Fun, Food and Music in the 15th
|Opus 4 gets Le Muguet swinging.|
In the southwest corner of the 15th arrondissement is a café with the flavor of southwestern France. Called Le Muguet, it was appropriately opened on May 1, 2008, the day the French hand out bunches of the eponymous flower (lily of the valley in English), by the amiable Jean Michel Boussougant and his equally amiable wife Marianne, from the Gers region. If you are one of those Parisians who thinks the 15th is no fun, think again. Then call the Boussougants to see what they’ve got going on.
When I rang Le Muguet recently to see if the gypsy jazz night I’d heard about was still happening, the patron was friendly and welcoming. “Bien sûr,” he said. I told him my party of six included a country violin player from Nashville. “You’re with a musician? Then you’re friends.”
Le Muguet was festive and filled with people. The kir flowed freely, on the house, and a man was slicing a big cured ham and handing out long slivers of it.
The band, Opus 4 (www.opus4.net), set up inside in front and started to play, fronted by a talented, energetic violin player, Piotr Sapieja. (A gypsy-jazz lover in our group remembered hearing Sapieja play in Paris 20 years ago and that he was Polish.) Le Muguet began to swing.
Dinner, for a price Mr. Boussougant says will rise to €28, included a starter (stuffed red bell pepper, served cold), cochon de lait (suckling pig) roasted to perfection on a spit and served with new potatoes, lemon tart for dessert and wine. The musicians made the rounds, playing, singing and making merry for 20 minutes at every table, even taking requests before going back to the front to continue playing until late in the evening. The diners danced and sometimes sang along. When the band invited our friend Paul from Nashville to join in, giving Sapieja a break, the fun-loving Pole couldn’t resist grabbing a spare fiddle (he’d lent Paul his own) for a short round of dueling bows and strings.
The next gypsy jazz night with Opus 4 at Le Muguet will be on Wednesday, June 18, starting at 8 p.m. and lasting “late.” The fixed-price menu will include a starter, plus roast cochon de lait and roast lamb (“Histoire de changer un peu,” says the boss), and for dessert “gateau basque à la cérise,” says Mme. Boussougant. The on-the-house aperitif will be a Gaillac vin de proprietaire, offered by the winegrower.
If you can’t make it to Le Muguet on Wednesday, June 18, not to worry. Jean Michel and Marianne Boussougant plan to have two such evenings every month starting in September.
Sports lovers might want to drop in on June 28 for the Top 14 rugby finals. Mr. Boussougant promises that the dinner (€28, featuring a hearty garbure, a Gascon soup with cabbage, vegetables, beans, and typically, duck confit) won’t start until 10:30 p.m., when the game is over. The following night, June 29, will be soccer night (European championship), with dinner served as well.
Le Muguet: 7, place du Rond-Point Mirabeau, 75015 Paris. Métro: Javel-André Citroën. RER: Javel. Tel.: 01 45 78 12 22. Open Monday-Saturday, 7.30 a.m.-9 p.m (later on special evenings). Lunch served daily, tapas in the evening. Call ahead for info on musical evenings.
© 2008 Paris Update
Click here to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).