My girlfriend and I will be in Paris next week-Sunday-Thursday and we're staying in the 8th. We eat fish but no meat. any ideas? Also, where can we go for a classic french breakfast: strong coffee, croissants, brioche, camerbert...etc
also, are there any gay friendly places?
Other than the big hotels, which serve wonderful, enormous breakfasts (the Plaza Athenee is amazing!), our favorite place for breakfast in Paris is Laduree, especially the one on the rue Royale. It is crowded with locals and tourists, but you can sit in the cafe if you'd prefer not just to stand at the bar of a more typical cafe or bar. The pain perdu (French toast) is superb and the viennoiserie delicious. Our other favorite breakfast is to go to a bar for a coffee and then go to Pierre Herme on rue Bonaparte and buy a selection of their viennoiserie (they do make the best croissants in the world IMO). Since you can't eay inside the tiny shop, we sit on the benches in the Place Saint Sulpice which is right there and gorge ourselves. The only problem is the pigeons who want the crumbs, but it's worth it. And don't miss their little kugelhopfs which are unbelievably fantastic, and the almond croissants which are brilliant. (I realize not everyone on the board would agree with me, but I have no doubt that Pierre Herme beats all the others, including Mulot, for viennoiserie.)
Regarding gay friendly places, my partner and I have never had a problem anywhere in Paris, from the most fancy to the most casual restaurant. I'd be surprised if it's any different for two women.
As far as I have experienced, cheese is only included in a "country buffet" breakfast in France. We were served it every day at Assiette Champenoise in Reims.
La Cagouille is an excellent restaurant in the 14eme (14 place Konstantin Brancusi, near rue de l'Ouest) that is dedicated to the freshest and most amazing preparations of fish. I recommend it to all my fish-loving friends.;)
The Marais is the centre of the gay he area of Paris, lots of bars, clubs etc. As with a lot of cities this has been a catalyst for the development of a very vibrant (mixed) community with lots of high quality restaurants and shops. There are lots of posts for the Marais area to search for restaurants. However, Paris is very cosmopolitan and I would be surprised if any restaurants ect were gay unfriendly, so you don't need to limit yourself to the Marais.
Fish is usually on every menu, some restaurants specialise in fish, others like brasseries will have big shellfish/oyster counters so there is no problem finding meat free meals and I don't expect you need to select on this basis.
Cafe's and bars will do "classic" French breakfasts. Generally it will be a croissant or Tartine (pieces of baguette served with bread and jam). Many locals (if they didn't have cereal at home) will simply stand by the bar, order a coffee and then be passed the basket of croissants to help themselves. Obviously the more up-market it gets the more choice there will be.
I didn't think cheese at breakfast (especially camembert) was really French, IMO it is more of a German/Dutch tradition with plates of thinly sliced cheese and cold meats - this will usually be on offer in hotel breakfast buffets..