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Mar 22, 2009 10:50 AM

Le Florimond or La Fontaine de Mars

Have only 1 dinner and 1 lunch in Paris. Want to make reservations for at least our one dinner (thursday night). Which should it be....Florimond or La Fontaine de Mars? We will be staying on the Rue de Cler. Want traditional good food...escargot, foie gras etc.

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  1. One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is Le Florimond...
    I had a lobster medallion dish with a fresh cantaloupe buerre was to die for.
    I would do La Fontaine de Mars for lunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Beach Chick

      One of my favorite dishes is Confit de Canard; Le Florimond does it much better (less fatty etc). For lunch, try Cafe Constant.

    2. Le Florimond is a small chef's bistrot. It's pretty good though why it would be anyone's favourite is a bit beyond me. It is a small room full of regulars, a hidden gem for some. La Fontaine de Mars is a texbook Parisian bistrot, with a lovely terrace, and all the bistrot dishes of the répertoire. So those are two pretty different places.

      1 Reply
      1. re: souphie

        Souphie is quite right, La Fontaine de Mars is indeed a modern version of a bistro serving traditional dishes; a successful comercial enterprise; but perhaps lacking a bit in soul. Still, a decent place for a Sunday meal. Le Florimond reminds me of the many Mom & Pop bistros that seemed to be everywhere a few years ago, but are now a rapidly dying breed. After all, who wants to work a 12 to 14 hour day, in a country that still sanctions the 35 hour workweek?

      2. We're just back from five days in Paris, and had a very good meal at La Fontaine de Mars. As Souphie says, it is really textbook, with traditional bistro dishes. And the atmosphere is a big plus: nice space, friendly, if slightly harried staff.

        If I only had one dinner and wanted traditional bistro, esp. fois gras, though, I'd move heaven and earth to eat either at La Régalade or L'ami Jean. We started our dinner at La Régalade with a special (14 euro supplement to menu): an enormous lobe of fois gras for each of us. It was outrageously good. My wife couldn't eat all of hers, and, for the first time in my life, I couldn't finish it for her!

        1. I see that President Obama and his family dined at La Fontaine de Mars last night..
          Anyone know what they had?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beach Chick

            According to the press, he had gigot d'agneau and an ile flottante. The others reportedly had filet de boeuf and creme brulee. No wine, apparently.

          2. You will have a variety of options at your finger tips, since the Rue Cler is a market street. Second, do not eat at La Fontaine de Mars for your only Paris dinner. I lived in that neighborhood, and it was our fallback restaurant when we couldn't get into someplace else. It's fine, but no better than fine, and I can't help but wonder how the Obamas ended up there with all of Paris to choose from.

            Even in the 7th, there are better restaurants. I would recommend Au Bon Accueil above it. Le Florimond is pretty, and you will get traditional food there, and it has a bargain lunch menu. Perhaps there for lunch and Au Bon Accueil for dinner? Or just as good, stroll down the Rue Cler and see what strikes your fancy.

            10 Replies
            1. re: brendastarlet

              "I can't help but wonder how the Obamas ended up there with all of Paris to choose from" - simple: good politics. LFdM is a safe, middle ground restaurant, it isn't great, nor is it bad. It is very popular with lots, and lots of US tourists, thus it will resonate with lots of people back home. It also isn't very expensive, thus no risk of being accused of excess.

              Brenda, I agree with you, lots of better ones in the area, especially if you want to have a greater ration of locals to tourists.

              1. re: brendastarlet

                When the White House asks Embassy Paris for recommendations of this sort, the Embassy often recommends a place that it thinks will offer the kind of experience desired and that will provide the proper ambiance and care, which does not always translate into "the best" and which involves considerations beyond the purely gastronomic.

                La Fontaine de Mars has been frequented by many generations of Embassy Paris staff. They know the place well and it knows the Embassy. When it came time to make recommendations, this was kept in mind. Other places were on the list but la Fontaine was selected. By all acounts, everyone enjoyed the evening there.

                1. re: rjkaneda

                  It's a thoroughly enjoyable place, a very typical Parisian bistrot, a tad upscale. There aren't many places like this one and I am not convinced that there are better places in the neighbourhood, especially on a saturday. I love ABA or CAJ but they're very different experiences, looking much more towards fine dining, less exquisitely Parisian. In fact, that strikes me as an excellent choice, very appropriate to the occasion.

                  1. re: souphie

                    It's also got those private and semi-private rooms upstairs, which is where the Obama party had its meal.

                  2. re: rjkaneda

                    Embassy Paris scored big time on their recommendation...from news reports here in the States, the Obama's really enjoyed their meal at La Fontaine de Mars and like Souphie stated, it was an excellent choice!

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Besides La Fontaine de Mars, what other places are good for lunch and dinner on a Sunday in August? I believe La Rotonde is open - would you recommend it for dinner?

                      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                        I would, La Rotonde is a prett good place. L'Auberge Bressane is also open, as well as l'Uitr, FIsh.

                        1. re: souphie

                          Thank you! Based on your input, I think we will stick to our original schedule for Sunday: (1) lunch at La Fontaine de Mars and (2) dinner at La Rotonde.

                          I've made reservations at both places and in particular booked the upper level at La Fontaine de Mars since there's air conditioning. Any suggestions on what we should order? I hear the duck confit is great at La Fontaine, but I'm already going to Chez Dumonet Josephine so I'm wondering how it will compare.

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            Duck confit is a delicious but not very interesting dish. To make a good one, all you need to do is buy a good one and put it under the broiler to reheat it and make the skin crispy. At both Joséphine and La Fontaine, I would focus on dishes requiring more skills -- La Fontaine has excellent fish, for instance. Joséphine has a not-to-be-missed foie gras, a very nice cote de veau, great pigeon, duck dishes, pretty good millefeuille...