Bistro or Cafe near Church La Madeleine
We will be going to a concert at La Madeleine on Monday, March 22. Need to be there at 7:30 pm for 8:00 concert. I am hoping to get a few recommendations for someplace close by where we can have a casual dinner before the concert. We are making our lunches the "main event" so something on the lighter side is what we are looking for.
It's really hard to have dinner in Paris at 6:30, and definitely won't happen to Senderens or its bar Le Passage (which, as John says, are not cheap, and, as John does not mention, are sometimes wonderful but far from always). Your best call, as you sensed it, is one of the "regular" bistrots around where you'll get a croque monsieur or a French-style hotdog (a delight that I find incredibly underrated on this board, by the way) with fries or salad. The one just across the street from the church and from Senderens, next to the Maille shop, is as good a choice as any. There's a café with great sandwiches on rue des Capucines -- lovely, intensely Parisian place. But I'm not sure they'll still have bread in the late afternoon.
One place would be Alain Senderens's first floor (eg US 2nd floor) bar called Le Passage which serves lighter fare and tapas non-stop; 9, place de la Madeleine T: 01 42 65 56 66. I had a very expensive but passable meal there. I have not been to Fauchon's new cafe nor l'Ecluse Madeleine except for a glass of wine but it always seems packed - I understand the Cafe Prunier has been revamped in some way so it's on my list to try.