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Jun 5, 2011 07:20 PM

Paris on Bastille Day and then Quimper

We'll be in Paris (staying in Montparnasse) for a few days in July, including the 14th, and then we're off to Quimper/Benodet for a week. How does the national holiday affect dining in Paris (avalability, quality, closures, etc.) and what else do I need to know?

And any recommendations for the Quimper area?

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  1. Many restaurants will be closed, but you should still find some good quality places open - though perhaps not so much in Montparnasse, which IMO suffers a bit on the food front. Most restaurants that serve 7 days a week will be open on the 14th.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rebecca48

      we'll be dining in other areas (we have a free hotel room in Montparnasse) Are there areas that we should avoid on the 14th due to crowds, rowdiness -- and places we should seek out?

      1. re: dcbbq

        It all depends on how crowd-phobic you are. There are three main events: military parade on the Champs-Elysées from 10am on the 14th, fireworks by the Eiffel Tower from 10:30 that night, and nightlong parties at all the fire stations - usually on the 13th, although this year apparently more on the 14th because 2011 is the 200th birthday of the Paris Fire Brigade and they are to be featured in the parade. All three have people queuing up hours in advance for entry or best viewing spots, and there can be a bit of rowdiness after the fireworks. The individual arrondissements may also schedule events, e.g. parade and dance on the 13th in Montmartre. The metro will be jammed on line 1 before and after the parade and in the evening on the lines to and from the Eiffel Tower and the Place de la Bastille, where people also gather to celebrate.

        1. re: Rebecca48

          how far out are the fireworks able to be seen? we'll be there then too...staying in the 10th right past the gare du nord.

          1. re: redgirl

            Pretty far out, if you're up high enough. But you miss the full experience. In terms of pyrotechnical design and the accompanying music and what not, they're meant to be seen from the Champ de Mars, the former parade ground behind the Eiffel Tower.

    2. This is a quick, jet-lagged post-trip report. We loved staying in Montparnasse, and found some very good restaurants near the Marriott Rive Gauche, where we stayed. Restaurants within easy walking distance included Le Petit Marguery and L'Hydophobe. Both offered delicious meals and a friendly atmosphere for around 35 euros for entree plat and dessert. Farther afield - or closer in to the fluent English-speaking districts - we had a delightful lunch (entree-plat) for only about 15 euros each at l'reminet, right by the Seine and Notre Dame, and a very good lunch at Chez l'ami Jean for 45 euros, with a seat close to the kitchen where the chef put on a fascinating show. The culinary star, however, was la regalade in the 14th. Wonderful - agfain, 35 for entree plat and dessert, and good prices for wines. They had me with the amuse bouche of a large pot of pate campaigne, shared with other tables. our entrees were a fantastic pate of chicken and foie gras with a side salad topped with jamon cru, and a delicious gazpacho. Entrees were a duck breast and pot au feu, both out of this world. For dessert, an etherial grand marnier soufle and a rice pudding that was much better than the one at l'ami jean. This may have been the best meal we have had in 5 trips to Paris - certainly one of the top 5. The serivce was attentive and very friendly. For those who care, there were few if any other Americans there or in the other 13th-14th restaurants. There was a good bit of wrestling with the language barrier in identifying ingredients listed on the in some of the dishes, but it was all as friendly abd helpful as can be.
      One oddity - normally in France, restaurant portions are reasonably sized. At both l'ami jean and la regalade, the rice pudding portions were huge - more than enough for two (I'm embarrassed to admit we finished the one at la regalade - and the souffle)
      We also had very good food in Brittany - breakfast and dinner at home with fresh food from local markets, and unplanned lunches out while on excursions to various towns. I'm afraid failed to keep track of the names of restaurants. The crepes and soup de poisson were uniformly good, the seafood uniformly fresh and well-prepared.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dcbbq

        How did you do on the Fete Nationale day?

        1. re: menton1

          We had a wonderful time. After breakfast, we took the metro to a stop within walking distance fo the Arch and walked amomg the military vehicles and personnel that would be in the parade. Meanwhile, the entire French air force did low-level flyovers. It was very festive. We watched some of the parade, but more watched the people. We wandered across town and had lunch at l'reminet in the 5th. More sightseeing and then dinner at l'hydrophone. We watched the fireworks from out hotel room. The crowds were very large along the Champs, but the rest of the city was relatively quiet