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My Gay Paris: Paris Goes Crazy For Designer Burgers, Part 2

For the time being, spring in Paris most certainly hasn’t sprung and when it gets round the evening, we’re still more than happy to tuck into a nice juicy burger, washed down with a few beers—or a glass of red wine—to keep out the cold.

A few weeks ago, we featured the current craze for designer burgers that’s been gripping Paris restaurants, with chefs trying all sorts of tricks to out-do each other and creating ever-more elaborate versions of what is ultimately a rather humble fast-food staple.

Well, they really are everywhere. If you’d like to try one, here are a few more of Paris’ up-and-coming burger joints:

American Bistrot— 74, rue de la Folie Méricourt

The name says it all here: the two founders went on a road-trip across the United States and wanted to recreate the experience they enjoyed in diners along the way when they got back to Paris. The aim is to be as authentic as possible, of course, but even if it’s not quite the real deal, the location more than makes up for it: this one is the lively 11th arrondissement, close to a lot of great (and often cheap!) bars.

 Mansart — 1, rue Mansart

This place is decidedly hip, with a crowd of bright young things packing it out most nights. It’s busy but a whole lot of fun and in the hip South Pigalle area. The same team also run Le Floréal on the other side of town, which also serves a great burger, so if you know that, then you’ll get the idea.  The vibe is definitely more bar than restaurant, with many of the customers here to line their stomachs before moving on elsewhere.

Maison Mère — 4, rue de Navarin

This one isn’t far away and some of its fans would have you believe that it’s the best of the bunch. Five burgers are on offer, as well as a fuller (but still rather meat-heavy) menu. It’s all rather hype—the staff all wear jeans donated by Levi’s, for example—but delicious nonetheless.

Big Fernand — 55, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière

This places bills itself as a ‘hamburger workshop’, with customers choosing not just the type of burger they want, but all the sauces, extras and so on from a list with a decidedly local flavour. If it’s a cheeseburger you’re after, for instance, you can expect some French favourites, rather than plastic hamburger cheese, while the pickles make way for things like grilled peppers or sundried tomatoes … The waiters are decked out in berets too add to the French atmosphere.

My Gay Paris: Paris Goes Crazy For Designer Burgers, Part 1

Despite its German origins, the hamburger is a fundamentally American meal. Indeed, a simple beef patty slung between two pieces of bread and served with a generous helping of fries is one of the most quintessentially American dishes you can get, and French tourists generally can’t wait to try the real deal when they visit.

Of course, opinions vary as to whether including cheese, bacon, or salad or any one of a number of other extras adds to or detracts from the overall effect, but it’s a simple, down-to-earth comfort food that is now loved by fans the world over.

It might not fit with the idea of classic French haute cuisine, but burgers are popular here too. In fact, they always have been: the presence of pricier, classier alternatives, only seems to drive the French ever more willing to indulge their junk-food cravings with a Big Mac.

Labour of Love

A new type of burger craze is sweeping the capital, though. A handful of high-end restaurants have sprung up in Paris offering a much classier type of burger. These aren’t thrown together production line affairs, but a real labour of love, often made by chefs who manage to combine their love for the American burger with French savoir-faire and the best local ingredients.

Over the past few months, a couple of new joints have opened up offering (almost) nothing but ‘designer’ burgers, while other restaurants, keen to keep up with the trend, have also added burgers to their menu. There are so many places you can try a quality burger that a recent article by French newspaper Le Figaro covered the trend their list of favourites ran to a dozen venues.

Here are a couple of our favourites you can try:

Le Camion Qui Fume — various locations

Not a restaurant per se, but a New York-style food truck, with burgers costing around 8€. You’ll need to look online to find out where it’s stopping, but it makes regular visits both to the place de la Madeleine and outside the Point Ephémère, one of our favourite places to drink and dance in the city.

Blend – 44, rue d’Argout

Not too far from the Marais, the chefs here aren’t afraid to straying off the beaten track with some recipes, adding spinach to their burgers, making their own ketchup or offering fries made with sweet potatoes.

Le Floréal — 150, avenue Parmentier

This place doesn’t just do burgers, it’s also a lively bistrot and trendy bar where the neighbourhood’s coolest cats come to see and be seen. The end of the bar extends beyond the front door leaving a mini streetside terrace that is absolutely heaving in the summer. You’ll probably want to enjoy your burger a table inside!