Grad student in Paris
I'll be traveling to France for a conference mid-Sept and will be staying in Paris for a weekend. My goal for the weekend is not only to visit museums and flea markets but also to eat my way through the city (with a restricted budget, unfortunately!)
I'm a female grad student and will be traveling solo. My food budget is ~ 50-60 euros/day.
I'm an adventurous eater and like to try new things.
I would appreciate it if you could recommend any good/must eats in the city.
I may stay in the Marais neighborhood, but will walk long distances for good food. :P
Also, I would like to purchase some jamon, cheeses, foie gras, and other specialty items (chocolate, macarons...the list goes on..) to bring back to the US. Any suggestions on where I can buy these without breaking the bank? Also, are there any restrictions on any of these foods?
Thanks for the tips and suggestions.. I am truly excited about the trip, although a little apprehensive about ordering food and eating alone.
I have done a fair bit of research on the web on budget restaurants, specialty shops and US food restrictions. However, I thought it may be more valuable to seek the advice of those of you with first hand experience.
For meals, I'm thinking L'As du Falafel, Café des Musées, L'Encrier and some of the recommendations on this thread (mussels sound wonderful!).
Also, Laduree, Pierre Hermes and whatever else catches my fancy, for sure!
I will probably visit La Grande Epicerie de Paris and A l'Etoile d'Or for yummy food gifts.
By the way, it's interesting how everyone who replied to this thread has a username starting with 'P'.
you should also set aside a meal for breizh cafe for some amazing crepes - 109 rue vieille du temple - prices range 3 - 15 euro a crepe.
also in the marais is a place called exceptions gourmands at 4 place du marche st catherine that sells carmels, ice cream, maracoons, nougat, and daily specials - the square is also a nice place to sit if you've picked up a sandwich (or falafel, it's not too far) for lunch
I did end up visiting Jean Bart my first night in Paris. It's a small, cozy space. The owner (or who i assumed was the owner) wasn't too welcoming and immediately started grumbling to the server - I was alone, and most tables sat 4-6 people so it probably wasn't good business for him. The server was quite nice though, and I was eventually seated with a bunch of french girls. The second half of the menu is in english, so no problems with ordering. The mussels were very fresh and plump...sauce was good..generous serving size..no complaints there. They definitely need to work on their fries though - they were a soggy oily mess. Most people were having steak, so maybe you should go with that and have the mussels as an appetizer to share? Anyhow, the food was okay, but the service kinda put a damper on the experience.
Despite the weakness of the dollar, which has strengthened a bit in recent weeks, your budget is feasible, particularly in the Marais. For example, there is a wonderful mussel place on the rue St. Antoine, across the street from the St. Paul metro stop. While it looks like a bar, it has many varieties of mussel dishes for 7-10 euros, with wonderful bread. Wine by the carafe is also quite reasonable. The Auberge de Jarente (Basque) on the rue Jarente has complete meal, including wine, for 20-30 euros. The owner is also very nice. Do some research on this board, and you will find many more recommendations.
For bringing back food items back to the US, I would check the US Custom's website. From my experiences and my friends, most customs officers will generally overlook a small amount of raw milk cheeses that are aged for less than 60 days; those aged over 60 days are no problem. And I usually let them know if they ask. Most meat, including cured meat products, are strictly prohibited and they enforce this very strenuously. Fois gras products in cans are generally ok but not in cryovac. Also no plants or fresh fruits.
For macarons, lots of people flock to Laduree and Pierre Herme. They both have several locations in the city.
For chocolates, my favourite is Michel Chaudun at 149 rue de l'Universite 75007.
Another very popular destination for those with a sweet tooth is Gerard Mulot:
Here's one "authentic" wine bar/bistrot" I can recommend:
10, rue du Marche St Honore 75001
Everything there is basic, even the decor, but the food is fresh, tastes great and is very, very reasonable.
It's the kind of place "where the locals go to".
In the evenings they only serve charcuteries/cheese & wine.
PS: avoid the downstairs toilet!!
I suspect there might be import restrictions for cheese into the US, but I am not sure.