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La Defense Area Suggestions

bobgelb Feb 12, 2010 12:36 PM

Anybody know of any good local places in the LaDefense area. I will be staying at
Hilton La Defense, and I am unfamiliar with the area. Any suggestions are appreciated,
good bistros or brassaries are ok....Thanks for your help. Bob

  1. gingershelley Feb 8, 2011 04:42 PM

    My lovely Parisian BF's Father keeps a flat in P Rue Puteaux in La Defense as an office, and it is our 'free' place to stay when we are in Paris. Yes, it is 'out there', and of course we would love to stay in the heart of things when there, but, as many of the other posters on this thread have said - it is not hard to get on the Metro and go to town. The easy thing for dinner is to Porte Maillot, which has several decent choices ( most listed above), and just a few more minutes with a change of line take you to many.
    I am only posting to comment on some of the negatives on the area - Agreed that by day the place is a high rise wasteland, and we were especially wound up one weekday morning on the way to the metro we wanted coffee, and the STARBUCKS was the busiest place we saw for coffee rather than the couple of local cafe's nearby. Bleh! We went to the local.
    However, I have to say, one Sunday a couple of years ago on a sunny September late morning, pre- airport run, we walked up to the underground mall ( yeck, again - a MALL when in Paris?) just to go to the grocery store to get some confit, lesser canned fois gras for in preperations, etc. for the suitcases, we happend upon the busiest, nicest scene on all the acres of asphalt there! Familes everywhere! the Ferris Wheel was turning under the view through 'the other arch", people were picnicing, and the mall was mobbed! Apparently, not all Parisiennes can afford to live in the city, and this urban suburb must have many families living in it to have so much activity on a weekend. I think perhaps the 'other Arch' and the whole promenade at La Defense gets a bad wrap. It is actually kind of a lovely juxtoposition to be at Arch de'Triomphe and look back at the gleeming, clean lines of the echo arch up in La Defense as a look at modern design and the new against the old in Paris - 'maybe not progress, and there are many faults to the whole 'concrete canyon' that has developed up there, but Paris has to grow too, and have jobs and housing, where is everyone supposed to live? That day of 'life' out on the plaza's was very inspiring that there can be be soul in La Defense. But, you still have to go to the city to eat:)

    6 Replies
    1. re: gingershelley
      Parigi Feb 9, 2011 03:31 AM

      Does one really need to come to Paris to appreicate the utility of a crowded supermarket?

      I was just hesitating between the street market in Place Monge or the street market on Place d'Italie (Vincent Oriol) this weekend.
      But instead of going to those, should I schlep to depressive La Défense, to the basement of a mall, to dig the sociological meaning of an hypermarché ?

      1. re: Parigi
        gingershelley Feb 9, 2011 06:16 AM

        Parigi, I was in NO WAY singing the praises of the supermarket! Merely that it was a suprise to find UP TOP on that one day (0n the way to said sad supermarket), many families enjoying a lovely day picnicking and spending time out in the vast expanse of the square in the sunshine - it made it human scaled for a change. And I do like the arch itself

      2. re: gingershelley
        menton1 Feb 9, 2011 05:30 AM

        Actually, the area around La Défense, while not in Paris, is a very upscale suburb, including the village of Neuilly-sur-Seine and around the Bois de B. Lilianne Betancourt resides in Neuilly, although I suspect she won't be sighted at the "mall". I suppose it might be a tad cheaper to live there than in the center of Paris, but not cheap by any means.

        1. re: menton1
          vielleanglaise Feb 9, 2011 07:23 AM

          Neuilly was a "village" when the Goncourts hung out there, but it's today a town with a population of about 60 000. There are not a lot of cheap places to live there, especially as the town government refuses to meet their quota of social housing.

          There's a nice market, lots of places to eat, and a cool park for kids though.

          1. re: vielleanglaise
            menton1 Feb 9, 2011 07:36 AM

            I believe Nicolas Sarkozy also hails from Neuilly, and it was home to the Dutchess of Windsor...

            I was using the word "village" loosely, and I was responding to gingers. statement that Neuilly was perhaps an "affordable" alternative to living in Paris. Not really...

          2. re: menton1
            PhilD Feb 10, 2011 03:17 AM

            Yes but cross the river and it gets different very quickly. Having worked in both Neuilly and La Défense (Puteaux side), and Nanterre it is like chalk and cheese. Neuilly is very upmarket whilst the others are quite working class. I suspect a Neuilly resident would be horrified to be considered to live in La Défense...!

        2. menton1 Feb 13, 2010 01:17 PM

          1 Métro stop away in Neuilly is La Truffe Noire, one of the best in the 'burbs outside of Paris. Also Rostang's Jarasse L'Ecallier, although I heard that it might have gone downhill lately...

          La Defense is really waaaaaaay out of town. How come you are staying there?

          8 Replies
          1. re: menton1
            John Talbott Feb 13, 2010 05:36 PM

            Oh come on Menton, it's one stop from La Defense to the Pont de Neuilly, two to Jarasse (a fine place), three to Maillot (MBC) , 4 to Argentine (a few good places), etc.

            1. re: John Talbott
              menton1 Feb 14, 2010 09:09 AM

              What do you mean, John? I recommended a couple of places in Neuilly. I was just curious about why the OP was staying in La Défense, so far out from the center of Paris...

              1. re: menton1
                PhilD Feb 14, 2010 11:46 AM

                If you are on business La Defense makes sense because it is easy to get to the office. Also most hotels (and there are lots around Le Defense) have good corporate deals so often business visitors get little choice. This thread is useful because it highlights good options a short metro journey away.

                1. re: menton1
                  John Talbott Feb 14, 2010 01:36 PM

                  "What do you mean, John?"
                  I was responding to "La Defense is really waaaaaaay out of town." I really think of it as perhaps the end of the line but still seeable, reachable, altho' certainly unloveable. Some of my best friends work/worked there. It's sterile, I hate the architecture but I had a damned fine meal in the partners' dining room (or whatever they call it) at Soc Gen.
                  So I bear La D. no ill will.

                  1. re: John Talbott
                    menton1 Feb 15, 2010 07:50 AM

                    Don't forget, when staring at that Grande Arche, John, that in 1892 men of good taste such as de Maupassant and Dumas were railing against the Tour Eiffel and demanding that it be torn down as an "eyesore".

                    Maybe in 100 years the Grande Arche will be the second symbol of Paris??? :)

                    1. re: menton1
                      John Talbott Feb 15, 2010 08:25 AM

                      I know, I know, my French teacher a decade ago accused me of wanting to keep Paris like a museum.

                      1. re: John Talbott
                        menton1 Feb 15, 2010 08:28 AM

                        That's why I'm glad it's waaaay out! Actually, I think La Défense is in dept. 92, not in 75. So it's actually NOT in Paris!

              2. re: menton1
                souphie Feb 13, 2010 08:15 PM

                Yes, Menton. Come on.

                I've been to Jarrasse a couple of months ago. It was pretty damn good (though service was a bit of its game: there few patrons that night and we felt somewhat forgotten, and some sauce ended in wine glasses).

              3. souphie Feb 12, 2010 08:38 PM

                What they say. There are good restaurants that are in Suresnes, but it will take you longer to go there than to take the métro to Neuilly or Porte Maillot. To the list I would add Jarrasse, Rostang's excellent fish restaurant.

                4 Replies
                1. re: souphie
                  John Talbott Feb 13, 2010 05:50 AM

                  OK, I get the picture (altho like Soup I'd think of places a bit farther down, like Meudon to the as yet undiscovered Escarbille) so go into town, by the Porte Maillot is another great place Gilles Choukroun's (exCafe des Delices among other places) MBC, 4, rue du Débarcadère - 75017 Paris Tel : 01 45 72 22 55 just a year and a week old.

                  1. re: John Talbott
                    bobgelb Feb 13, 2010 09:02 AM

                    John, and friends...thank you so much for your tips...Now, I have to get out the map, and plot these restaurants...All the best...Bob

                    1. re: John Talbott
                      fanoffrance May 13, 2010 04:36 AM

                      Do you mean you like L'Escarbille? Isn't that the same chef as L'Angélique in Versailles, which you don't like? I'm tempted to have an outdoor lunch at L'Escarbille after a visit to the Sèvres porcelain museum--will I be disappointed?

                      1. re: fanoffrance
                        John Talbott May 13, 2010 07:39 AM

                        Good memory, or search engine.
                        I cannot explain it - the two times I've been to L'Escarbille in Meudon I and we liked it very much but 4 of us had very mixed results once at L'Angélique in Versailles.
                        Near the Sevres museum, I dunno, a well-reviewed place I've not been to but my pal Phyllis/Felice will is the Asiatique Mise en Seine, 7 Bd de la Republique in B/B, but I have no opinion.

                  2. John Talbott Feb 12, 2010 01:48 PM

                    An alternative that is delightful and just a bit South of La Defense via the tramway #2 that leaves fom the transport hub downstairs is
                    Au Pere Lapin
                    10 Rue du Calvaire
                    92150 Suresnes, France
                    01 45 06 72 89
                    My take "It is sited on Mont Valerian just in front of the Park and while you’re technically outside Paris, it has that suburb yet city feel to it, much like nearby St Cloud/Boulogne-Billancourt, all of which were built in roughly the same styles and periods.. They have a 2-course lunch menu for 20€, 3 are 25€, which is forced choice but looked great, so I took it; it consisted of a magnificent veloute of lentils with tiny slivers of ham, croutons and mascarpone; two small paving stones of bland swordfish with a wonderfully-offsetting grapefruit and orange sauce that redeemed the bland fish, on top a pissaladiere; and three most excellent roast figs stuffed with minced almond accompanied by an ice of verveine. This, plus a pichet of St Chinian and a coffee went for 40.50€. I went on a brilliantly sunny 70-77 degree F. afternoon and sat on the huge terrace and had a great time. I’ll be back - oh, there was lots of fish on the carte as well, bespeaking confidence in his supplier(s). The crowd was a bit too nouveau riche and shirts for me, but hey, that’s the nabe."

                    John Talbott

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott
                      Busk Feb 12, 2010 06:31 PM

                      I think even Port Maillot has some good spots like Le Relais de Venice and Chez Georges.

                      1. re: Busk
                        PhilD Feb 12, 2010 07:13 PM

                        ...and close to the metro, with L'Auberge Dab and Le Sébillon there as well, both reasonable. I only just realised they are owned by the same group: http://www.gerard-joulie.com/home.html

                    2. Parigi Feb 12, 2010 01:01 PM

                      You poor thing, take the metro out to Paris. In less than 30 minutes you are in Concorde or Palais Royal, with lots of choices of good eateries. Fines Gueules leaps to mind. There must be lots others.
                      La Défense is dead at night (and suicidally grim during the day).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Parigi
                        PhilD Feb 12, 2010 02:27 PM

                        I second Parigi's advice. I worked there for a couple of years, then used to visit the office and had to "suffer" La Defense hotels. When I used to work there we struggled to find decent places to eat, and/or entertain visitors (my colleagues were all Parisians) and when I visited we headed into town.

                        1. re: PhilD
                          Oakglen Feb 14, 2010 02:54 PM

                          I too was forced to office at La Defense; a sterile, miserable place that could be on the outskirts of any US city. The RER might be the best choice to rapidly get to the city center. And I second the vote for La Truffe Noire. Try to transfer to the Hilton in the 7th, if you can; it's worth the higher price.

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