Old Paris Hand Needs Help in New Situation
My wife and I met in Paris more than 50 years ago, and we're going back there later this June to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We've lived in Paris (long ago) and have visited a number of times since; I also speak French with reasonable fluency; but this time we're in a new situation. We booked 7 nights at the Prince de Galles (33, av. George-V, 8e), not because we have fancy tastes but because we managed to get a good package deal (airfare and hotel) and our old bones needed a bit of luxury.
The problem is that breakfast, lunch, and dinner are obtainable only at extortionist prices in that neighborhood. Do some of you old Parisites have addresses within walking distance of the Prince de Galles (walking distance for old geezers, that is) where (1) coffee and croissant in the morning doesn't cost an arm and a leg, (2) a lunch snack is available at an acceptable price, and (3) a bistrot-type dinner is served at 15e arrondissement prices or thereabouts. I have looked in Michelin, Gault/Millau, and Pudlo without finding very satisfactory solutions. Any brilliant ideas? (Our anniversary dinner is taken care of, so don't worry about that.) Thank you!
Here are some walkable places: Relaise de L'Entrecote (steak/frites only), Asian & Le Mandarin, Flora Danica, Bistro de L'Oliver and L'Ecluse (wine bar). If you are willing to take your main meal at mid-day, many of the best restaurants in the area have great prix-fixe menus at reasonable prices; all covered in detail on this board. Congrats, from a somewhat younger geezer!
Well, without doing a lot of thinking here are some initial thoughts from someone facing our 50th as well;
Breakfast defies me, Laduree's near but maybe in your "arm and a leg" category.
Snackish lunch at Noura's (albeit Lebanese not French); Tokyo Eat not great food but terrific setting sitting outside under the umbrellas.
15th-ish bistro-ish - Aux Marches du Palais, 5 Rue de la Manutention, kicky.
Not 15th-ish but reasonable if you take the menu at lunch was 28 for three courses my first lunch there but more the second without the prix fixe - Les Bouchons ex-Francois Clerc, now Le Restaurant de Philippe et Jean Pierre, 7, rue du Boccador.
re: John Talbott
I may get some heat for this, but Chez Clement (www.chezclement.com) is a small chain of restaurants in Paris, and they have a location at 123 ave Champs-Elysees, within an easy walk of your hotel. I understand they offer breakfast, but I have never tried it there. It is solid food, well-prepared, in a pleasant surrounding. The thing that annoys me the most is the format of the printed menu, which is in the idiom of TGI Friday's. Try to pretend it is handwritten, and the experience will be less off-putting. Tacky menu aside, I would put the quality of the experience as being on par with a better neighbourhood brasserie.
You certainly won't want to have your memorable meals here. But if you want a simpler filling meal in the neighbourhood, it is a solid choice.
Taxis in Paris are not all that expensive because the distances involved are not great, especially given the Euro's recent tumble. You might want to hop a taxi to the 15th or other budget dining hotspots--unless you are traveling at rush hour or going DEEP into the 15th, your fare will be less than 10 Euros--remember that the 15th starts practically just across the Seine from your hotel. What you save on the meal will more than pay for the taxi, and the experience will certainly be more memorable than Chez Clement.
Being willing to take an easy Metro ride on Line 1 will also expand your options. I understand that negotiating some stations/lines/transfers can be hard. But the trip from Georges V to Hotel de Ville on Line 1 in particular is a very easy one. If you are willing to head to Hotel de Ville (head for the rue Lobau exit once there), I still love Le Trumilou (www.letrumilou.com/) at 84 quai de l'Hotel de Ville) for an inexpensive lunch or dinner--have been going there for 30 years, and it has changed little--it has a quirky, homespun, cheap-ish vibe that somehow works, and the food is mainly bistro classics done solidly. Prix fixe can be had for 15 to 20 Euros.
If you are willing to walk east to Avenue Marceau, you can catch the #92 bus which will take you south as far as Gare Montparnasse (La Cerisaie, 70, rue Edgar-Quinet) or get off at Pont d'Alma (L'Ami Jean or L'Affriolé on rue Malar) or continue on to rue St. Dominique for Cafe Constant, Les Cocottes, Les Fables de la Fontaine, La Fontaine de Mars, Thoumieux et al.
(I learned to take buses before I had hip replacement. During those painful visits, I learned that the Paris bus system allows you to cross town almost door to door with no stairs or half-mile underground hikes. Ask for a "Grand Plan #2" at any RATP ticket seller or information booth. We stay in the 7th and eat all over town, most often in the 5e,14e, 15e, 17e, 18e, miles from our hotel but steps away via bus.)
If I were you I would have an expensive hotel coffee in the morning, just to get me out of my comatose state and get my eyes open, then walk to the cafés on Alma Marceau, or, isn't there is anice café in the musée d'Art moderne?
Lunches and dinners:
Chez l'Ami Jean or Thoumieux or the Constant places is just a lovely cross-Seine walk away. According to Google map, Les Cocottes is exactly 15 minutes away. L'Ami Jean 16 minutes.
And btw, congratulations. Your trip is truely romantic.
If I were you I would have an expensive hotel coffee in the morning, just to get me out of my comatose state and get my eyes open..."
Amen! Part of our enjoyment of Paris is rolling over and calling room service for breakfast. Often my husband will have the petit dejeuner complet and I will order only cafe au lait, sometimes accompanied by a piece of pastry or breadstuff that I've brought in. At the end of a trip, these breakfasts have cost nothing compared to the luxury they impart, particularly in inclement weather which seems to occur often.
I suggest another alternative to room service tea or coffee. Even though your hotel is part of the Starwood chain, it doesn't appear that there are coffee makers or tea kettles in the rooms.
Fairly close to your hotel is a Monoprix (market and more) on the Champs Elysees. A long time ago I purchased a bouilloire électrique (electric water kettle) in France so that I wouldn't have US-France electricity conversions to deal with, a melitta-type plastic coffee cone, and paper filters. I always bring them on trips to France. That way I can have coffee or tea no matter where I am staying. I am usually in apartments, but even then occasionally there isn't a water boiler. Depending on where I am staying, I may go to nearby shops and buy specialty coffee or tea, or to a place like Monoprix, I am perfectly happy with Lavazza already ground options which come in 8.8 oz packages, like one of these:
Even on one trip, I think the cost/value/quality would be far better than room service prices for seven days at a place like Prince de Galles.
You could either bring cups with you, ask for some from the hotel, or purchase some in Paris. I usually purchase a few porcelain cups each trip and then I have a lovely souvenir that I enjoy using when I return home.
I haven't stayed really close to your hotel. I have rented apartments on the rue de Berri and rue Washington on the other side of the Champs Elysees and don't remember a problem finding an acceptable nearby boulangerie for morning croissants and pain.
If you can't find an individual bakery that you like, I think the chain Paul is pretty good. There are a couple of options near you. The one at 49 bis avenue Franklin Roosevelt appears to be a breakfast or tea room version:
I hope you find this helpful, -sou.
re: John Talbott
I am overwhelmed by the rapidity and solicitousness of all these responses. Certainly, stepping on a bus a few paces from the hotel and stepping off near a restaurant or cafe is no problem. But in that case I already have an abundance of advice from my source books (Michelin, Gault/Millau, Pudlo, etc.). For example, we're definitely planning a visit to the rue Saint Dominique. Breakfast without travel remains a small problem. (Breakfast should be included in the price of the hotel room, but the Prince de Galles is apparently not one of the includers.) Thank you, all of you.