I was lucky enough to find this little Paris wine bar, a stones throw from my hotel on my solo trip. The Taverne Henri IV is nestled at the far end of the tranquil Place Dauphine, steps from the Pont Neuf.
It was a perfect spot for me to grab just a little bite to eat and a glass of wine at odd hours. I would bring my journal and write about my experiences while noshing on the homemade fare.
Sandwiches, quiche, cheese and charcuterie plates are all on offer, as is almost any kind of wine by the bottle or the glass imaginable. Bistro fare, all at deliciously low prices.
My first visit, Phillipe the owner and manager served me a fruity Beaujolais and a quiche that looked more like a souffle. Yeah, it was that big.
A few nights later, I happened to overhear a few Americans. Somehow, we all introduced ourselves and before long, we were like fast friends that had known each other for years. We drank and talked (and drank) until the wee hours of the morning. Phillipe was gracious enough to keep the place open much longer than normal closing time. He often joined in on our fun, though he did not know much English. He would gently quiet us when we were being too loud. There were people that lived upstairs.
It was a night I will always remember.
On the morning I left Paris, I was faced with an unexpected 15 minutes before my taxi was to pick me up. I immediately hopped over to Taverne Henri IV, for a last little nosh standing at the bar and to thank Phillipe for his wonderful food, delicious wine and for making a lone American girl with a journal feel welcome in a strange communal French wine bar.
Upon returning to Paris last year, even thought I was staying the Marais, I knew I had to return.
The food was better than I remembered and the place was very busy. We stayed until it cleared out a bit. As luck would have it Phillipe was conversing with a couple from Brazil that spoke French and very good English.
Again, somehow we got brought into the conversation. We drank and talked about everything from their travels to their lovely Brazil (and the men talked soccer). Before we left, we had exchanged email addresses with the lovely couple.
The whole time Phillipe and his wife had been waiting on us. I was dying to find out if he remembered me. Even though it had been 2 years, I was willing to try and find out.
I know enough French to get me by, but not enough to explain who I was to Phillipe. But his lovely wife seemed to know English pretty well.
I called her over. I explained.
“Two years ago, I came all week with a journal, one night, stayed late, bunch of noisy Americans, he kept the place open….Did he remember?”
She translated for Phillipe. As the French words danced out of her mouth and into his ear, he looked at me and I could see the look of recognition come over his face along with a warm smile.
He remembered. How nice.
I left that night with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
So, next time you are in Paris, stop by for a bite, a glass of wine or just to make some new friends.
What about you? How does a place become one of your favorite haunts? Have you ever made friends in a similar way, when you least expected it?
Taverne Henri IV
13 place du Pont-Neuf
01 13 31 43 54 27 90