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Jun 24, 2009 06:29 PM

Traiteurs in Paris and train food: opinions, anyone?


I will be travelling with a small pack of family in a few months: part of the trip involves a short stay in Paris, and then a train trip to Toulouse. I have heard TERRIFIC things about the TGV, and less than terrific things about the food available on the TGV. So I thought... traiteur! Train-picnic!

So I have 2 related questions.

1. Can anyone recommend good traiteurs either within pleasant walking distance of our hotel (Quai Voltaire/rue de l'universite) or within pleasant walking distance of the gare Montparnasse?

2. Following up on that, any suggestions re: good train picnic food? And if your mind turns immediately to bread and cheese, I would be most grateful for suggestions (same neighbourhoods) for good cheese purveyors and/or bakeries!

Much obliged!

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  1. Bread from Milcent or Kayser, cheese from Barthélémy, ham from a butcher on rue de Verneuil are some ideas that jump to mind. TGV food is not that dreary but it's not specially good. Traiteur food for the train does not seem very practical. All bakeries make sandwiches and other snack you can take with you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      I agree with Souphie. Go for what France does best and that is not Traiteur food which is usually asian and of very dubious quality.

    2. Thank you Souphie, thank you Phil! I realize I must be using the wrong word. What I *thought* you call a traiteur ... is definitely not what you describe. I was thinking the kind of place where you get nice pates, cold salads of green beans tossed in vinaigrette... that kind of thing. But never mind that. I love your suggestions, Souphie, and I'm taking them! Thanks.

      4 Replies
      1. re: linengirl

        You can definitely go to a traiteur and pick up salads such as celeriac remoulade, carrotte rapee, salade de pommes de terre, various charcuterie, quiches and tarts, smoked fish, etc. There should be one on rue de Bac, past blvd St. Germain. The excellent boulangerie Gosselin is on the corner of St. Germain and r. de Bellechasse which is also a traiteur. If it is Wedesday or Saturday mornings, the outdoor market at Edgar Guinet is near Gare Montparnesse. Also Sunday market at Raspail is not too far.

        1. re: linengirl

          Sorry mis-understood - the most common traiteurs are take away Chinese places .

          I would pop into La Grand Epicerie at Le Bon Marche (corner of rue du Bac and rue de Sevres), it is a very large high quality food hall that has everything in one place: cold meats, pate's, quiches and other tarts, salads, freshly filled rolls, fruit (fresh and dried), bread, cakes, chocolates etc. It is more of a mega food shop rather than take away but the "deli" counters are very extensive and cover every possibility, it also has quite high turnover so you can be certain the food is in the best condition. The downside of the shop is you may buy too much...!

          It is worth a trip even if you are not catching a train, the rest of the department store contains the latest collections of many of the worlds top designers and up and coming designers. It is also half way between your hotel and the station.

          1. re: linengirl

            Gilles Verot, r. Notre-Dame-des-Champs and Rennes (I think), is generally considered the best charcuterie in Paris. It's about halfway between your hotel and Montparnasse. Highly recommended.


            1. re: rswatkins

              It's an excellent advice. They have another shop on rue Lecource (métro Sèvres-Lecourbe)

          2. Agree with all the above; but if all else fails (esp with schlepping kids, etc.) there is a supermarche on the Rue du Depart, opposite the Montparnasse entrance which has a nice choice of stuff that far outweighs the TGV fare. It's called something like Ono.