Rewind a decade or so, and rue du Nil was all but forgotten – a cobbled backstreet of empty shops and fabric warehouses. Its fortunes began to change back in 2009, when chef Grégory Marchand’s debut restaurant opened here. All of Paris clamoured to sample Frenchie, a neo-bistro with serious talent in the kitchen. Two years later it spawned a wine-bar offshoot, followed by the laidback FTG, whose lobster rolls and Reuben sandwiches took the city by storm. In a few short years, inspired by the buzz, a new food scene was born. Small though the street may be, it’s a paradise for foodies; turn up hungry, and bring a capacious tote.
Tables are in notoriously high demand at this tiny neo-bistro, which won chef Grégory Marchand his first Michelin star. You’ll have to book ahead, but rest assured it’s worth it – especially if you’re here for the five-course tasting menu. At €88, it’s something of a treat, but always holds a few surprises: pomegranate-laced scallops, perhaps, or duck with candied kumquats.
Frenchie’s more casual offshoot doesn’t take reservations – just roll up early, as its shared tables soon fill up. Built around top-notch ingredients, its small plates are restlessly creative, running from sweetbread nuggets to smoked-eel agnolotti. Look out, too, for playful nods to Marchand’s training in London, from golden-yolked Scotch eggs to the handsome, all-British cheeseboard.
The team at Terroirs d’Avenir have a nose for first-rate produce, from Corsican lemons to authentic jambon de Paris. They started out supplying some of the city’s best chefs, before opening a series of shops on rue du Nil – including a butcher’s, fishmonger and deli. Drop by the boulangerie for an heirloom-grain baguette, then find some cheese to go with it at the compact but well-stocked crèmerie.
Follow the aroma of coffee beans to this bijou specialist store, owned by former historian Hippolyte Courty. His grand cru coffees showcase exceptional, hand-picked beans, sourced from a global array of independent, sustainable growers. Not sure whether to go for the Columbian Manana or fruity Ethiopian Aricha? Staff are happy to offer advice – or make you a note-perfect espresso.
This pared-back bean-to-bar chocolate shop is the latest addition to the street. Working with a handful of plantations in Belize, Peru and Venezuela, it’s wowed local foodies with its glossy, single-origin bars. The cakes – made by an ex-Ottolenghi chef – are not to be missed, from chocolate-dipped sablé biscuits to nutty financiers, filled with a swirl of velvety ganache.