Pavillon de la Fontaine
Jardin du Luxembourg, 75006 Paris, France
A secret in plain sightOn Sunday mornings Parisian families awake early, driven out of bed by their young, restless children who seize the one morning a week they can really concentrate on play (Saturday is a school day). Rive Gauche families bundle the kids up and head to the Luxembourg Gardens. Some of these families are meeting grandparents, or doting aunts, and when they do, the rendez-vous is Pavillion de la Fontaine, a small café in the middle of the park, not far from the Medici Fountain and under the chestnut trees. The setting is ideal and the food surprisingly good for a park café. A tartine or croissant with a café crème is the traditional breakfast (chocolat chaud for the enfants, of course!), but this is one place worth splashing out on their freshly made waffles or crèpes. In the afternoon, there are sometimes concerts at the gazebo-ed bandstand, just meters away, the perfect accompaniment for one of their artisanal ice creams.