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Oct 3, 2008 01:49 AM

Foodies in Paris 17th w/ baby...reccs?

Hi, last-minute weekend trip to Paris on the cards (my first time!) and I'm throwing myself on your mercy for reccs. Here's the deal... will be staying in the 17e near Porte de Champenet metro stop with our very chilled out 4-month old daughter. She'll be riding in her buggy and is not big enough for a high chair, so we'll need places where we can roll in and roll out.

We love food and restaurants, but are not into formal Michelin-starred places with a stilted atmos. We're looking for authentic places we can eat wonderful French food and enjoy a relaxed and welcoming vibe - bistro type places for dinner, good lunch places in interesting neighbourhoods (prepared to go far on the metro, but would prefer not to have to change trains multiple times...) Also any good places to get some pastries for breakfast near our hotel on Boulevard Berthier.

We've got some ££ socked away to spend on eating so not too worried about ferreting out super budget places; however, in my experience some of the best places aren't the most expensive. Any ideas for us?

And a few general questions: We'll be hoping to eat earlyish, like maybe 6:30 or 7 - is this do-able in Paris and do we have to book? And how are they on breastfeeding in restaurants over there? Many thanks, Paris hounds!

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  1. In Paris, the best places are expensive -- it far from being the case in many other places in the world, but it basically is in Paris. There are good value bistrots but they're crowded and turn the table three times a night. One of those is L'Entredgeu, rue Laugier.

    Other restaurants I like in the 17th include Le Bistrot d'a Cote (Villiers, Flaubert), Il etait une Oie dans le Sud-Ouest (rue Flaubert), Le Clou rue Cardinet. None of them really close to your hotel.

    Having dinner at 6.30 is basically impossible except in brasseries, mcdonalds and at home. With a baby, at home is often the best solution. Not that restaurants aren't baby-friendly, many are. But it is intrinsically difficult.

    Not sure about bakeries near Bd Berthier. La Fleur d'Oranger rue Lebon is great but it is a bit far for a pre-breakfast walk. There is a Grenier a Pain rue Toqueville.

    4 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Thanks for that info, Sophie, it's very helpful. If dining at 6:30 is impossible, then at what time could we expect to dine the earliest? And are there any particularly good brasseries you'd reccommend -doesn't have to be in the 17th, just an easy metro ride away...

      1. re: Yankunian

        I went to Paris two times last year with my baby/toddler. My first tip is to avoid the metro with a buggy - take the bus? Its really so much easier:)

        The baby was welcome in all the places I visited, but the tip is to eat while the baby is asleep. This makes a meal, not just a bite. You just bring the buggy, and put it near your table, the baby is sound asleep, and the parents enjoy the meal. (Problem solved.) You can stay out as long as your baby likes to take her nap. This way you will probably not be able to make reservations, unless your baby is sleeping to the clock, though:)

        I was not able to go to any of the places I 'really wanted', as reservations was not an option for my son:) I made a huge list of places I saw recomended on this board, mostly bistro's (Souphie was the #1 contributor) and organized it after district I wanted to visit. So when the baby was finally sleeping, we went out, and just asked if the restaurant had room for us, and a buggy. Very easy - and lots of GOOD food:)

        1. re: Loveling

          Ha ha: just remebered: our best meal was by far at a chez clement, on our first visit. our baby sleept all night, we could really relax. So - with a little one, it is not all about the food:)

          1. re: Loveling

            Thanks Loveling. Sounds very similar to here in the UK... obviously, we're not going to walk into a restaurant with a screaming baby or eat a nine-course meal ending at midnight! I think we'll try to do what you did... scope out some good places in neighbourhoods we're likely to be in and then play it by ear.

            And thanks for your tip on the metro. I think we'll definitely be taking the bus whenever possible - or walking. And it looks like we should avoid Montmartre, with all those stairs!

    2. I would stick to places that offer "service continu," meaning you can eat at any time. As another poster mentioned, this will generally be brasseries and cafes -- but don't worry, there are enough of them so that you certainly won't have to take any meals at McDonalds! In fact, I would guess that dining at an off hour would actually be an advantage at somewhere like Le Comptoir, which doesn't even take reservations on the weekends. In fact, Le Comptoir would be one of my strongest suggestions for you (though it is cramped) -- except I would go even earlier, like 5.30 or 6pm.

      I would suggest doing a search here on Chowhound for "service continu Paris" or even posting another query under that title. Good luck and please report back with your experiences! It's nice to know that life and travel don't end after having children!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cookingthebooks

        That is a very smart suggestion, Cookingthebooks... many thanks for your sage advice. We will definitely report back.

      2. Friends who live in that area swear by Le Petit Champerret, on rue Vernier. They seldom reserve, so perhaps the hours do not conform to the standard bistro schedule. Worth checking out.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Oakglen

          Oh, that sounds promising. thanks!

          1. re: Yankunian

            Well, we're back. Had a great time and ate plenty of wonderful food. We followed souphie's reccomendation and hit L'Entredgeu, rue Laugier for lunch as soon as we got in. What a wonderful introduction to Paris. I had some of the best foie gras I;ve ever eaten and a divine piece of beef that had been braised to within an inch of its life and fell apart when you nudged it with a fork. My husband had something with veal sweetbreads which he liked a lot. The staff were very friendly and accomodating, even though the place was the size of a teapot they cheerfully made a space for our pram - it helped that we came early.

            For dinner that night we walked around the neighbourhood and found a place that looked promising (lots of newspaper articles in the windows:) L'Accolade on Rue Heliopolis/Guilliame Tell. This turned out to be our favourite. the atmosphere was young and stylish, upscale but also down-home, like eating at a friend's house. We came right when they opened at 7 and again they were lovely with the baby (we had the back room all to ourselves at that hour) and gave us hot water to warm a bottle.

            We ate a wonderful squid dish with an herb risotto, tenderly fried langoustines, a terrific salad of pig's ears with a grainy mustard sauce, and lovely moist slices of duck with pumpkin. The cooking felt fresh and exciting, very well excecuted - a real find!

            The next day we were awful and touristy and succumbed to lunch at Cafe de la Paix because we were right there and hungry. It is pretty over the top. Had some great oysters, but my piece of beef was dried out and served with undercooked vegetables that were very poorly seasoned. Ah well.

            For dinner, though, we had another winner in Bistrot Niel on Avenue Niel in the 17th. The interior was intimate and sophisticated, with some great jazz playing, and the food was wonderful all around. I had a terrific little casserole with beef and mushrooms, though I can't remember what else we had besides a delicious half-baked chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. They were also very nice about our pram/baby here, but again we arrived promptly at their opening time 7:30, and took the baby for a little walk the one time she got fussy so we didn't disturb other diners. Perhaps we were just lucky, but I felt that people were much less bothered about us dining out with a baby than I had been led to expect by friends.

            I can't wait until we come again... though I may have to go on a diet first!

            1. re: Yankunian

              Thanks for the report back Yankunian. We're heading to Paris next weekend for a quick trip, and I've been nervous about dining out with our 2 small kids. I've noted the places you mentioned, and I do believe we'll give at least one of them a go. I'll post back with my experiences.