Paris, France — It is a black and green and white and gold house on the side of a hill. Not just any hill, but one of the most famous hills in the world: Montmartre, the steep hill that overlooks Paris. Inside the warmth and characteristic friendliness of Montmartre — some of whose residents considers it to be a Republic independent of Paris — spontaneously come to life. La Bonne Franquette is an institution on the hill and a very appetizing one at that. Owned and operated by the Fracheboud family since 1967, the restaurant offers up one of the best selections of wines of the Beaujolais region (and other regions) in all of Paris to accompany classical and exquisitely prepared French cuisine in a friendly ambiance for the house’s motto is Love, Eat, Drink and Sing In Montmartre.
The famous or infamous Beaujolais Nouveau season kicked off in France on November 18th and the house is offering a special menu for lunch and dinner for one month — Vive le Beaujolais— featuring some of its classic dishes paired with the house’s highly original selection of Beaujolais, including three rare whites. But don’t worry if you miss the official menu, the classic dishes and wines of the Beaujolais and elsewhere are on the menu throughout the year. This year the house will be offering seven Beaujolais Nouveaux wines from some of the finest houses: Henry Girin in Saint Vérand, Emmanuel Fellot in Rivollet, Anthony Perol in Chatillon, Robert Period in Odenas, Jean-Michel Dupré in Les Ardillats, Maxence Besson in Lancié and Marie Lapierre and Jean-Claude Chanudet, in Belleville en Beaujolais.
A healthy platter of typically Lyonnais cold cuts from the house of Colette Sibilia, regarded as the best in cold cuts of the Lyon region, opened the meal with superbly thin and slim slices of the Rosette de Lyon saucisson or dried sausage, a remarkable saucisson studded with pistachios and a terrine cut into bite-sized pieces from Sibilia which will be celebrating its 100th birthday next year. This was served with one of those rare white Beaujolais, wines from the house of Maxence Besson in Lancié, a delicacy made of the Chardonnay grape variety. This was followed up by a hearty salad of lentils from the Puy region, lentils which have had conferred upon them the coveted Designated Label of Origin Label, enhanced by grey shallots and garnished with yellow and red cherry tomatoes. A traditional Beaujolais-Villages from the house of Jean-Michel Dupré of Les Ardillats who has old growth vine plants that pre-date 1911 was enjoyed by all.
Main course offerings were a melt-in-the-mouth Beef Beaujolais, that is to say marinated and simmered in Beaujolais wine rather than the traditional Burgundy, and served with honey glazed carrots, mushrooms and the tiny white onions known as grelots. A healthy helping of pureed potatoes was perfect for enjoying every last bit of the rich sauce while a main course of thick warm pistachio sausage with pureed potatoes was another main course option. A classic Beaujolais from the house of Château Cambon in Belleville en Beaujolais of Marie Lapierre and Jean-Claude Chanudet was served all around with the main courses. But a surprise was in store for the dessert course — thick rich Fontainebleau (a combination of fresh white cheese and whipped cream) served up with a choice of chestnut (from the house of Imbert) or cherry sauce — was paired with a sparkling white Beaujolais, aged for no less than 36 months. All in all a hale and hearty meal, particularly positive if you are climbing up and then down the hill, like we at The Gourmet Gazette did.
But another star of the show is the Fracheboud family, Patrick, the father and Luc, the son are on hand to dazzle diners with their eclectic selection of wines, wines that are listed over pages and pages in an enormous wine menu and others that are clearly off menu. The house was awarded the Coupe du Meilleur Pot which honors the excellence of the wine list selections in a bistro, in 2021.
Meanwhile the restaurant can boast one of the most beautiful storefronts in Paris. The letters on the facade are hand painted in gold onto black by one of the last craftsmen in Paris to master the art, Lucien Helle. La bonne franchette is a French expression describing something as simple or unfussy in the positive sense.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
La Bonne Franchette
18 rue Saint-Rustique, 750018, Paris, France
Tel : + 33 (0) 1 42 52 02 42