slowness record.

It's a handy place to know if you're waiting for a train. It can't be more than 100 metres from Gare du Nord. And they've got half a dozen draught beers and a dozen or so bottled. Two of the draughts I've never heard of: Gothic and Record. (Turns out the former is a Kronenbourg brand, the latter a Pelforth one.) Duvel and all three Chimays are the highlights of the bottles.

A La Pinte du Nord
38 Rue de Saint-Quentin,
75010 Paris, France.
Tel.: 01 45 26 11 89


Oblivious said...

I know of one bar in Dublin that charges 7.50 for a Chimay Blue!

Gary Gillman said...

Gothic must be new but I think Record could be a re-launch since it was a well-known brand in the 1950's. I've been researching French beer bars since I'll have few days in Paris in December. I might stop at La Pinte du Nord, since I'll likely use the Gare du Nord to get up to Lille for day.

Of the many decent choices for Paris beer bars, apart from L'Academie de la Biere, the two Falstaff bars are particularly appealing. I want to visit the Montparnasse one, which I've been to once before.

The first time I was in France was on a day trip from London, to Boulogne, in about 1987. I'll never forget the impression France made, how different it seemed yet familiar (from my Quebec days - you could easily mistake old Boulogne for parts of Quebec City, ditto Paris).

The first beer I had in France was Gordon Scotch, and I always liked those French winter beers (or maybe it was Belgian in fact). I hope to find them again at Christmas. I was seeking out a small brewery called Facon, but it had closed not long before I arrived. Still, there was good selection in the Channel ports then, both artisan and commercial, and it is probably better today.

One of the best parts of France is the North (not just Normandy but the real far north) but it is still little understood by foreigners and even often the French, as that famous movie about the Ch'timis showed.


Gary Gillman said...

Ron, just another thought, which is that prices indeed can be daunting in Paris. One way to handle it is to stay off the main roads, as you did. Another way is to find a place with happy hour, L'Academie de la Biere has one from 3:30-7:30 p.m., which can cut the price in half.

Le Sous Bock, in Les Halles, is another destination for beer-lovers in Paris, and has perhaps the best selection of French beers in town.

On another note: Guinness FES, brewed in Ireland in this case (or so I understand), is being released in the U.S. at the end of this week. I hope to try some in New York on Friday.