Temperatures are definitely dropping in Paris, and in chillly weather like this, I love to wrap up warm and venture out to a favorite bistro, one with satisfying winter fare, and character. And À la Biche au Bois is one resturant where you definitely get what you came for: hearty food, good wine, a super-generous cheese platter and classic desserts. Whether you’re in the mood for biche (young female deer) or canard sauvage (wild duck), this classic state-of-the-art bistro is sure to please. The soothing potato purée (made with the Agatha variety of potatoes, with 10 per cent butter, the waiter assured) is worth the detour all on its own. So is the sumptuous cheese tray, with treasures stacked one on top of the other, with favorites Brie, raw milk Camembert and bleu des Causses all in perfect ripeness. There’s a parade of terrines – rabbit, duck or a mix of meats – all classic and rich, all outdoing each other. I don’t remember the last time I saw coq au vin on a menu, but you’ll find it here, meaty and bathed in a vibrant red wine sauce. Oh, and yes, the chocolate mousse is the reason you come to Paris to dine. If the always-reliable Clos du Caillou Côtes-du Rhone is still on the wine list, go for it. The meaty red is a worthy stand-in for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is a bistro where you’ll find a mixed crowd, from the well-fed SNCF conductor to youthful locals to happy tourists, all feasting on treasures of the day.
A LA BICHE AU BOIS | 45 avenue Ledru-Rollin | Paris 12 | Tel: +33 1 43 43 34 38 | Métro: Gare de Lyon or Quai de la Rapée | Open: Monday dinner to Friday dinner. Closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday lunch | Lunch menus 24.50€ and 29€, dinner menu 30€, à la carte 35€ | Reservations recommended.