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Sep 7, 2010 06:22 PM

First (and maybe Last) Time in Paris + Mont Saint Michel

Hi everyone!

My mother and I will be visiting Paris (6 days) and Mont Saint Michel (1 day) next week, and it will be our first time. I took a gander at these boards, and will continue to browse, but I thought I'd post separately with my specific preferences and see if anyone can round out my list of places to eat.

- We're traveling on a budget (see exception below) and we've both heard about how horrible some of the tourist traps can be in Paris. We'd rather eat where locals eat -- and language isn't a problem. We plan to eat out mostly at lunchtime and keep dinners simple. I'm also looking for patisserie and boulangerie recommendations if there are any -- I've got a sweet tooth! (ETA: Found a lot in this post -- -- thanks!


- Our hotel is in the 14th arrondissement but we pretty much plan on visiting all the major tourist places... so suggestions in all neighborhoods are welcome.

- Foodwise we're probably going to want to focus on French food. For so-called "ethnic" food, we have a great selection of Asian eateries in L.A. and Taipei (where we're from), so we probably won't eat at any of those places unless they are mindblowing :)

- Some places I've jotted down based on recs here and elsewhere...
1. Pierre Hermé
2. Ladurée
3. Urfa Durum
4. Quai Montebello Farmer's Market
5. Ribouldingue (I like offal and someone recommended this place to me)
6. Le 21
7. Dodin-Bouffant
8. Au coin de Malte
9. Léon de Bruxelles (Is this place actually good? My mom she had a great experience at the Long Island location.)

- Despite what I said about being on a budget, I'd really like to treat my mom to at least one extravagant French dinner, so I'm looking for a nice restaurant for that. Ideally this would be on the night before our departure, during which we'll be staying in the La Défense area. Budget is up to 100 euros per person for that. Neither of us drinks wine (I know, I know... wasting a trip to France!). However, my mom is one of those people who doesn't like to spend money if it's not "worth it," so the meal has to match the price -- if that makes sense.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Go to for bakeries. Like your choice of Ribouldingue. Great neighborhood and lovely space. Very fairly priced and you will see offal rarely seen elsewhere, eg: groin de cochon, the pigs nose sliced across the nostrils so you keep seeing little piggy holes while you eat. l think Leon is terrible, always overcooked but quite cheap. there is a great place near Chatelet metro on Seine side of Rivoli just off Victoria. For your extravagant let us know what type of food/place you desire. Fussy, formal, rustic, plain super great food, whatever. With Mt St Michel, l assume you are taking a day trip and no need for overnight eating applies. If so take snacks, cheese, charcuterie, drinks with you and you will be fine. If you are staying on the Mt overnight and have to eat there l pity you. La Mere Poularde, known affectionally as La Merde almost owns all food on Mt St Michel and is really expensive and really IMHO bad, thus need to avoid if possible, the vaunted omelette included.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Thank you for the response :)

      Is it wrong that I think the groin de cochon sounds cute and delicious at the same time? :/

      For the "big dinner," hmmm, I was thinking slightly dressy but not black tie. What do you mean by "plain" vs "super great food"? Obviously I would like the food to be good -- are you talking about basic quality cooking vs that molecular gastronomy stuff? I really enjoy the latter, but I think my mother would prefer the former (I like both, really).

      Actually we decided to stay overnight in MSM to avoid the crowds during the day -- and I've heard that evenings there are quite beautiful. Yeah, I've also heard bad things about the restaurants there, so we'll definitely just hit up the supermarket...

      1. re: EmmaKnightley

        'Plain' means a hunk of perfect protein with great but simple sides as the potato dish of my dreams. 'Formal' means a dining room of great stature with flowers, perhaps, that in value equal your mortgage payment. 'Fussy' means well plated food in more a composed way. All good, all different.

      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

        Back in the Carolingian dynasty I had a great omelette chez La Mère Poularde. Since it was made in front of our eye, I could testify that the recipe called for equal parts of eggs and butter.
        Last time we were in Mont St Michel, we automatically went there. Sat down, saw on the menu the triply priced omelette which is now served wrapping around a chunk of foie gras. What kind of vulgar overkill is that. We got up and ran out.

        But I got foie gras on my brain. So we bought it from a farm, plus a baguette, went to the stretch of beach between MSM and Cancale and picnicked there with that view in the shimmering hazy distance like a mirage.

        1. re: Parigi

          That sounds like a great idea! Mmmm, foie gras...

      3. I have never heard or read anyone claiming any of Paris' Asian "ethnic" food restaurants to be "mindblowing." Also, along the thinking of someone who doesn't like to spend money if it's not "worth it," so the meal has to match the price, why would you buy an airplane ticket and fly half way around the world to Paris and eat food from home? So, waiting until you get home is a smart move. Having said that, we enjoy the shrimp and scallop dishes at Le Canton in the 6th (Closed Sundays, but open Mondays).

        The ethnic food in Paris people do rave on about is falafels on Rosiers...messy, but wonderful!

        Fairly close to where you are staying, I like L'avant Gout in the 13th and au Denier Metro in the 15th. Neither are expensive and both are very good.

        For bakeries I prefer the basic stuff at chains like Boulangeries Paul. But, a Paris trip isn't complete for us unless we visit Stohyer's on Montorgueil for almond croissants.

        Finally, as your mother likes value, please see the open air and closed markets list below for locations and schedules.Even if you buy nothing, walking through these markets is a great experience.

        And, finally, I hope that you will consider a picnic in a park nearby. Parisians love their parks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hychka

          Thank you for the response and the suggestions :)

          I love falafels!! I love the ones I get in LA, but I'm not sure if they're authentic. So just any old falafel place on Rosiers, or is there a specific one?

          1. re: EmmaKnightley

            L' As du Falafel....

            Let the firestorm begin!!.

        2. I can't think of any fine dining restaurant that will be "worth it" at night, especially in that price range. Make it lunch and Savoy, Ledoyen, Le Cinq, Lasserre are within reach, all definitely wonderful, major, extravagant restaurants. At 100€ for dinner without wine, there's La Grande Cascade cheap menu. And L'Angle du Faubourg.

          Otherwise, and this might have been the sense of DCM's question, 100€ buys you a really nice dinner at a traditional, non-stuffy restaurant like Joséphine or l'Auberge du Quincy. Lots of good food, won't necessarily feel like an extravaganzza of any kind.

          1 Reply
          1. re: souphie

            Ahhhh right, perhaps I shouldn't have used the word "extravagant." I don't think my mom is into extravagance anyway. I was basically looking for something special, distinct from all the other (hopefully) good places we'll eat at.

            Thank you for your suggestions!

          2. 2. Ladurée

            Several of us have had bad macaron there. But the rest seems to be still good. On the other hand, if you are going to Pierre Hermé, I think you can skip Ladurée.

            3. Urfa Durum

            Funky sandwiches in funky setting. Wear trousers for sitting on those strange Kurdish stools.

            4. Quai Montebello Farmer's Market

            Mad fun. But could get crowded in the middle of the day. Early lunch may be less hectic.

            7. Dodin-Bouffant

            Dodin Bouffant, along with Le Divellec, was Tonton Mitterrand's faves. DF and Le Grand Véfour were my first fine dining restos when I first came to Paris. -- Boy, I feel absolutely jurassic. But I thought DF died before Tonton did.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Parigi

              Off topic... parigi, I am in Paris and flying blind. Care to help me with some places? I am staying in the 10th but pretty much stick to the St honore strip for meals. Only because I don't where else to go.

              1. re: Parigi

                Thanks for the tips! I actually did some googling after I posted and I'm not sure now that DB (DF?) still exists...

              2. The best food we ate in Paris was simple bakery food - the chain Paul (mentioned upthread) has consistently excellent food - their quiche lorraine is out of this world. My best paris food memories are so simple - gnawing on baguettes with amazing butter from the supermarket, or dropping into a random patiserie for something sweet, finding a random kebab shop near Notre Dame and trying to get it made without chips inside (we failed - but it was still delicious) My advice would be to go with the flow - the best things are where you least expect them.

                Also must say Laduree was a bit of a disapointment for me.

                Enjoy!!! (and must say, absolutely love your nickname Mrs Knightly!)

                1 Reply
                1. re: AussieBeth

                  Ha - thank you. Emma is one of my favorite books.

                  You know you're the second person in this thread to suggest Paul -- but I've been completely underwhelmed by the Paul locations in Taipei (same company)! I'll give the ones in Paris a try -- I'm sure the location makes a difference.