Is it worth travelling across Paris?
My husband and I will be visiting Paris for a week at the end of October. This is my fourth trip and I have decided to plan our evening eating in advance despite the dreaded fear of trying to speak in French over the phone. We are renting an apartment on the border of the 11th & the 3rd and I have come up with a pretty good list of options around this part of town. We plan to eat mainly in bistros as the budget doesn't stretch to the likes of Pierre Gagniere (unfortunately) Many of the discussions here focus on restaurants in the 6th/7th, is it worth making the journey or is this more a reflection of the fact that many visitors stay in this area and therefore establishments in these areas are more likely to have been visited by travelers to Paris ?
i have been considering
Les Fables de la Fontaine
Chez Dumonet Josephine
Closer to home:
Bistro Paul Bert
A La biche au bois
And we have a definite reservation at Spring, that I am very excited about.
So should I consider crossing the Seine or not?
Just because your apartment is bordering 3rd and 11th, one should not feel stuck there. And the Paris metro makes all the arrondissements very convenient. Having dinner at different arrondissements gives one a chance to explore them at night. Nothing like walking outside Au Bon Accueil after dinner and seeing Le Tour Eiffel all lit up. The Champs Eysees/L'Etoile, Concorde, L'Opera, St. Germain, the Seine are so different during the evening. In fact when I am visiting Paris, I try to pick restaurants in different arrondissements for dinner. Please do get out and try L'Ardoise, Aux Lyonnais or Chez Denis in the 1st/2nd; Le Reminet, Chez Rene, Le Pre Verre in the 5th; Le Comptoir des Relais, L'Epi Dupin, La Bastide d'Odeon , Ze Kitchen Gallerie or Fish Boisonnier in the 6th; L'Ami Jean or Les Fables de la Fontaine in the 7th; Chez Catherine or Les Gourmets des Ternes in the 8th. La Cagouille or Bistro du Dome in the 14th. And if one feel adventureous, Le Petit Marguery for wild mushrooms and game or L'Avant Gout.
Travelling across the city either by metro or bus (often more direct) is really no big deal. I would by no means leave out a place I wanted to go just because it's not that close. However, I wouldn't do it for any place. Choose carefully and do make reservations so you won't be disappointed once you get there.
I echo what everyone else is saying: don't feel like you have to eat in the same district that you're staying in. It's nice to get out and see the rest of the city, especially if you're eating in a completely non-tourist part of town, where everyone is speaking French and the menus are not translated into English (which may be more the case if you're eating in the 15th/depths of the 20th).
Here are two great links for bistros in Paris. The first gives reviews of various bistros in the city, and the second has a map of the whole city with great bistros pinpointed for you. For the second link, some of these bistros have their own weblinks, others not so much, but you can always google them and see if there are reviews or whatever.
Enjoy, et bon appetit!
keep in mind, the city itself ('intra muros') isn't all that big - I think it's around 6 miles N-S, 10 miles E-W. If you're talking about going from someplace in the center to where you'll be staying, consider walking. It's a beautiful city, but you won't see that if you're underground.
lots of beautiful areas on both sides of the seine.
I join the others in recommending that you get out of your neighborhood and see the rest of Paris. There are so many wonderful places to dine and to see, it would be a shame to restrict yourself to the border of the 11th and 3rd!
Take every opportunity to cross the Seine, and avail yourself of the wonderful metro as often as possible! You are no more than about 20 minutes from anywhere in Paris, no matter where you are, and the metro runs every two or three minutes. There are wonderful restaurants/brasseries/boulangeries/patisseries all over Paris, and you should consider it your duty to explore them! Be not afraid! Also, in my experience, most of the places where I made reservations spoke English perfectly well for the purpose.