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Lunch Near the Louvre

We are spending a few days in Paris in September and trying to get a head start on our plan. We plan to spend one day visiting the Louvre and I am looking for a place to enjoy lunch that day in the middle of our tour of the museum. I know there is a cafe in the museum but I have a feeling there are probably better choices in the area for lunch.

I am considering Restaurant Du Palais-Royal. Any thoughts about that choice? Or are there other recommendations I should consider instead?

Price is of course a consideration but not my primary concern and we are willing to spend a little more to enjoy the right place. I'm more interested in finding a relaxing and casual place to enjoy good food, service and atmosphere. Any recommendations anyone can share would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. i'd say walk a bit away from the museum to get from the crowd...

    Go toward the Halles and rue montmartre; and head for the "Cochon à l'Oreille" (cheap and very pitoresque)

    Or for a something different (a bit more expensive because of the wine), you could try the small counter inside "Legrand et Filles" ( Rue de la Banque) for small plates of paté and stuff like that (all cold plates).


    1. If you just want to take a break from art for an hour or so, you could do worse than exiting through the Port des Leons, crossing the Pont Royal and having lunch at La Frégate. In just such a situation, I enjoyed a fine, simple lunch with my daughter-in-law, lovely timely but not rushed service. Tab around 25€ for the two of us: 2 salads, 2 glasses wine, coffee. Great people watching in the bargain.

      1. You might enjoy the bar menu at the Meurice, expensive, but meets all your requirements. Then there is L'Ardoise, Chez Flottes and a bunch of others in the Place du March St. Honore.

          1. re: Nancy S.

            I've read many wonderful things about Spring but worried about rushing what I understand to be such a wonderful experience over lunch. Any ideas how long it takes to lunch at Spring? And is Spring fixed menu only at lunch or can you pick and choose what one would like a la carte?

            Sorry for what are probably quite the neophite questions - but this trip will be my first to Europe and I'm trying to figure things out and I am admitedly quite a planner (even on vacation).

            1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

              From your original post I understand that this lunch will be a respite between two sessions at the Louvre. Spring should certainly stand on its own as a destination lunch, although you might consider a picnic from its boutique at the end of the block on your Louvre day.

              Neophyte or not, you are quite wise to anticipate conflicts of interest between sightseeing and food. Neither should be slighted.

              1. re: mangeur

                IMO, picnic between museums "sessions" can be difficult if not familiar with the city and the neightbourhood.

                You don't want to waste time to find what you want to eat or have to carry everything with you during your museum visit.

          2. A short walk away in the Palais Royale area is Maceo. Reasonably priced wines; nice bar area and when we were there in early June a wonderful all vegetable menu. My memory is the lunch menu was around 35 E.

            1. You could try "Cafe Marly" which is reasonable (is it still Costes Bros?) and very convenient as it overlooks the pyramid. The cafés in the Louvre itself are not too bad and offer a variety of options. Given the scale of the place and long treks too and from entrances eating in the museum can make sense, the alternative is to split the visit over two mornings to reduce culture fatigue.

              5 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                I second the Café Marly in spite of its belonging to Costes, it is actually one of the nicest setting they manage if not the nicest by far.

                The food is quite correct though not very personal but see, you'll be right in the midst of your Louvre day and I believe it is good in this case to concentrate on the Louvre which requires a generous amount of attention and thinking, and not scrape your brains about finding a place to eat. I wouldn't spend more of that attention and grey matter on food, for a meal at Spring or at any other significant restaurant is the equivalent of a visit to the Louvre in terms of mental activity.

                So I would either head for the Café Marly which is a decent, beautiful place; or for the Louvre cafeterias which aren't bad and a fun social experience; or one of the Japanese holes-in-the-wall bento/noodle places on rue Sainte-Anne which are of good quality in general. And concentrate on doing what I'm doing, which would be visiting the Louvre. Don't miss Girodet's "Déluge", the Ingres, the Poussins and the école de Fontainebleau while everybody else will be staring at Monna Lisa.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  I forgot about Cafe Marly, and agree it's a better choice over Spring for a "Louvre" day. As an aside, I also like Le Fumoir, which is nearby, which may be good for a drink after the museum.

                  1. re: Nancy S.

                    My concern with Cafe Marly was the numerous reports of insulting service. However, there is no proof that this wasn't self-inflicted by the diners. In most of these, there was no complaint with the food.

                    1. re: Nancy S.

                      Thank you all for your consideration and very helpful suggestions and Happy New Year.

                      If we decide that we are looking for a lunch respite between a morning and afternoon at the Lourve as I was originally considering, I think we will try either Cafe Marly or Maceo.

                      If instead we decide one long morning enjoying the Louvre is all we want to devote on this visit, then I am inclined to try and get a reservation for a leisurely lunch at Spring afterwards. I assume we could spend all five days in the Louvre if we wanted and still not see it all - but I want to make sure we balance between all the wonder that Paris offers but not forgetting to have a vacation.

                      But I welcome any additional suggestions anyone might have about that plan.

                      On a side note, how far in advance of a September visit should I start making all of my trip's restaurant reservations?

                      1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

                        If you go there before 12:30 there is a very nice little trattoria on rue Saint-Honoré, not far from the East exit of the Louvre (Cour Carrée). It is called Procopio Angelo and you should just drop by, don't book. Ravioli with ricotta, fresh tomato sauce and chives is a must.

                2. If you're looking for lunch between "sessions" at the Louvre, just beyond the Palais Royale is Willi's Wine Bar, a casual place with excellent food and great wines by the glass. Price is friendly, too, and you won't feel as though you must spend the whole afternoon lunching.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ChefJune

                    all the other suggestions seemed to be around 30 / euro per person for lunch at the museum that i have read...willi's doesnt seem to have a menu online...we would just be looking for something casual and not overly expensive hopefully 10-15e per person not counting drinks - and then getting back into the museum as it will be an all day thing...would that fit the bill?

                    i dont want to go to cafe marley because of the horrible reviews - everything else recommended seems a bit more upscale than we want to be - we are doing le cinq for lunch

                    or are we better off just sitting at the food court at the louvre - i thought getting outside and out of the museum would be a good break though

                    1. re: Dapuma

                      If you want cheap and convenient eat in one of the cafes in the museum (not the food court in the Louvre shopping centre). For better food you need to spend more in that area in order to avoid tourist traps, or travel a bit further - hopping over the river to the 6eme would be the best bet. But if I had a big dinner planned a Louvre cafe would be fine.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        ok thanks i think we will stick to the cafe then unless we are dying to get out of there...but i doubt i will be heh

                        if not willie or Isse sound good - lighter the better because we are going to go for the gusto at le cinq :)

                      2. re: Dapuma

                        For 10-15e per person in the neighborhood I would head rue Sainte-Anne or rue de Richelieu for Japanese food without hesitation. Issé just opened a saké bar for instance, on 45, rue de Richelieu (I know because Pti took me there) and they have excellent bowls of rice with fish or meat for 12-15€. And there's no obligation to drink sake for lunch, apparently.

                      3. re: ChefJune

                        The prix-fixe lunch at Willi's is 25 Euros, quite reasonable.

                      4. If you like oysters and other shellfish, "L'Ecume" on rue du Marche Saint Honore can't be beat.

                        1. Three blocks direction back up Rivoli is Chez Denise on Rue Prouvaire, works for me.

                          1. Please, please, please, don't go to Café Marly ! I went there with my youngest daughter last year after a Louvre visit (she wanted to see the egyptian mummies) and it was the worst service I ever had in my life ! The food was very expensive for what you get. The waiter was such a cliché of the rude and arrogant Parisian waiter that it was almost funny- I said almost. My daughter (who is only 7 ) could not believe we were so badly treated.
                            Notes to myself : never let anyone I love go to that awful place !
                            There is a food court inside the carrousel du Louvre, where you can choose from about 10 types of food (lebanese,japanese, chinese, moroccan,...). Quality is comparable to the food courts you have in your malls in the USA, so expect crowd and just OK food, but it will be better (and less expensive) than Café Marly.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Foodie Froggy

                              Will there big a big traffic volume difference between going on a sunday vs a monday for the Louvre in terms of being able to see exhibits - probably a poor question but so much seems to be closed sunday's in europe figured it might be worth asking

                              Going to spend a day there and will have full days to explore on sunday and monday

                              1. re: Dapuma

                                If you plan to visit many museums during your holiday in Paris, it may make sense to buy a museum card (see www.parispass.com) One great benefit is that you will be able to bypass the lines -- this is especially important for Le Louvre and Muse d'Orsay.

                                1. re: Nancy S.

                                  already did that, so no worries there...just was wondering if it made a huge difference if we went to the Louvre on a Sunday vs a Monday...if not the current plan is to go on Sunday

                                  1. re: Dapuma

                                    In my opinion, Monday will be "quieter" at the Louvre than Sunday, but at the Louvre's greatest hits, it will be mobbed both days. It's amazing how the museum can seem crazily crowded at the postcard sights but near deserted at so many other (equally, if not more -- in my opinion) fabulous areas.

                                    1. re: Nancy S.

                                      The best time to "do" the Louvre is Wednesday and Friday evenings when they open late. There is no one around. You can walk up to the Infanta, the Wings of Victory, walk around the Hermaphrodite (and obligatorily giggle), any of the Greek statues, and it's all deserted around you.

                            2. When in Paris, my "Louvre Day" is always a Wednesday, les crowded in general and particularly in the evenings. I start with a simple breakfast at the hotel. I spend the morning in the less crowded sections of the museum. I have lunch at the cafe in the Louvre (go early to get a seat). Simple, Relatively inexpensive. Ok food. Then I take a longer break and have "tea" at Cafe Angelina. I have an ulterior motive--their hot chocolate and their "Mont Blanc" are to die for. Refueled, I spend the early evening in the more crowded parts of the musee. Finish up the day at a souffle place not too far away whose name I forget. It is probably somewhat of a touristy place but their souffles are the best I have ever had.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wrldtrvl

                                Actually, Le Souffle, on Mont Thabor, is not all that touristy and prices are reasonable. The three souffle prix-fixe is only for the very hungry, but will be memorable.

                              2. I'm digging up this old thread because I had a meal today at a genuine, real, snap-back-your-head bistro, the Bistrot Valois on the street and place of the same name, a half-block from the Louvre, that was, as the French say "pas mal," or Yankees, "Awwwright."
                                Now across the Place is Le Lulli, which I wrote up a month ago or so, which is haute and very good and next door is the tres, tres, tres trendy Balm (which I just scoped out today but will go to, I promise, despite Rubin's bad review because Figaro's readers love it).
                                So, anyway, get to the point Grandpa, one has at least 2 or maybe 3 places to eat at near the Louvre without throwing oneself on the mercies of the food court.