If you’ve ever been to Reims and not eaten in Le Boulingrin, you’ve missed out on a treat, and now the bistro is closed, but all is not lost as you’ll discover in this article.
Boulingrin is the name given to a small area of the city (a quartier as they would call it here) about 5 minutes’ walk or so out of the centre near where the fruit wholesale market hall stands.
The hall itself is a listed building and is quite a landmark. It was re-opened last September after many years standing empty and a major refurbishment. You can see the improvement from the before and after pictures below.
When you’re next in Reims the market is well worth a visit to buy wonderful cheeses, cold meats and other indulgences.
I’ve never really discovered where the name Boulingrin comes from but the story I like best is that it is a corruption of the English ‘bowling green’, a name given to the area back in the first World War by English speaking soldiers billeted here who used the area for recreation.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the food and drink.
The bistro Boulingrin was a favourite amongst tourist and locals alike. It was here that many prominent figures in the champagne industry would have their business lunches and no doubt swap notes and work out their strategy.
It wasn’t so much the excellence of the food that accounted for the success of Le Boulingrin, but rather the atmosphere and décor.
It was a typical French bistro: a long brass counter near the entrance, lots of 1920s and 1930s style fittings, some huge paintings and lots of tables packed into little cubicle-type dining areas and it was always lively.
Unfortunately it closed a few weeks ago – landlord and restaurant owner unable to agree on the terms of a new lease (groan)- but the good news is that it is opening again in a similar style of building, just 20 metres away across the street (hurrah).
With a bit of luck we’ll hardly notice the difference and you’ll have another, or a first, chance to visit Le Boulingrin.