Paris Report, Left Bank
First of all, thanks for the recs. The places below all appear in one guide or another, but the advice offered on this board was often the determining factor:
Les Papilles (30 r. Guy Lussac). The highlight. As mentioned on this board elsewhere, this small restaurant/epicerie offers only one meal, altho you choose your wine from the shelves at 6 euros above retail. The dinner we had was very au bonne mere--leek pottage, lamb stew w/ primeurs, panna cotta--nothing that I could not make myself at home, but with an intensity of flavor I could never recapture chez moi. A memorable experience, particularly at 98 euros.
Pre Verre (corner of r. Thenard and r. Sommerard). Wonderfully inventive cooking on a 26.5 euro menu. Choices are very limited and you'll need to be flexible, but all of our selections were excellent. They included a watercress soup, a terrine of foie gras and petit pois, a delightfully rich cochon de lait, and a papillote of banana and mango (enlivened by a touch of cayenne!) for dessert.
Many meals at wine bars consisting of plates of charcuterie or fromage, all of them good in varying degrees, with strong selections of wines. In particular:
Taverne Henri IV: An old favorite at the tip of the Ile de la Cite, with a surprisngly local "feel" to its crowded interior despite its central location.
Pipos (where r Descartes mets r. de l'ecole polytechnique). Robust assiettes (mostlly cold) and a good place to stop for an after-dinner cordial, if you don't mind a little smoke.
L'Ecluse (15 quai des Augustine and elsewhere): Fromage not as interesting as the above, but some good Bordeaux and a wider menu. Considering its location (a couple of steps from the tourist-ridden Boul St. Mich) it turned out to be a good choice. I recommend particularly the assortment of goose and duck (foie gras, confit, gesier) at about 20 euro.
By the way if anyone's interested in the name of a 16th-18th century chateau for about 120 euro/day in the Loir (not the Loire) valley, where you are truly treated as a member of the family, feel free to send me an e-mail. A wonderful restaurant, Le Cheval Blanc, is in walking distance.
Let me start with Cheval Blanc since this is a food site. We ate there twice, once fish, once meat, the former daurade and sand dabs (I forgot the French equivalent, but fresh from the Loir), the latter roast lamb (nicely pink) and duck breast (nicely red), surrounded by langoustine on croustade, coquilles St. Jacques, pate de foie gras, a selection of local cheese (try the chevre), some interesting sorbets (poire William, for one), a souffle glace with marc, and, to begin, a chef's surprise, which I won't spoil for you.
We stayed at the Chateau de la Voute. They have a website, which I don't have handy, but this should get you started:
By the way, Vendome was a very pleasant surprise. Check it out if you're there.