Well of course we would end up at the launch of a smart French brasserie. On a rainy windswept evening, there is nowhere better to be in Germany than Petit Tortue on Neuer Wall. We’re the toast of town, the icing on the gâteau. Fresh meat among the Hamburgers so to speak. Tchin-tchin! The little sister of Hotel Tortue, the brasserie shares the same tortoise inspiration. “It’s about taking life at a relaxed pace,” owner Pascal Bechét tells us over a leisurely flow of tartines à la Française, plats simples, petits plaisirs savoureux, petits plaisirs doux and Perrier-Jouët. If this is relaxed, we’re liking it. Very Paris, very Hamburg, very us.
“There are about 10 French restaurants in Hamburg,” confirms Monsieur Bechét. “But none as close to the canals as this one.” C’est merveilleuse but we want to know more about la tortue. “Oh là là! When Hamburg was a département of Paris in the early 19th century, none other than Napoléon stayed in this historic quarter. He and his companions brought with them the idea of that world famous savoir vivre. The delightful art of living without hurrying. And which creature is extraordinarily good at this? Et voilà! La tortue. It reminds us to take our time, especially when we don’t have any.” La nuit ne fait que commencer.