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Mar 8, 2012 06:07 PM

Enough for a year, help me fine tune it to a two-week trip!

Hello hounds -

If I could beg more of your help in fine-tuning my list, I would be most appreciative! I have 16 days in which to experience Paris - the first time I was there for two days with my husband and 4 year old, and I swore then I was coming back alone. I will be gloriously, blissfully alone for the duration. I have done copious research, and based my choices on the following criteria (in no particular order):

-location (I will be staying in the apparently chow-dreamy 10th, heading out to museum/landmark destinations
-comfortable for me dining solo (au comptoir, or MFK Fisher style-with a book tucked into a “bad” table - I may not be the best candidate for communal/convivial dining this trip)
-budget (reluctant to give amounts, just can’t spend my kiddo’s college fund, and that certainly seems possible...)
-my interest in trying some of the latest and greatest chowhound fave raves
-my desire to try classic/traditional French bistro fare including steak tartare, duck confit, salad lyonnaise, boeuf bourguignon, boudin noir/blanc, oeuf mayonaise, harengs pomme al’huile, choucroute , and any other you may recommend - I realize many of these are recommended at Josephine, Denise and Louis, but those did not make my list this time.
-my quest for deliciousness, wherever I go

Besides that, I am also planning to seek out North African and Turkish eats, as well as charcuterie, cheese and traiteur items for some meals. Oysters too, although the same criteria applies. I cannot WAIT to scour the Marche St. Quentin, and may even cook for myself a couple of times....whether or not I make a stock remains to be seen....I have only 16 days!

So, if you would, sil vous plait, vet my list of restos, and mention if one place in particular does one thing on my list of dishes particularly well...? Let me know of a hidden gem I for one of the specialties I crave? Then I can indulge in yet another round of delirious pre-vacation chowdreaming, and begin practicing my reservation-making French phrases... If I have mischaracterized a place, please do let me know.

Trad bistro
Au Dernier Metro (I have been obsessing over this place for three years)
Chez Nenesse
Chez Casimir (walking distance for me - probably try to go for my first night in Paris!)
Cafe des Musees
La Rotonde - (tartare)
Au Crus de Bourgogne - “good” boeuf bourgignon, old place

New bistro
Vivant (when I delved in deeper, it wasn’t just Jancou’s dreamy eyes and tattoos...!)
Les Papilles
Chez Marie Louise (kidneys and orecchiete?)
Le Reminet
Les Fines Gueules (tartare...???)

Wine Bars
Le Rubis (on the oeuf mayonaise list from Le Figaro)
Autour d'un Verre
Le Baron Rouge (peer pressure! I may not make this one....)

North African
Chez Hamadi
Wally Le Zaharien
Gepetto (I think Ptipois mentions this, and it is really hard to find on the internet...any thoughts?)
Couscous guy in St. Quentin

Urfa Dukur

Le Pot O’Lait

Pleine Mer
Someplace that serves Gillardeau oysters??? I read a post that I cannot put my hands on now...I think it was near the Sacre Coeur - near or on Parnassien's recommended street of good food feng shui that I deleted since finding the Rue de Petite Ecuries was close to my apartment.

Clearly, I could eat well, and relatively cheaply, for a few months with this list. Also, I will be leaving things a little bit loose - so just helping me prioritize and focus will be most appreciated. And, I promise to report back.

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  1. Urfa Dukur should be Urfa Dürüm.

    The only place I know on Butte Montmartre that has Gillardeau is the café La Mascotte on rue des Martyrs.

    The street with the best food fengshui was a thread I started at the "Pars By Mouth" site, in which I elected rue des Petites Ecuries.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Urfa Dürüm! Thanks...I had mistakenly thought that I had committed it correctly to memory...I'm getting there...

      La Mascotte is indeed the place I was thinking of - thanks again!

      Yes, I think I was unclear. Parnassien had recommended, in another thread, a street with good, reasonable food choices. I deleted that from my google map, when I read your thread on the rue des Petites Ecuries - since that is walking distance from my house! I also deleted La Mascotte, because Pleine Mer is around the corner. Having been revitalized about seeking oysters, I wanted to pin point La Mascotte....and I think the street I was thinking of was Rue Poteau...I'm going to search on that next.

      I also forgot to put in Dans les Landes - that looks amazing, and is high on the list, as of recently.

      On another note - you had mentioned lunch at the Musée Jacquemart André ... the carte looks lovely, and lovely surroundings - would you recommend this, or should I seek a more chowhoundy option that day?

      1. re: saticoy

        "Musée Jacquemart André"
        I think it's great to lunch there, for the art, for the atmosphere. The food is not bad, it's just not destination food.

        1. re: Parigi

          Noted. Might fit the bill on a low energy day!

          I searched and found Parnassien's rec for Rue Poteau - its in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816245 .

        2. re: saticoy

          Re rue du Poteau. Oops, a little confusion here. It's a market street recommended to another poster simply because it was close to his rental on the north side of the Butte Montmartre. It is NOT necessarily a destination for anyone living/ staying in another quartier and it is NOT one of the streets with good restaurant karma. The shops are great... the restaurants, not so great.

          Every quartier populaire has a market street/ rue commerçante where there is a convenient and often very large cluster of food shops/ street stalls/ cafés/ etc for daily shopping (from early morning to noon or so and then 4pm to 7 or later). Most are very similar in the quality and mix of shops and so really no need to make a special visit to another one outside your own neighbourhood. Shopping at your local rue commerçante is usually supplemented by a visit to the nearest street market/ marché volant on the days it is open. Lots of people actually make a visit to a marché volant in another quartier on days when their local one is not operating and if there is a direct métro or bus line to make schlepping around with your shopping practical.

          But for you near métro Poissonnière, it's a bit different. Your side of 10th especially is quite hodgepodgy without the clear distinction between commercial and residential that you get in the outer arrondissements. There are lots of streets with clusters of shops but, other than the rue Cadet and rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, I can't think of a street in your immediate neighbourhood that strikes me as the sort of traditional rue commerçante found elsewhere in Paris. (But I'm a Left Bank guy and not really all that familiar with daily life in your part of the 9th and 10th). The rue des Martyrs in the 9th is fab but maybe just a tad too long a walk to make it convenient. Well, at least for an américaine. :) In any case the Marché Saint-Quentin open every day except Mondays serves the functions of both a rue commerçante and marché volant for locals in that particular patch of Paris.

          The grand-daddy of rues commerçantes is the rue Montorgueil (google "Montorgueil Monet" to get a sense of its history) from the Saint-Eustache church to (roughly) the rue Réamur in the 2nd. There's also a smallish street market/ marché volant next to the very historic Eglise Saint-Eustache (which also has occasional concerts and, I seem to remember, an around-the-clock classical music festival for a few days in June) on Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning but kinda new-ish so still only a handful of stalls. Unfortunately, getting to and from rue Montorgueil or most other rues commercantes outside of your quartier is kinda difficult if you plan on doing any shopping. Changing métro lines or walking from the Gare du Nord or Gare de l'Est will be no fun at all if you are burdened with shopping bags.

          From Poissonnière, the only other market street or street market that doesn't need a line change to get to is the rue Mouffetard (rue commerçante) and place Monge (marché volant on Wed, Fri and Sun mornings). The usually infallible Parigi doesn't rate the Marché Monge very highly... but I do. Ultra-charming, almost villagey setting and excellent quality. You will often see the same vendors on other market days at the very good Marché Maubert in the 5th or the very upmarket (and also very picturesque) Marché Saxe-Breteuil in the 7th. And very near to the much recommended Dans les Landes wine bar for some basque/ landais tapas. Mmmmm-mmmm. Incidentally, I noticed in the other thread that you were interested in the Marché Grenelle. If you are in the Eiffel Tower browsing mode, a better bet is the Marché Président Wilson from the place de l'Alma to the place d'Iéna on Wednesday and Saturday. And there is a direct bus route (#42) from Poissonnière (stop 2 mins away on the rue Maubeuge and, on the way back, the #42 will let you off right next to Poissonnière métro).

          1. re: Parnassien

            Bonsoir Parnassien! Or bonjour if you read this in the morning. Anyhow, this post made my evening a good one.

            Re rue du Poteau - I don’t think I am confused! My chow interests in Paris are not confined to restaurants. A Parisien hound who deemed this street full of good shops was enough to put it on my list, particularly if combined with a visit up towards Sacre Coeur. Perhaps not to buy bags full (only a two week trip....grrrrrr), instead perhaps to see, smell, and think....and perhaps find that one delight unseen before, that matches a craving....for this reason, the rue des Martyrs is now on the list... .. and ohhhhh....for a history prof with a food obsession, I think the rue Montorgueil will overtake the Cluny as a destination point!

            Also should mention that I very much appreciate a local perspective. I do want a taste or two of the “best” things, but more, I want to taste Paris. Next time, from the Left Bank!

            Parigi helped me identify that rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis would be my rue commerçante,(merci for the terminology) and I am already having nightly dreams about the Marché St. Quentin. Unlucky in researching how to cook a Coucou des Rennes, but hope springs eternal!

            Dans les Landes...obsessing...Marché Monge on the list - I was in Le Puy en Velay and despite taking some hard guff for being un touriste, their market was wonderful...

            I love the rec for the marche President Wilson - but I may let most of western Paris slip by this time, and concentrate on the central/eastern sides. Unless a muse inspires me in a different direction... (I used to ride the 6 Parnassus bus in SF to get to an exceptional bakery)

            So Parnassien (and anyone else!), where can I get an exceptional omelette? I tried to make one tonight...and wound up with decent soft scrambled eggs aux fines herbes....

            1. re: saticoy

              Asking where to get a good omelette in Paris is like asking where to find sand in the Sahara. Everywhere! Well, almost. But omelettes are something we French do better than anyone else... assuming that you don't have this american paranoia about runny centres. And actually one of my ideas of heaven (I have many ideas about what is heaven) is noshing on an omelette nature et frites on the terrace of the Café de Flore on the boulevard Saint Germain or the Café Select on the boulevard Montparnasse. Somehow great people-watching and a dash of chic makes these simple meals so much more tasty.

            2. re: Parnassien

              "The rue des Martyrs in the 9th is fab but maybe just a tad too long a walk to make it convenient. Well, at least for an américaine. :) In any case the Marché Saint-Quentin open every day except Mondays serves the functions of both a rue commerçante and marché volant for locals in that particular patch of Paris."

              I actually live at the bottom of rue des Martyrs but hands down I find the food shops on Marché Saint Quentin superior. I prefer to take the longer walk to the marché SQ and the rue Fbg St Denis area twice a week, and only patronize rue des Martyrs for last-minute stuff that I had forgotten.

              Besides, the three intriguing streets make the walk not boring at all:
              - rue des Petites Ecuries, with all the nice restaurants, from the hippest (Vivant, L'Office) to the most sought-after immigrant joints (Oslem);
              - rue du Paradis, for discount porcelains and crystals shops;
              - rue de Chabrol, for the wonderful Loire vintner's Des Vigne En Ville and for oysters Pleine Mer;
              - plus Burrata from la Coopérativa Latte Cisternino somewhere in between.

              1. re: Parigi

                Parigi - I trust completely that between the Marché Saint Quentin and the rue Fbg St Denis will serve my needs, and very, very well! What luck that I picked a place so close. I am looking forward to exploring as much of Paris as possible, including food streets and markets, with the newest addition of rue du Paradis! I already had the rest of the list above on my map (burrata Thursdays, right?), and I thought you might get a giggle out of the fact that when my 7 year old was acting silly yesterday, I called him a Coucou de Rennes.... I'm going to the Home Cooking board right now to get some help on this one!

                I'm grateful for the pointer towards rue Montorgueil - it had eluded me to this point, and now after reading David Lebovitz' write up of the street, I am going to seek it out...the oyster monument (and story of how they were first imported to Paris from Brittany) sealed the deal.

                1. re: saticoy

                  "when my 7 year old was acting silly yesterday, I called him a Coucou de Rennes"

                  Wait, who did you say was silly?

                  I had also pointed out rue Montorgueil to you. You're going coucou de Rennes, woman !

                  See your own thread:
                  "If you continue to walk south on rue Fbg Poissonnière and rue Poissonnière, in no time the street turns into another good market, rue Montorgueil. It is more posh in atmosphere, - for heavens sake QE2 had her walkabout there, - but not higher quality than St Quentin-rue Fbg St Denis. There are at least 3 more boulangeries for you to try."

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Yes, gone coucou - I am overwhelmed with information and wishing I was moving there for a year instead of just two weeks. I don't think I completely understood the difference between market streets and markets, and I thought I had enough markets on my list (Aligre, Grenelle, St. Quentin) - so now, rue Montorgueil is on the list, along with rue Mouffetard, and rue Fbg St Denis...rue du Poteau if I happen to be in the area . Merci merci merci for continuing to point me in the right directions!

                  1. re: Parigi

                    I think it's admirable that saticoy doesn't want to get stuck in a neighbourhood routine and wants to sample more than one or two options. She wants to celebrate Paris and not just one small and gritty but colourful patch of it.

                2. re: saticoy

                  People tend to poo-poo the restaurants in Montmartre but you simply cannot beat the prices - we had good meals at Cafe Poulbot, Chez Marie, Villa des Abbesses and we really thought that the food at Relais de Montmartre was outstanding. Also the food is very good at la Moulin de la Galette.

                3. re: Parigi

                  "Pars by Mouth" should be "Paris by Mouth".

                4. Oysters. Hmmm, Parisens are very finicky about their oysters and so good ones are pretty ubiquitous. I wouldn't necessarily focus on any one place as THE destination. And don't get too fixed on Gillardeau. Good, yes... but some other Marennes-Oléron oysters are almost identical and more widely available. Gillardeau has certainly raised oyster cultivation standards and others have followed.

                  Oysters are often standard brasserie fare. Even though I would be very careful in choosing most things at a brasserie I wouldn't hesitate to have a plate of oysters at any of them. But look before you buy. In the inner arrondissements, Le Grand Colbert (pretty sure they serve Gillardeau) on the rue Vivienne near the Palais Royal, Brasserie Flottes on the rue Cambon off the rue de Rivoli, Au Pied de Cochon in Les Halles, Bofinger off the place Bastille, Le Petit Zinc on the rue Saint Benoit off the blvd Saint-Germain, le Grand Cafe on the boulevard des Capucines near l'Opéra, etc etc. Further out, Wepler on the Place Clichy, Rech on the place des Ternes, La Rotonde and Le Dôme and La Coupole in Montparnasse, and many many more. And of course the oyster/ fruit de mer restos like the surprisingly good Bar à Huîtres chain (rue Saint Jacques in the 5th, boulevard Montparnasse/ blvd Raspail in the 14th, and boulevard Beaumarchais near the place Bastille), l'Ecaille Fontaine on the place Gaillon in the 2nd, Goumard near the Gare Saint-Lazare, Pleine Mer in the 9th, Huîtrerie Régis in the 6th, the Cabane à Huîtres in the 15th, and l'Ecaille du Bistro in the 12th. Budget-wise, la Pleine Mer and Cabane à Huîtres are the best value.

                  And yes... Parigi is right. The Montmartre restaurant is La Mascotte on the rue des Abbesses near the rue Lepic. They now have a separate raw bar annex but you can get the oysters and/or fruit de mer in the front bar (occasionally, music including, gulp, a guy on the accordion and some toutoune pretending she is Juliette Greco) or the rear dining room as well.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Parnassien

                    " some toutoune pretending she is Juliette Greco"

                    Il me manque que ça.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      dommage... it would have brought tears to your eyes :)

                      and oops, having used "toutoune" in the québécois sense (referring to another saticoy thread), I'm feeling guilt-ridden and Rush Limbaughesque ... let's just say "sultry chanteuse" instead

                    2. re: Parnassien

                      Thanks for this! We should cross reference this post to the one titled "Mapping oysters" or something like that. I'm going to make a google map of these. Very good to know that it is a fairly safe bet to grab some oysters at a brasserie. I have La Rotonde on the list, now for oysters as well as tartare. Merci beaucoup for this terrific information!

                      1. re: saticoy

                        I've been a student of this thread, and it has highlighted more than I can possibly explore during my brief stay.

                        Please do add a link to your google map to the "mapping out the Paris oysters" thread,

                        And if you complete it by this Thursday when I arrive in Paris, even better. :)

                        (P.S. I've tucked a bottle of Stubb's barbecue sauce in my suitcase for my American ex-pat host in Paris.)

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Melanie Wong, as I live and breathe. One Paris oyster map coming up - the least I can do after all your hounding has done for me!

                          I hope they love that sauce - I've been loving it since the only place you could get it was a tiny store in Austin called Lubbock or Leave It....

                          I cannot wait to read what you taste on your trip!

                        2. re: saticoy

                          Here is the thread with my google map of oysters in Paris....and still...I have yet to taste one.....come on June!


                          1. re: saticoy

                            Saticoy, are you only mapping oyster "bars?" or restos where delicious oysters are served? La Cagouille is not an oyster bar, but IIWY, I would plan a meal there. It's at 10 Place Constantin Brancusi 75014; ph 01 43 22 09 01

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              ChefJune, would you be up for trying to see if you can edit the google map? I think there is a cross section in there - Parnassien mentions oyster places, and then a string of fruits de mer places. Without first hand knowledge, my comments on the map are limited at best. Can you see if you can add that one? If not, I will be happy to do so!

                              Here is the link to the mapping oysters thread -


                        3. re: Parnassien

                          Why is Goumard on your list? When I went, admittedly years ago, 6 oysters cost over 30 euro, they were poorly shucked (somewhat dry, lots of shell and sand), and the service was below average.

                        4. Trad bistros.
                          Very good selection. But one caveat: Au Dernier Métro doubles as a sort of sports bar and can be pretty raucus, especially on Saturday nights. Luckily for you, no rugby in June so the, um, celebratory level will be much reduced when you are there. But still, I'd avoid Saturday nights.
                          I would also add Parisjo's fave Au Vieux Comptoir on the rue Lavandiëres Sainte-Opportune in the 1st. Sweet place.

                          New Bistro.
                          Le Reminet. Maybe.

                          Wine Bars.
                          I'm not a fan of Le Baron Rouge but I do understand its appeal for tourists/ expats. It's most fun on Sundays but it's also unbearably crowded. Standing room only. If I were a single traveller, I think I might feel distinctly uncomfortable. And, even though it's mentioned in every guide book on the planet, it's not as if it's the only wine bar in Paris. If you are considering it for a post-market pitstop after the Marché d'Aligre, maybe not the wisest choice. A snack and a coffee on the very relaxing terrace of le Square Trousseau on the rue Antoine Vollon would be my antidote to Aligre's marché madness.
                          An addition: Café de la Nouvelle Mairie near the Panthéon. Lovely crowd. But closed on Sunday. Other Latin Quarter recs: Le Rostand café on the place Edmond Rostand/ rue Médicis across from the Luxembourg gardens; Les Pipos on the rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique with a multi-generational clientele and a usually delightful (but sometimes very gruff) owner who enjoys a good flirt with, um, unattended ladies; A Loghja on the rue Montagne Sainte-Geneviéve near Saint-Etienne church, a cool and relaxing Sardinian épicerie-wine bar.

                          North African
                          Add Chez Omar on the rue Bretagne in the Haut-Marais.
                          And wherever you go, try bstilla/ pastilla. (there's no standard transliteration from Arabic). Pigeon or chicken "pie". Yummy!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Parnassien

                            Ohhhhh- thank you so much for this post! Good to know when to avoid Au Dernier Metro, and honestly, now that I am digging in so deeply to other trad bistro, perhaps this one is best saved for a trip with my family. Still, after my obsession, it will be hard to contemplate coming to Paris and not going there.

                            Au Vieux Comptoir - will research more!

                            Marché madness! I keep going back and forth about Aligre and LBR. The report will show whether I ultimately decided on it or not. One thing about LBR is I really don't hear alot about the food there, and my quest for deliciousness is the driving force of my food decisions. Not that I think it won't be great, but is there something there that I cannot taste elsewhere?

                            Sardinian wine bar? I'm all over that!

                            Bstilla - is this the flaky pie with sugar on it, but a savory fowl-centered inside? Thanks for the tip - I'm going to add Ches Omar and bstilla. I'm dying for couscous and merguez.

                            Le Reminet is another one that goes off and on the list. Why "maybe?"

                            Thanks for the other recs too - more chowdreaming for me!

                            1. re: saticoy

                              North African: Fan of Chez Omar

                          2. Hi there! I've been to Paris solo many times...... it's really great. You'll probably drive yourself crazy running around the first few days, then fall into a rhythm. My best advice is to pick a few "do or die" non negotiables from your ambitious list, and make reservations in advance so you have them. Even solo, you can not count on walking in and getting a spot. A great way to check out top restaurants is to go for lunch and have a prix fixe. They can be surprisingly affordable. I went to Grand Vefour for lunch a few years ago, it was an unforgettable afternoon. I also went to Le Baratin in the 20th for lunch last year (high on the foodie radar), which was simple and sublime. If you have a nice lunch, you can stroll through a market to pick up a light meal for dinner that evening. A wine bar to add to your list..... Legrand fille et fils in the Galerie Vivienne behind Palais Royale.... oh the list could go on..... bon voyage et bon appetit!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: caronyc

                              Thank you for this excellent advice. Now, to narrow it down to "do or die" will be my next herculean task...merci beaucoup for your recs!

                              1. re: caronyc

                                Might be noted that next to Legrand is my fav scarf store in Paris, like it better than Hermes, almost the same prices.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  "my fav scarf store in Paris, like it better than Hermes, almost the same prices."

                                  Wolff et Descourtis

                                  1. re: Parigi

                                    As always, thank you for your 'know it all'

                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    And I thought this was my secret stash! These are "OMG, where did you get that scarf?" scarves. As opposed to "Hm, Nice Hermes." scarves.

                                2. If you want seafood there are lots of places on Blvd. de Montparnasse. Le Dome is great and there is one a bit further up on the same side with wonderful displays of seafood outside, I can't remember the name.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bronwen

                                    Bronwen, thanks for this. I think an oyster crawl of the Montparnasse is in order, and your other Montparnasse recs are noted. THANKS!