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Jun 12, 2010 06:44 PM

Paris 26 Dec 2010 to 3 Jan 2011

Although we have not completed our travel plans yet, it looks like my husband and I are taking our first holiday together in more than six years in the week between Christmas & New Years, extended the trip to 3 Jan.
Our first choice destination is Paris, and I'm very keen to shop & cook at least one meal a day while we're there, but I am very concerned about finding good, local, interesting markets, cheese shops, bakeries (bread & pastry), fish markets, etc. Our working plan is to rent an apt in the Marais area, but we are keen to travel - and shop! - around the city.
Your best suggestions - especially for that time period - will be gratefully received.

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  1. For markets you'll not have much of a problem (and it's compensated for by the plethora of oyster and foie gras, etc places/stands); it's small restos, esp those run by couples, that often close this week.

    7 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thanks for that bit of information. I knew there would be some places closed because of the holiday period but we're going for the adventure! And really, three generations of hoteliers & restaurateurs... I don't mind the cooking thing, even on holiday. Do you have a favourite bistrot you would recommend - if they're open?

      1. re: CricketGirl

        I'll tell you, this is the #1 topic on Chow France.
        There are many definitions of bistros and many opinions. Before we wade into this pond again, take a look at some of the bistro/bistrot threads and narrow your question a bit. For instance if I told you my favorite was in rthe 18th near Jules Joffrin you might not be interested.

        1. re: John Talbott

          "if I told you my favorite was in rthe 18th near Jules Joffrin you might not be interested."

          What if I told her it was our favorite, too?

          1. re: mangeur

            To both John Talbott & mangeur -
            My definition of a bistrot is a comfortable place, with chairs that are meant for sitting in for at least 90 minutes, with lighting that is neither too bright nor too gloomy, with tables that will hold plates and glasses & cutlery without worry something will go phlattt on floor. That's what it needs to look & feel like.

            And then once I'm comfortably seated, and the first glass of wine is poured (something young, with hope & promise, but not raw and definitely not peaked), I want to choose from amongst the comfort foods that made me fall in love with the idea of French cooking, and gave me options to choose when creating our family's inn menus. Cassoulet. Boeuf Bourgignonne. Coq au vin. Perhaps something a la Normande. Definitely the chance to choose something with mussels.

            The experience I want is about the food but also about the atmosphere, the venue, the walk to the establishment.

            1. re: CricketGirl

              I cannot think of a single place open that week that fits all those requirements but maybe:
              Le Regalade (the original)
              Marty &
              the Bistrot Paul Bert would be 95% there and
              the Bistrot du Dome for the mussels.

              1. re: CricketGirl

                That sounds like Joséphine, Chez Georges Porte Maillot, L'Auberge du Quincy. Christmas is not mussel season.

                1. re: souphie

                  Thank John Talbott & Souphie & everyone else who answered my questions. I think now I have too many choices! But then, isn't that part of the charm of being in Paris?
                  We will not know definitively if we can actually get away (it's my job that may be holding us back..) for another two weeks, but as soon as we can, we will book tickets & apartment & start planning.
                  Merci beaucoup!

      2. My family was in Paris from December 30, 2009 to January 2, 2010 and here are their notes on what was available:

        L'Ami Jean: closed from December 24, 2009 to January 5, 2010

        Le Chateaubriand: not sure if they were open December 30, 2009 to January 1, 2010, but they were closed January 2, 2010

        Le Comptoir du Relais: only open December 30, 2009

        Chez Dumonet Josephine: only open December 30, 2009

        Chez Michel: definitely open December 31, 2009, possibly other dates as well

        Breizh Café: definitely open January 2, 2010, possibly other dates as well

        Ze Kitchen Galerie: closed

        Le Regalade: closed

        Le Temps du Temps: closed

        Itineraires: open December 31, 2009 to January 2, 2010

        L’Os a Moelle: open December 31, 2009 to January 2, 2010

        Christophe: definitely open on January 1, 2010, possibly other dates as well

        Bistrot Paul Bert: open December 30 and 31, 2009 and January 2, 2010, closed January 1, 2010

        L'Epigramme: open December 30 and 31, 2009, closed January 1 and 2, 2010

        Au Bon Accueil: definitely open January 1, 2010, possibly other dates as well

        Chez Denise: closed January 1, 2010

        Claude Colliot: definitely open January 2, 2010, possibly other dates as well

        Hope this helps.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

          OK, since we're digging into our files: here are mine:

          Restaurants open around/between Christmas and New Years*

          *Caveat: Things change every year so even though I’ve eaten during holiday times at the ones I recommend, one must telephone and check lest one be disappointed by changing schedules.

          Over the years, I’ve kept some records of where we’ve eaten at certain dicey times (Sundays, August, between Christmas and New Years, etc) and using these plus newer articles I’ve decided to start a new feature: Sunday Summaries

          The prompt for this summary came from lacontessa, ( ) who searched the viaMichelin site for those open and found:
          L'Ambassade d'Auvergne
          Café des Musées
          L'Épi Dupin
          Chez Michel
          Bistrot Paul Bert
          Le Baratin
          Chez les Anges
          Jean-Pierre Frelet
          L'Auberge Aveyronnaise
          Café Constant
          Les Cocottes
          Le Clos des Gourmets
          Au Bon Accueil
          La Régalade
          Beurre Noisette
          L'Os à Moelle
          L'Atelier d'Antan

          This is a generally good list but if forced to pare it down, my picks would be:
          Les Papilles
          Chez Michel
          Bistrot Paul Bert
          Le Baratin

          And not listed are the following that at least some years have welcomed us:
          The Bistrot du Dome
          Brasserie Lorraine
          Au Pied de Cochon
          La Gare
          Café Guitry
          Casa Alcade
          La Chopotte
          Pre Verre
          Dix Vins
          L'O a la Bouche
          Ze Kitchen Galerie
          Violin d’Ingres
          Clocher Pereire
          Mon Vieil Ami
          Lao Lane Xang II.

          1. re: John Talbott

            My nephew by marriage who lives & works in the Alps but travels to Paris also recommends both Chez Michel and Au Pied de Cochon for the food - said nothing about the atmosphere. Which, to me, is so important to enjoying the meal...

          2. re: hong_kong_foodie

            "L'Ami Jean: closed from December 24, 2009 to January 5, 2010"

            I actually had lunch there on December 30, 2009. Your parents were mostly correct because IIRC they closed for Christmas, re-opened a few days later then closed again after the 30th or 31st.

          3. I see many answers and lists regarding restaurants to try etc. so I won't touch on that part of your post but I just wanted to touch on the interesting markets you were concerned about finding. I had the same concern before I went to Paris and luckily I found a book that helped immensely. The book is called Markets of Paris and is written by Dixon and Ruthanne Long with photographs by Alison Harris. The book groups markets from six geographic areas of Paris - it covers all the arrondisments but separates them by North, South etc. Each section lays out their favourite markets and than at the end also lists all the markets they visited even if they didn't find them all that good. They even suggest intineraries. I have seen the book on Amazon or I suppose you could find it at any large bookstore as well.

            We stayed in the Marais when we visited Paris last year and I have to say you've picked a lovely area. I hope you have a wonderful time and if I can answer any other questions I'd be happy to help ; )