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Best area for cafe's, bakers, sweet shops and local culture

It's our first time in Paris. And we'll be there for 5 days. We're torn between staying at Champ Elysees (Av Foch) or in the Bastille Area.

We're not big shoppers and just want to eat and take in the local scene.

Any recommendations? Do kindly share your favourite places in the area too!

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  1. Bastille. Bastille is lively, av. Foch is residential rich and desert (with some good eats arguably). Champs Elysées are tourists and luxury -- the latter totally worth it, but obviously costly.

    1. Bastille of course. It's a real neighborhood. I avoid the Champs like the plague. Only uninformed tourists and our resident Balzacien go there. Wait, I see he too recommends Bastille.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        Another clear vote for Bastille. But why not consider the Marais?
        http://www.parislemarais.com/

        1. re: Dodo

          Dodo, thanks for the resource. Very helpful!

        2. re: Parigi

          Bastille no contest. Real, fun, easy.

        3. I prefer le Quartier Latin...

          1. Why those two? If restricted Bastille is better.

            But why not the Marais, or the Latin Quarter (border of 5eme and 6eme), or the Rue Saint Dominic area (7eme)....all far better areas in terms of food shops, restaurants etc. They are also good historic areas and offer a great experience for visitors.

            22 Replies
            1. re: PhilD

              Thanks to you all! We took your advice and found a deent place in Marais south of the river. Quite near Rue Vavin where we heard there is a famous boulanger.

              Now, to book the must eat at places in Paris, though I reckon we'll be packing sandwiches and pastries most times. :)

              1. re: dumplingdiaries

                "Marais south of the river. Quite near Rue Vavin where we heard there is a famous boulanger."

                The Marais is north of the river. Vavin is very nice but is not anywhere near the river. Vavin and the Marais are quite far apart. Where are you exactly?

                1. re: Parigi

                  If it's really on/near Rue Vavin, the Dome Empire has a nice fish outlet.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Thanks Parigi,

                    We are near the Notre Dame Des Champ Metro. Are we in the right place? haha

                    I tried to book a few places on toptable but the dates we want in August are not available. I tried writing to Le Comptoir but they're not taking reservations either. Looks like no one's taking reservations.

                    1. re: dumplingdiaries

                      If you are at ND des Champs, you are in a very nice area within walking distance to Vavin.
                      You are not in the Marais or near it.

                      1. re: dumplingdiaries

                        Lots and lots and lots of places are closed "aux vacances" in August. I suggest you go to michelin's web site and check dates for each of the places you want to book to see if its possible at that time.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          There are lots of lists of places open for various weeks in August; you're correct that most of the places beloved by posters here will be closed; Figaroscope always comes out with a Dossier or pull-out on what is open too. One rule of thumb is that places that just opened (say June-July) will stay open to build up clientele - even Flora Mikula did her first summer and some - like the Bistrot du Dome (still a favorite of mine) is still open every week, save on Sundays and Mondays, as are brasseries, usually 7/7. It's dicey from Aug 1 to about the 20 some, but I always survive, even if I have to trek out to the country (eg St Germain en Laye).

                          1. re: John Talbott

                            <<<Bistrot du Dome (still a favorite of mine) is still open every week, save on Sundays and Mondays>>>

                            John, say it isn't so. This was always one of my Sunday "go to" places

                            1. re: Laidback

                              "John, say it isn't so. This was always one of my Sunday "go to" places"

                              Me too. When it opened I recall it was open 364 days a year (closed only on Christmas Day), but when I went to check for dumpling yesterday, Pudlo 2010 surprised me by saying it was closed Sundays (except the last Sunday of the month) and Mondays (in August) which means if he/they are correct, it's the same as the Big Dome except for that funny last Sunday of the month.

                                1. re: souphie

                                  "Big "if"."
                                  I now think you're correct. I checked my Michelin 2010, big G/M 2010 and Big Lebey and they all state that the B du Dome is only closed Sundays and Mondays in August with no mention of this last Sunday of the month stuff.
                                  Sorry for the false alarm.

                                  1. re: John Talbott

                                    I'll be in Paris in october, but I'm already checking restaurants to go. I read there's another B du Dome in Bastille. Do you know the place? Or should it be better to go to the original one?
                                    Thanks.

                                    1. re: Ffromsaopaulo

                                      Yes there is, but I think it's not as good.
                                      If the truth be told tho' I use the BduD as a backup when another place's kitchen crashes, or I'm denied entrance to a Cooking School dining room, etc. It's a good and simple and straightforward fish place with decently priced wines but it's not in my top 20.

                                      1. re: John Talbott

                                        Thanks for the sincerity!
                                        I'll research more, as I said, I still have 4 months.

                                        1. re: Ffromsaopaulo

                                          October is light years away, who knows what'll be hot by then. Who would've guessed I'd be eating jamon in Madrid last week instead of wild turbot at La Grille because of Eyjafjallajokull?
                                          Rest calm, stay tuned, it will evolve.

                                        2. re: John Talbott

                                          That's exactly my thoughts. It's an ok place, but not special in any way. For me, on a Sunday night when convenient when I feel like a light meal of fish and when no other alternative is feasible.

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                Thanks John,

                                You guys are fab. Though I have to decipher what the areas are now haha...

                                Is there a definitive restaurant guide that I can buy? Hopefully it'll tell mwe if it's open, or if you could point me to a website, that'll be super.

                                1. re: dumplingdiaries

                                  www.viamichelin.com + www.lefooding.com will give you most of what you need in a very reliable manner

                                  The most useful guide for me is the Lebey, but it only comes in French (and is, of course, not perfect).

                                  1. re: dumplingdiaries

                                    "Is there a definitive restaurant guide that I can buy? "

                                    Short ans: No
                                    Long: I have four and the fact that the first one I looked in that props up my laptop misled my post here is proof that fact-checking is dead.

                                    I have grown to love that ancient instrument - the telephone - for asking about holidays, vacation times, August and the like.

                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                      You might check out the recent (out March 31) publication from Figaroscope: "Le meilleurs restaurants 2010", sold at magazine kiosks and magazine shops.

                                2. re: ChefJune

                                  Thanks! Yes, I'm in the "Saint Germain" area. The 6th I believe.

                                  Will google for the website, thanks!

                                  1. re: dumplingdiaries

                                    That part of the 6th basically shuts down in August; it's not the "Saint Germain", just high-end residential. Hope you got a discount rate. If you are lucky, Le Bistrot du 6eme might be open.

                        2. I'd have to add Bastille as well, in fact all that area from the Bastille in the 11th up to Père Lachaise--the area right around the Bastille is rather touristy, but get away two or three hundred meters and you're back in France. Idea: check out the film Chacun Cherche Son Chat (While the Cat's Away). That'll give you an idea of the neighborhood.