I tend to pop off photos of cookbook shelves when I come across them. In the moment, just a couple frames with my cell phone, for browsing later. It occurred to me that you might like to see them as well? How about starting with Le Bal? Le Bal Cafe is a place I sneak off to often when I visit Paris. Tucked up an alley in the 18th, behind the bustling Place de Clichy, the space is airy, bright, and casual. It sits next to a robustly-stocked photography book store (and gallery). You’ll find rare books, small editions, one of a kind photo projects – it’s a gem of a place. I like to browse the books, or exhibit, then pull up a stool. After a look around, you might order a noisette, or an afternoon tart framboise, or sit for a proper lunch while you flip through a new book or magazine.
The cookbooks in Le Bal Cafe – they’re a nice mix of baking, Brits, wine, West Coast, and charcuterie – there’s The Taste of Britain, Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, The River Cottage Cookbook, Tartine, Delia’s Cakes, NOMA, Ottolenghi, Moro, Faviken, amongst others. If you’d like a closer look, there’s a larger image posted here.
When there, I keep my eyes peeled for Guillaume Belvèze. He works at the cafe (or did as of my last visit), and photographed the fanzine of the food of Le Bal. I tend to pick up little books when I travel, and came across the Le Bal zine one morning. I mentioned how much I liked it to the woman who was ringing me up at the book shop, and she pointed at Guillaume inside the cafe. He shot it. He would shoot while working at the cafe, and I think that is part of what I love about it. It’s the different between shooting as an insider versus an outsider. Anyway, I like to see what he’s up to and what he’s shooting. He’s easily, one of my favorite photographers (food, or otherwise) that I’ve come across in the past few years.
Le Bal Café
6, Impasse de la Défense, 75018
Métro: Place de Clichy