Location2 Avenue de Lowendal
Paris is the kind of city that has celebrity butchers. Every week, its most famous—Hugo Desnoyer—sets aside thirty Coucou de Rennes chickens for D’Chex Eux. The restaurant, catty-corner from Napoleon’s tomb in the seventh arrondissement, has changed little since it opened in 1952. It feels a bit like the dining car of an old railway carriage, with narrow, polished wooden floors, burgundy banquettes, and checkered tablecloths. The clientele is a mix of old people who pop in once a week for their frog-leg fix, business folk from abroad who’ve been reserving lunches for years, and outsiders like me who come to dip their toes in the essential Frenchness of it all.
The chickens, a fussy Breton breed that takes 130 days to reach maturity and chafe in close-quarters confinement, had almost vanished by the time of their rediscovery about thirty years ago. Since then, they have become sought-after, the kind of thing you need a celebrity butcher to wrangle for you.
The roast Coucou at D’Chex Eux comes in a copper pan with creamy morel sauce, serves two, takes forty-five minutes to prepare, and costs ninety-eight euros. “It’s not trivial to pay ninety-eight euros for a chicken at a restaurant,” says Dominique Palvadeau, the manager, “but once you’ve tasted la Coucou de Rennes, you know it’s worth it.”