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Aug 23, 2011 01:49 PM

Grand old Cafes outside of Paris

Love the atmosphere of the old Grand, Belle Epoque cafes in France, but much dislike the prices and poor food choice/quality of some of the ones in Paris.

Wondering if there are any that I'm not yet aware of that are worth visiting around the country.

Looking for the likes of places like Meert in Lille, La Couronne in Rouen, Le Cigale in Nantes or Au Pere Louis in Toulouse (and for that matter Cafe Majestic in Porto) We ate at Le Florida in Toulouse as well, but the quality wasn't quite there. That said, I'd much rather go back there than be gouged by, say, Les Deux Magots again.

Thinking about a trip to the Alsace area in the near future, but also considering Tours or Troyes.


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  1. This posts reminds me of a great time talking (as best we all could) with local diners at the long communal table in the front room of "Le Cigale" in Nantes. And it also triggers my own similar question about another specific grand old place outside Paris: We've recently heard good things about "Brasserie Flo l'Exelsior" in Nancy -- and from all accounts it's a beautiful room -- but is the dining good there? -- Jake

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jake Dear

      It looks gorgeous. I'd love to make it a day trip from Strasbourg if the food's good. This is what I LOVE about visiting Madrid. They have this stuff by the ton, with good prices and great food. Still have to visit Vienna for the same reason, actually. Thanks for that lead!

      According to the reviews on Tripadvisor, the breakfast and tea are good, but skip dinner.

    2. Brasserie Georges in Lyon looks like a good bet as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: currycue

        When I was at Brasserie Georges a few years ago, it was just okay. Although the decor was worth seeing.

      2. I wouldn't put Au Père Louis in this category (it's an OK place, but not a grand café). Next time you're in Toulouse, check out the newly-reopened Bibent. You will dislike the prices, but the food is good.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DeppityDawg

          Oh Le Bibent! it was still under construction when we passed through. I agree, Au Pere Louis was not grand, but I really loved that it was nostalgic, but not ruined.

          1. re: DeppityDawg

            If the food is good I will pay. What I hate is the modern tendency to pay extra for presentation with no substance.