5.2 La Bourse ou La Vie, 12, rue Vivienne in the 2nd, 01.42.60.08.83 (Metro: Bourse) is one of those places that keeps popping up on lists of wine and food bistros even though it's been open for 13 years. My friend the wine-expert fashionista picked it as a mutually convenient place and I was most game. I looked at the front and there was no name, only a blizzard of stickers from Pudlo, etc and reviews from everyone. I entered and was greeted by this larger-than-life guy, yes, he, Patrice Tatard, the nude guy in the painting, who is a cross between Le Quincy's Bobosse and Jean Pierre Coffe (he of the hilarious Panique en cuisine with Etchebest and C. Rostang). "Enter, enter, alone?, non, sit down."
The place is a riot of color with mismatched garden chairs, hand-writing on the walls and really strange art. But the carte is strictly old-boy, old-school.
My dining partner started off with the leeks vinaigrette and I had the herring with warm potatoes - both classics and both classically prepared.
Then my companion had the "dish-of-the-house" a psve of beef with a really peppery sauce (like I've been told, the French usually detest) and I had a whole veal kidney which was enough for the entire French rugby team, both with fries that were terrible.
We finished by indulging in a chocolate "pudding" as the Brits would say, two coffees and our wine.
With that plus a glass of white at the start, our bill was 122.20 E.
Go? If you're into an over-the-top garrulous host, a weird colorful ambiance and huge Julot-type portions of ancient bistro preparations, be my guest. The decibel meter said it was only 83.8 dB but I could't hear my friend from 12 inches away.