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Au Bon Accueil

eatingdiva Jun 6, 2011 10:07 PM


I'm trying to choose a restaurant within walking distance of the apartment we are renting for our first night in Paris (a thursday night in September). The choices are:

Au Bon Accueil
Au Petit Sud Ouest
La Fontaine de Mars
Au Petite Tonneau

Our criteria is great traditional food/menu and classical bistro ambience - nothing too modern or contemporary for our first evening but at the same time don't want to be somewhere that is very touristy either. Can anyone steer me towards which one I should choose and why - veering towards Au Bon Accueil at this stage but hard to find many reviews on it.

Other restaurants we will be booking for our 1 week stay are: Chez Dumonet, Chez L'ami Jean and La Regalade St Honore.

A great favourite of ours from previous visits is Chez Georges on Rue du Mail - so this might give you an idea of the sort of food/ambience we are after.

Thanks in advance!

L'ami Jean
27 Rue Malar, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

La Fontaine de Mars
129 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

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  1. n
    Nancy S. RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 05:11 AM

    I was disappointed with Au Bon Accueil. I liked the atmosphere of the place, but I was not thrilled with the composition of the plates and the precision of cooking.

    1. Laidback RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 05:53 AM

      Unfortunately Ginette Boyer, the one woman band at Au Petit Tonneau passed away earlier this year, so don't expect the same "cuisine de femme".

      8 Replies
      1. re: Laidback
        mangeur RE: Laidback Jun 7, 2011 08:40 AM

        So sorry to hear this although I thought she looked tenuous on our last visit some half dozen years ago when it seemed hard for her to get around her tiny kitchen. At that time I was able to watch her cook, and taste. A bite for her, a bite for the cat and a wink for me. Sweet lady.

        1. re: Laidback
          teamfur RE: Laidback Sep 21, 2011 10:41 AM

          I am so sorry to hear of Ginette's passing. We visited her in the hospital on New Year's Day, and she as cheerful and vibrant as always. Do you have any more information, such as an obituary or date of death?

          1. re: teamfur
            Karen Mickleson RE: teamfur Mar 17, 2012 09:01 AM

            Oh, ouch. I just tried to call Ginette to tell her I was coming to France--I'll be in Brittany for a month before Paris and thought her 'home' was there (or Normandy, memory fails) and wanted to know the name of her village. She struggled with her knee for so many painful years. I loved her like a mother. If you see this, teamfur, can you tell me more about the cause of her death if you know? I'm so, so sad, though not surprised.

            1. re: Karen Mickleson
              teamfur RE: Karen Mickleson Mar 17, 2012 09:22 AM

              Karen, to my knowledge, she died of cancer. I know she had problems with her heart, but I remember her saying in December of 2009 that she had "a little touch" of cancer.

              She was a wonderful, caring lady, and I miss her very much.

              She was proud of being from Normandy, and I believe her daughter lives there.

              1. re: teamfur
                Karen Mickleson RE: teamfur Mar 17, 2012 09:49 PM

                Thanks, teamfur. After I left a message at the restaurant, I got a call from Arlette, just as I was posting the article in French linked below. Arlette apparently was a fellow tenant in the building where Ginette lived above the restaurant. She referred to the cancer as 'stomach' cancer. Oddly ironic, no? And because I, when the picture was taken above in 2000, had just been treated for esophageal cancer (hence the short hair) and was on a 6 month solo trip through Europe after being told I had 3 years to live. Go figure. Sigh.

                She said the menu was the same, clearly hoping she could carry the torch. As for New Year's Eve, I'd never been there except for afternoons when I could visit with her and watch her cook, followed by first seating for dinner. I continue to make her potatoes au gratin as she taught me. I'll go by and eat there and see Arlette. She said she'd find out from Anne Marie what you already know, that it's Normandy, not Brittany.

                Pardon my going on. She loved and was loved by so many. I also miss her very much, and my heart hurts.

                I gather you are fortunate enough to live in Paris?


                1. re: Karen Mickleson
                  teamfur RE: Karen Mickleson Mar 18, 2012 05:15 AM

                  Good morning, Karen. Thank you for the information! No, I don't live in Paris, but I have been fortunate to spend New Year's there for the past 11 years, and for all but 2 of those New Year's Eves, I have dined with Ginette.

                  I first met her as she was cleaning girolles one afternoon in the summer of 2001. My husband had died about a month and a half earlier, and I was in Paris with a friend to recover, before heading to a Choral Festival in Canterbury, England. We made reservations for dinner that evening, and it was wonderful. We were seated with a pair of priests, some Swiss photography students, all in the wonderful back alcove. We stayed for hours, enjoying the girolles, the blanquette de veau, and the ambiance.

                  We took an interesting photo of GInette, pointing the camera at the mirror, and capturing her image in the kitchen reflected in the mirror. We framed it and sent it to her, and later, gave her a calendar featuring meals we had enjoyed at her table. She displayed both the photo and calendar for many years.

                  We met Waddy, the dog, and her cat, and her brother, Robert, who served as maître d' a few times when we were there. It was he who gave us the address of the palliative care facility where she was when we saw her last. She was happy and full of life, and I'm so glad we went to see her.

                  I hope you are well, and that your cancer remains at bay,

                  Katie, and my 5 Golden Retrievers, collectively known as Team Fur.

                  1. re: teamfur
                    Karen Mickleson RE: teamfur Mar 18, 2012 09:41 AM

                    Good morning to you, Katie. What a lovely note to wake up to. Sounds like we'd get along--I was for many years a Bearded Collie person and owned two, now have two ivory rescues, a Tibetan Terrier I drove to LA (from Marin/SF) to adopt and a poodle mix. Dogs are the best people on earth, and Goldens and Beardies are the most best furries extant ;)

                    Sweet stories, Katie, and creative ideas with the photo and calendar. And yes, I remember Waddy, kitty and Robert. What a gift to have had the chance to say goodbye. Thinking of seeing her shining smile and pink cheeks makes me wish she'd passed with her chef's hat on!

                    Thanks for your well wishes, and I hope your heart is healed as well.


                    P.S. I'll have an apartment for 12 days from 30 September in the 11th (venturing out from the overly Americanized 7th), and since you're more regular there, if you had a 'short list' of restaurants in any way akin to the authenticity of Ginette's, I'd love the recommendations.

                    1. re: Karen Mickleson
                      teamfur RE: Karen Mickleson Mar 18, 2012 10:02 AM

                      Good afternoon, Karen! We still stay in the 7th at Hotel Valadon, which was owned by friends. It's been purchased by Cadran across the street. We just like the neighborhood and the easy access to the Metro.

                      When did you last eat at Ginette's? There is a new restaurant across the street, where Nuit Saint Jean used to be that's not bad. In fact, one of the waitresses from GInette's works there. L O N G story on that one :) We love Brasserie Balzar across from the Cluny. Reservations are a must, but they are open all day long and the food is quite good. Chef Phillipe at Le Petit Bordelais next door to Ginette does a very good job. There is an incredibly good restaurant, Sorza, on Île Saint Louis, right on the main street.

                      I also love Bistro de la Dôme in the 4th, across from Bofinger, which I do NOT like!

                      I don't think there will ever be another Ginette :( I wish I had the drawing from here WC that says "Water is only good for one thing."

                      My email address is teamfur@ptd.net. I think Beardies are wonderful, and yes, I think we would get along just fine. My heart is healed; I have a good friend that I travel with. Here's a link to my Paris album from this past trip. http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/c...

        2. d
          dcbbq RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 06:27 AM

          I've always had great meals at Au bon Acceuil, and it is a regular stop when we go to Paris. I;ve heard great things about Chez l'ami Jean, and am planning on dining there during my coming trip.

          8 Replies
          1. re: dcbbq
            plafield RE: dcbbq Jun 7, 2011 07:06 AM

            Au Bon Accueil changed hands a couple of years ago and while they didn't change the setting at all, the food has definitely gone downhill. La Fontaine de Mars will have its share of tourists (most of the really good bistros have been "discovered" thus will have plenty of tourists, just like you!) but is quite good.

            La Fontaine de Mars
            129 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

            1. re: plafield
              HoosierFoodie RE: plafield Jun 7, 2011 10:26 AM

              We were at Au Bon Accueil mid-May. We were they in May of 2010, too. The change has been dramatic; and not for the better. The wait staff was over-whelmed though they didn't have much of a reason to be. The wine service was bad bordering on terrible. The food was good as in passable but no where near where it was a year ago. No cheese option in stead of or in addition to dessert. Given our options in Paris this place is, officially, "off the list".

              You are better off at other places even if you have to take public transportation or a taxi to get there even though it is your first night in Paris.

              1. re: plafield
                dcbbq RE: plafield Jun 9, 2011 07:30 AM


                1. re: plafield
                  PhilD RE: plafield Jun 29, 2011 12:47 PM

                  Plafield's comment - "most of the really good bistros have been "discovered" thus will have plenty of tourists, just like you!" is but needs a bit of extra info. There are some places that target tourists (rather than simply attract tourists due to their intrinsic qualities) most are dire, a few are OK.

                  I put La Fontaine de Mars in the latter catagory, IMO it activelyy attracts tourists by making itself tourist friendly. It is a pretty safe option; it knows how to look after the first timer in Paris; it deals effortlessly with moody teenagers who don't want to try "weird foriegn food"; it does classic bistro food reasonbly well; the Obamas ate there; and it has all the cute "disney" bistro attributes including checked tablecloths.

                  Perfect for many: I disliked it enormously.

                  La Fontaine de Mars
                  129 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

                  1. re: PhilD
                    redgirl RE: PhilD Jun 29, 2011 01:03 PM

                    phild: this is my worry...too disney bistro for us. where would you recommend right near there (easy walk to le tour) that has really good comfie bistro food. appreciate your input.

                    1. re: redgirl
                      Parigi RE: redgirl Jun 29, 2011 01:21 PM

                      La Fontaine de Mars is not at all disney bistro. Locals enjoy it too. You know, the leader of the free world does not have bad taste.

                      La Fontaine de Mars
                      129 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

                      1. re: Parigi
                        PhilD RE: Parigi Jun 29, 2011 02:27 PM

                        Not a comment on the Presidents taste. But there are lots of tourists who may head there because he did. My guess is it was chosen because it is the "classic bistro" so played well into the media positioning - "the Obama's visit a neighbourhood Parisian bistro just like regular Joe and Nancy from Des Moines".

                        1. re: PhilD
                          redgirl RE: PhilD Jun 29, 2011 05:05 PM

                          so phild: i ask you - specifically - because your comment touched an instinct for me - where would you recommend - same general area (we can walk after dinner...so a bit further is ok...the plan being to walk under the eiffel tower and then onto the trocadero). solid bistro food not so fancied up -
                          last visit we had a lovely confit at le florimond but then we're in the wrong location - walking from trocadero over to the eiffel. for many reasons i want it to go the other way. please post...i'm very interested in recs.

              2. Delucacheesemonger RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 10:53 AM

                How about Auberge Bressane, same area and l liked very much, best tripe in years. ABC did not impress me, was there last year,too late for the real party

                1. e
                  eatingdiva RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 08:02 PM

                  Thank you all for your input. ABC has been crossed off the list and given your comments I'm so happy that I asked the question!!!

                  That's so sad about Madame Boyer - I've heard many stories about her wonderful personality and energy. Given her passing I think Au Petit Tonneau will also be somewhere that we won't try quite yet.

                  Plafield you make a very valid point re tourists and that we are in fact tourists ourselves so perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to disparage. I guess we're all looking for that hidden gem that only the locals know about but in these hi tech times that's close to impossible.

                  I'll look into Auberge Bressane, Delucacheesemonger - thanks for the advice. Failing that, am I going to be disappointed with La Fontaine de Mars?

                  La Fontaine de Mars
                  129 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, Île-de-France 75007, FR

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: eatingdiva
                    DaTulip RE: eatingdiva Jun 7, 2011 08:44 PM

                    FDM has a nice setting, good food (not over the top, but worth the stop if you're in the area) and solid, helpful service. Unless you're used to only Michelin stared restos, I think you'll enjoy it. We simetimes dio when we're in town.

                    1. re: eatingdiva
                      teamfur RE: eatingdiva Sep 21, 2011 10:45 AM

                      The chef on New Year's Eve was dreadful. I certainly hope a new, capable chef takes over, but so much of the charm of Au Petit Tonneau was Ginette. I have dined with her for almost 11 years. She was a dear friend, and I will miss her tremendously

                      1. re: teamfur
                        Karen Mickleson RE: teamfur Mar 17, 2012 09:12 AM

                        Here is a link to an article describing the new chef (complete with food pics), which is unfortunately for me, in French, as I speak it far better than I can read it. If anyone can summarize, appreciated.


                        1. re: Karen Mickleson
                          teamfur RE: Karen Mickleson Mar 17, 2012 10:31 AM

                          Karen, the article explains that Ginette sold the restaurant to a former patron, Arlette, who hired a young chef, Mimoun Jaïs. The menu appears to be very similar to Ginette's, and the author waxes poetic about the blanquette de veau, the lentils with crayfish, the kidneys in madeira sauce, and the duck in honey sauce.

                          Also praised are the tarte tatin and the chocolate mousse.

                          In short, they are carrying on the tradition established by Ginette 30 years ago.

                          Their prices for New Year's Eve dinner, though, were very high, so we opted to go somewhere else, breaking a tradition for us.

                    2. b
                      barmike RE: eatingdiva Jun 28, 2011 09:39 PM

                      Ate at Chez Dumonet Feb 2011 and it was wonderful. Great ambiance, great cooking and friendly
                      efficient waiters. Not a fan of Chez L'Ami Jean very uncomfortable, crowded, loud and mediocre food. Like Petit Marguery great bargain, ambience and good food.

                      1. h
                        HoosierFoodie RE: eatingdiva Sep 21, 2011 12:37 PM

                        We went to Au Bon Accueil two years ago and again this past May. Before our visit in May I would have absolutely recommended it. After our visit in May-no way. The food was acceptable and barely that. The service, top to bottom, was marginal at best. The staff didn't seem to have a clue as to timing, wine service, etc... Our visit to Loved Chez Ami Jean. Yes, its noisy and the staff abrupt (mostly an act or at least it seemed to us) but the food itself was outstanding. It is on our "go again" list for next year. Au Bon Accueil is decidedly not.

                        1. b
                          barmike RE: eatingdiva Mar 17, 2012 09:53 AM

                          La Fontaine de Mars is quite touristy. Not a big fan of Regelade but LOVED Regalade St Honore.

                          Didn't like L'ami Jean at all. Too noisy, crowded and the food so/so.

                          Love Chez Josephine 2 good meals in the past 2 years.

                          Like Au Petite Marguray a bistro that began as a chain of bistros in the early 20th century now its the only one that has survived. Was owned by the same family since its begining until about 5 yrs ago when it was sold but the new owners have carried on without any perceptable change.

                          35 euro price fixed may include foie gras or oysters and a dessert of a hot grand marnier souffle.

                          Great ambience and waitesr who look like they came from central casting.

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