by Jamie Carroll
Nestled between the Tour de St. Jacques and the Centre Pompidou is the beacon for late-night RER travelers. The RER, the metro and transit system to the suburbs, does not run from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Chatelet is a big RER station, where people gather to wait for the trains to start running again. Area businesses have taken advantage of these bored groups of drunken youngsters.
Come to Chatelet late at night, and you will find delectable crêpes and sandwiches of all kinds. Whether sweet or salty, the crêpes will definitely quench your late-night munchies. My favorite salty choice is the oeuf fromage, which is an egg cracked over a crêpe and cooked with cheese. My favorite sweet fix is the sucre confiture. This crêpe confection is filled with sugar and jam. Be sure to hold it so the jam does not fall out of the bottom—I ruined a great pair of pants that way! Not highly nutritious, but defintely delicious.
Au Pied de Cochon
For a late night or early morning snack shop with a bit more class, try Au Pied de Cochon in the 1st Arrondissement. This find, which translates to “the pig’s foot,” is open 24 hours a day and always seems to be bustling with an interesting crowd. One morning, around 3 a.m., I sat next to a couple that was discussing the best wine options with the owner while a group of older gentlemen tasted the day’s cheese selection.
This restaurant has been feeding hungry locals since 1946. Its original customers were late-night workers from the local food market. Today, the only thing that remains on the menu from those days is the pig’s feet. I did not venture far enough out of my comfort zone to try them, but the plate of oysters and onion soup curbed my early morning hunger. The menu is written only in French, so come with a dictionary or a friend who speaks the language.