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3 days, 3 nights in Paris - help me choose?

Paris Chowhounds, I have 3 days and 3 nights in Paris this November to fill with meals and treats. Your help would be sincerely appreciated. I am staying in the 6th arr. and considering:

Les Bouquinistes - Dinner
Dominique Bouchet - Dinner
L'Atelier Robuchon - Lunch
La Tete Dans Les Olives - Lunch

But am open to all suggestions. My goal is to experience Paris and French cuisine to its fullest.

I would also like to have a cheese tasting (from a fromagerie not a restaurant) and though I love Pierre Herme' and Laduree, would also like to hear about your suggestions for patisseries. Thank you Paris hounds!

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  1. Scratch Les Bouquinistes, it's OK, but hardly memorable. Maybe you could consider one of the starred restaurants that have bargain lunch menus (like the original Guy Savoy, for example).

    1. I'll list my favorite patisseries -- Hugo and Victor, Pain du Sucre and Des Gateaux et du Pain.

      1. You should try and get into Le Baratin, L'Ami Jean, Le Bistrot Paul Bert, Le Verre Vole, La Regalade... They are some of the best bistrots in town, and really quintessentially Paris!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: J_A_A

          my comments on comments: ask for a 'menu' if you want to see their prix-fixe options; ask for the 'carte' if you want to see the regular (American meaning) menu. ALWAYS start speaking with a 'bonjour' or 'bonsoir' - even if you follow it with English - or your presence may not be acknowledged at all. A good place for simple lunch: Cuisine de Bar on the rue Cherche-Midi in the 6th. Great open-faced sandwiches on Poilâne bread. And Poilâne Bakery is down the street.

        2. Would also drop Les Bouquinistes and head for a reservation at L'Ami Jean.
          Have a look at L’Entredgeu - although it's a bit off the beaten track in the 17th, 15 minutes will get you there by taxi or metro from the 6th - Paris is compact and here is a real Parisian bistro with fair prices (wine especially), friendly and really great food. Always packed so reserve.

          9 Replies
          1. re: kerriar

            Two people say "drop" Les Bouquinistes so consider it dropped! Thanks! One more thing, unfortunately, we do not speak French, so we would prefer a place that at the very least isn't aggressively unpleasant to English speaking, and unfortunately mono-linguistic folk.

            1. re: OC Mutt

              Also agree on drop of Bouquinistes.

              "prefer a place that at the very least isn't aggressively unpleasant to English speaking"

              That is a myth which is extremely unfair to the French. If you believe in that, might as well also believe in Inspecteur Clouzeau.

              1. re: OC Mutt

                I have never encountered anyone who was <aggressively unpleasant to English speaking,> as long as the English speakers are polite (by French standards) and not demanding. Learn a few basic French phrases before you go. They will be more than just extremely useful to you.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  The French hate English speaking people who try to speak French but if you stick to English - and don't even drop a "bonjour" - you'll be fine ;)
                  I have Aussie friends who don't speak a word of French and had a great time at l'ami Jean this summer, they said the staff was great.

                  1. re: J_A_A

                    <The French hate English speaking people who try to speak French>

                    ??? I cannot imagine where you came up with that. Nothing could be further from the truth.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      My understanding of the thing :

                      French waiters don't like to be treated as language teachers; and usually don't want to be one.

                    2. re: J_A_A

                      "The French hate English speaking people who try to speak French but if you stick to English - and don't even drop a "bonjour" - you'll be fine ;)"

                      ?

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Guys I'm French, my fiancee is Australian, I can tell you that in restaurants they don't like people why try to speak French when they obviously are not fluent.
                        Most of them would rather speak to you in English, they usually like tourists, that means they're popular out of France.
                        But then maybe you know better...

                        1. re: J_A_A

                          I think you miss one subtle but very important point. Yes, a busy server will prefer to speak in fluent English (if they have it) than struggle along with someone in "high school" French, especially when they are trying to do their job in a busy shop or restaurant.

                          BUT, and it is a very big but, France is a very polite country, and it is especially polite when compared to lots of English speaking countries. If a tourist doesn't remember their hello's, please's and thank-you's then they will not get the best in France. The right greeting in French to the waiter and a few pleasantries sets the tone of the interaction, once established it can happily proceed in English.

                          I observed many, many times tourists simply say "I want...", or "Get me a..." to a waiter/bar person without any greeting. The server who had been very pleasant to me (a hopeless French speaker) then gave the tourist very cold "typically" Parisian service.

              2. Having just tried to do this (and planning a further trip), I would recommend:
                1. No more than one big meal per day.
                2. One fine dining experience if you can afford it (lunch seems to be the best value and this board has lots of rec's - esp from Souphie).
                3. One not too pricey bistrot and/or "Cave a Manger" (check the board for reviews of Les Papilles, Le Verre Vole etc because these enable you to eat and drink very well for a reasonable cost).
                4. At least one lunch involving fresh bread from a good baker, good cheese (Dubois in the 5th is excellent) and any other in-season produce you can get your hands on at the markets.
                5. One example of more modern cooking, where excellent ingredients are the focus (again, lots of recs on this board - Saturne looks pretty promising - I want to get there next time).

                4 Replies
                1. re: panaroma

                  <4. At least one lunch involving fresh bread from a good baker, good cheese (Dubois in the 5th is excellent) and any other in-season produce you can get your hands on at the markets.>

                  I would second that, and amend it to include some great pork products from Oteiza, on Blvd St. Michel in the 5me.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    I second all of Panoroma's recs.
                    I second ChefJune's rec of Oteiza which is near where the poster is staying.
                    Another nearby place with good charcuteries and bread and pastries - hell, good everything - is the Maubert market, on Place Maubert, Tues Thurs Sat mornings.

                  2. re: panaroma

                    Excellent advice. Thank you. Any more cheese/bread/charcuterie recommendations would be sincerely appreciated. Last time I was in Paris I had a croque monsieur that I still dream about, but do not remember where I got it!

                    1. re: OC Mutt

                      The Croque Imperial at Chez Flottes is hard to beat!

                  3. Les Bouquinistes - Dinner
                    Dominique Bouchet - Dinner
                    L'Atelier Robuchon - Lunch
                    La Tete Dans Les Olives - Lunch
                    Wow what a list
                    As everyone says drop Bouq
                    Tete is nice but you really want to eat a picnic on a folding table.
                    db is terrific but a bit cher for me
                    Robuchon if you've never been

                    Two new terrific and reasonable places are Saturne and the Mini Palais and don't forget Spring, which you'll have to drop by to gain access to - it's the best of the Fall as Regalade SH was the best of the Printemps.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott

                      The wine bar part of Spring may be a good way to have a taste of Daniel Rose's cooking without spending too much, perhaps?

                      1. re: Nancy S.

                        Right now it's only open at night.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          Thanks for the advice Paris hounds! I've secured reservations for Chez L'ami Jean and Dominique Bouchet. Next I'd like to figure out the best places to get a cheese and charcuterie plate (doesn't have to be a sit down restaurant), the best croque monsieur and a good place for classic steak frites (my girlfriend does not eat steak, so I hope to find somewhere that serves non-meat options as well. And please, keep those pattiserie recommendations coming!

                          1. re: OC Mutt

                            "a cheese and charcuterie plate"
                            As everyone who knows and loves me, Colette, you're still there aren't you, no, OK, I'm not a big fan of the wine bistros with nothing but a cheese and charcuterie plate but having said that I'd refer you to another thread that rec'd La Cremerie in the 6th (near Camdeborde who also has good such-like, in fact, if you don't mind standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Biarritz rugby team, on second thought it's the best choice.)

                          2. re: John Talbott

                            Two more questions: which would you choose, Dominique Bouchet or Jacques Cagna? The reason is that JC is much closer to where I'm staying. 2nd, is Rotisserie d'en Face worth trying?

                            1. re: OC Mutt

                              Jacques Cagna can work if you stick to the menus; the vin carte includes some great wines that are scarce today; we always seem to spend more on wine than food here. Not sure that they deserve the star, but you could do far worse.

                              1. re: Oakglen

                                The "vin carte" ? That's exactly what i'm talking about above... Drop that and you'll be the laughingstock of the whole resto ;) Say wine list please.

                                1. re: J_A_A

                                  Or carte des vins, maybe. Still, here in the States, we do say prix fixe when talking about a menu with a set price.

                                  1. re: J_A_A

                                    Laughing stock?
                                    The French I have encountered - friends, acquaintances, colleagues, resto waitstaff, - are gracious people who do not go out of their way to make fun of others. People who are so in need to mock others should urgently get a life.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      Agreed. You can find a jerk in any country, but my experience by and large is that a sincere effort to speak French is appreciated, no matter how broken your French is. They'll switch to English if they speak English well and that will make things run more smoothly.

                                      I have made some pretty funny errors in French and never had anyone laugh at me (other than friends...when I accidentally said something inappropriate).

                                      Sorry you've had some unfortunate encounters with the few jerks out there, J_A_A

                                      1. re: WtotheN

                                        I am French, so no problem for me, but just experience looking at people asking for the "vin carte" or this kind of stuff when every Waiter knows what a wine list is...
                                        Especially when you call to book, don't try and pretend you speak French if you don't, usually people who pick up the phone speak english...