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Jul 30, 2012 01:38 PM

10 days in October

My sister, myself, and my vegetarian niece will be visiting Paris and staying in the Marais for ten days in October. Aside from the picky vegetarian, whose needs will be mostly ignored, we are foodies. And have traveled to Paris many times (usually with a jar of peanut butter for said picky eater). As Paris is a very expensive resto town, I won't be looking for any high-end recommendations. I am more concerned with quality than the "type" of food and obviously we aren't looking for romance nor care much about ambiance. I am seeking value oriented excellent food whether traditional or imaginative. I would not say I am cheap, but value for my Euro is important. I would appreciate a lunch recommendation for the higher priced restos. I have learned over time I much prefer higher end lunch service and more relaxed and laid back bistro/family types for dinner. If it requires reservations, a method to do so aside from callling from the States ahead of time - that isn't going to happen - would be needed.

We plan on cooking for ourselves too.

I already have a list and it is useless to me. I much rather depend on my fellow Chowhounds for the inside scoop.

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it!

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  1. "I already have a list and it is useless to me. I much rather depend on my fellow Chowhounds for the inside scoop."

    Please show it to us so that we have something to work on. Thanks.
    We all want to help epicureans who ignore picky vegetarians. Yes !

    33 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Here is my first cut and paste list. All the comments are the writers, not mine: Le Relais de I'isle, Les Papilles, and Au Bougnat. Le Cottage Marcadet in Montmartre. it is about 35E for a 3 course elegant lunch, dinner at La Cordonnerie near the Tuilleries. (like Marcadet, this is a tiny one chef place and needs a reservation) if it is on the menu get the foie gras with cocoa -- Get the tasting menu at Agrume in the 5th -- also one chef tiny place -- reserve
      For traditional boeuf Bourguignon and a lovely grand marnier souffle try Chez Dumonet.
      I have another list at work I can post. Don't tell my boss.
      If you have any feedback regarding reservations, please share.

      1. re: shanemio

        Au Bougnat? Lots of similarly named restos in Paris. Do you have an address?
        Relais de l'Isle ... the Ile St Louis is pretty much tourist territory that I, as a snooty parisien, normally avoid (except for picnics or sunbathing on the quai Bethune) ... but visitors do seem to like the Relais de l'Isle
        le Cottage Marcadet... although 35 € seems kinda pricey for a lunch "formule" in this part of Paris, the quality of the cuisine is top-notch (although a bit "précieuse")... you should give a big hug to whomever recommended it to you ... but, depending on where you will be staying in the Marais, the logistics of getting to and from the rue Marcadet might put it in the inconvenient category... if you include it as a detour from the Butte Montmartre tourist circuit, just a 10 minute walk from, say, the place du Tertre (always to be pronounced with disdainful curled upper lip) ... you can reserve through but I would book direct via the Cottage Marcadet's website ... if le Cottage Marcadet is booked or closed on the day you want, la Table d'Eugène on the rue Eugène Sue just off the rue Marcadet is fab (and cheaper but less elegant)
        Les Papilles.... expect lots of pouting from mademoiselle végétarienne
        la Cordonnerie ... a really sweet old-time great value place but I haven't been for ages... it's been canonized by the NY Times and most guide books so i can never get a table because of the crush of tourists
        l'Agrume... love it... you can reserve online but I'd wait until Sept to try for a table in Oct to avoid any August hiccups
        Joséphine-Chez Dumonet... enough choice for Mlle Végé ... and a great buzz ... but it's not part of any online reservation system so you'd have to ring at the start of your stay to get a table...Usually i book the day of and have never had any trouble but October is a very busy month (the end of Fashion Week, a huge car show etc) ... if you can't get a table, I'd try Chez Denise in Les Halles as an alternative... btw both are closed on Sat & Sun.

        Your list is heavy on one-man shows. And this should come with a warning. Chef fatique is occasionally obvious in these sorts of places and inevitably every small restaurant will go through a rough patch. It's also a list that with the exception of l'Agrume could have been compiled 5 years ago.

        1. re: Parnassien

          Les Papilles.... expect lots of pouting from mademoiselle végétarienne.

          Oh so true, the mainstay of the meal is always a huge dish of protein, served family style. Things like beef cheeks, yummy, or blanquette de veau. If that day the first course soup is meat stock based, your mademoiselle vegetarienne will be SOL.

          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Nuh, with that resto lineup, she will have had facial cramps from pouting by then.

          2. re: Parnassien

            Re Parnassien's query about "Au Bougnat", I had assumed - second mistake in my short reply - you had meant "La Bougnate", an improbable address in pigalle, on a dark sidestreet in front of a bad-vibes-y parking lot rumored to have traite de blanches going on. But indeed there is a rustic meat&potato resto with the most cliché name "La Bougnate" frequented and much loved by locals.

            I don't know Au Bougnat. I found one on Google, on rue Chanoinesse. The street is very beautiful, but the area seems too touristy to have good food fengshui. then again look at La Bougnate, on a dark little sidestreet off the most lurid part of Pigalle, and it's supposed to be a good local eatery.

            1. re: Parigi

              Thanks Parigi! I will check my notes again. I like lurid, though.

              1. re: shanemio

                FWIW, we have frequently walked from either the bottom of the funicular or the terminus of the Montmartre bus, along the blvds to the #95 stop at Amsterdam at place de Clichy. The area is "lurid" but I never found it uncomfortable. I may try to visit La Bougnate. Thanks, shanemio and Parigi.

                1. re: mangeur

                  Use the Venice theory. For any given artère (thoroughfare), there will alway be a smaller parallel street that is more local, more interesting.
                  That stretch of the boulevard Clichy etc., has in parallel rue d'Orsel, rue des Abbesses, rue Houdon, just as bld St Germain has rue Jacob-rue de l'Univesrsité, bld St Michel has rue monsieur le Prince, rue de Rennses has rue du Cherche-midid, etc. etc.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Right. However, we usually stick to the larger streets when we are coming home from dinner around midnight or so, the hour at which we would usually be in this neighborhood. The side streets may indeed be prettier, actually safer and certainly less sleazy but in the dark, they are also spookier.

                2. re: shanemio

                  and before or after a meal at la Bougnate you can get a tattoo (without hepatitis) too ...right next door at the oldest studio de tatouage in Paris...obviously popular with Parigi's traite des blanches folks because they have a big selection of romanian and albanian flags/ crests

                  actually la Bougnate is not such a bad idea... dinner only and very trad unsurprising menu but excellent value (in the 25 to 30 € range) with gargantuesque portions... a little tiresome to get to by métro from your apartment but very easy if you walk down to Hotel de Ville to get the #74 bus to Pigalle-Chaptal.

                  1. re: Parnassien

                    Well, an Albanian flag tat after a gargantuan dinner in an iffy part of town sounds like my kind of evening!!! I just may surprise my companions! Thanks

                    1. re: shanemio

                      Stunning discovery during my Friday night outing:
                      That traite de blanches parking lot seems to be gone !
                      But La Bougnate is still there, albeit closed for August, like the next door tattoo parlor.

            2. re: shanemio

              Le Relais de I'isle
              Beautiful cottage on a little island ind a park. When I ate there last, the food was ok The setting is unforgettable.

              Les Papilles
              Dependable. Lots of hounds like it. i canceled the last two times there, preferring Dans Les Landes. Similar budget, more choice (except veg even though it always has one salad and one brocoli dish), very good suddouest food. Although it is open all day, I suggest you stick to French meal hours. A friend went at off hours twice and did not eat well. Then we went back at dinner time and had a great meal again. My guess, purely my guess, is that there may be a team B in the kitchen during off hours, and the chef-chef takes over at areal hours. This is, as I saidd, purely my guess.

              Au Bougnat
              Friends, Montmartre locals , swear by that place, but I have not been. Dishes are supposed to be copious.

              Le Cottage Marcadet
              Laidback liked this place. But the staff was supposed to have had a meltdown when John Talbott's dining companion took out her camera. That kind of place.

              Have not been in recent years. Was very good, and it became very hard to reserve.

              Chez Dumonet
              Maybe the best of your picks. Everyone's fave.

              I am trying to discern a pattern about the food and budget from your list: most tend to be meat&potato kind of places, moderately priced. Hope I don't fail this IQ test too miserably. :-)

              You may also like Café des Musées. Pretty bistro, quite good food. And, I don't believe I'm doing this, I am throwing a vegetarian bone here: Café des Musées is the only Paris restaurnat (it's a real restaurant, not a café) that I know of that always has one vegetarian main dish. Lunch is better (less hectic, fewer tourists) than dinner.

              You have two Montmartre addresses? Are you staying or sightseeing there?
              A nice casual lunch spot is Coquelicot on rue des Abbesses. If you want a real meal in a real restaurant, Au Clocher de Montmarttre is good too, lighter fare than Au Bougnat

              Except for Coquelicot, they all need reservation.

              1. re: Parigi

                Parigi (aka Cixi), you've confused the Chalet des Iles with the Relais de l'Isle

                1. re: Parnassien

                  Hahahhahaha. Off with your head.
                  Actually I lost mine. You are right.
                  Relais de l'Isle is the Isle St Louis place, right. Not bad for the genre. A good place smack in tourist central doesn't grow on trees.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    THANKS so much. This list is a real cut and paste, literally. I started reading so many resto sites, that I began cutting and pasting into a document that I would refine later. I am not interested in eating at one man shows every lunch or evening, nor are we meat and potatoes - so thank for that feedback! What we are is overwhelmed! And honestly, if I have to work too hard at it ie: reservations or getting there, it probably won't happen. I have huge ambition in planning, and more realistic limitations upon execution.
                    On my list so far: Joséphine-Chez Dumonet or Chez Denise
                    Les Papilles or Dans les Landes,
                    and if we get to Montemarte, Le Cottage Marcadet or Table d Eugenie.
                    As far as the Marais goes, is Cafe Musees my best choice - throwing a bone to my veggie companion? I was also thinking that Pain, Vin, Fromage might be a good compromise. She is young and I think she would enjoy it.
                    I still have another list to throw out here, but again, I so appreciate and enjoy reading everyone's responses. Kindness and wit. My favorite combination.

                    1. re: shanemio

                      Thank YOU for helping us help you. You see, hazy list is better than no list. You gave us a start. Now you can see you, we, are shaping a plan, instead of facing one big overwhelm.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        You rock. Now, on to my other list, which is completely random. Knowing how accessible would help. Please excuse my spelling:

                        Chez LAmiJean

                        Pierre Gagnaire


                        Saturne or Septime - already strike me as too trendy -am I wrong?

                        Reed - another one man show, limited seateings, already lower on my list

                        Le Reconfort for lunch? Dinner?

                        MaBourgogne - also in Marias, no? vs. Cafe Musees? and finally,

                        Espernail (can't read my own writing) and or Andre Bergere (I am mystified by my note taking here. Is it one place, two? I see 3 glass tasting...)

                        Any feedback on these would be most appreciated.

                        1. re: shanemio

                          For accessibility, pls let us know the intersection or major landmark nearest your apartment. The Marais is a large and variously defined area. If you are at the République end, the other parts of Paris that will be most accessible by bus or métro will be very different from those most easily reached from, say, St Paul. And the same for the east/ west sides.

                          I wouldn't fuss about making rezzies now. August is the month not only of fermetures annuelles but of computer glitches and lost reservations. In September, you can make some reservations online direct or through (not all restaurants subscribe to the service) to satisfy your planning compulsions. Once on the ground in Paris, you can confirm or cancel. Me, I usually make rezzies (by phone or in person) the day of or the day before and only occasionally make the restaurant a destination in itself. There's lots to do in Paris besides eating so the choice of restaurant is more usually a part of a larger plan

                          Pierre Gaignaire... NO! big big big bucks for a not so big bang according to one of the latest reviews on this board. Instead, I'd consider the lunch deals (all around the 100€ mark) at Guy Savoy, Le Cinq, or Michel Rostang. But even with the specials, wine etc can easily double the final tab. Consider carefully if you really want to go down the starry road at all.

                          Ma Bourgogne... yes, in the Marais/4th...very pleasant place in the summer under the arches of the place des Vosges and open with continuous hours from noon to midnight so useful for snacky lolling about ... decent food that can veer into the very overpriced if not careful ... Ma Bourgogne wins on the setting but Café des Musées wins hands down on the cuisine and price/ quality ratio.

                          Epernail/ Andre Bergere?? There is a champagne-maker called André Bergère in Epernay (way outside of Paris). Are you planning to go to Reims/ Epernay on a day trip?

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            We are very happily staying at 36 Rue Vieille du Temple near Rue Rivoli.

                            Thanks for the feedback on reservations. It does help with my compulsive behavior ;D.

                            OK. No Pierre G. and Cafe des Musees is on. Probably a good pick for our first evening.


                            1. re: shanemio

                              You are staying in a wonderful location for access to some of the newer modern dining rooms. The #76 bus will take you to within a couple of blocks of Rino; the #75 to le Galopin; the #96 to Chatomat. (These three are among our faves.)

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Thank you so much for the suggestions - Gallopin looks like a great bistro and has enough veggie options for my wee vegetarian. I appreciate it!

                                1. re: shanemio

                                  Note: it's no choice, but you might get adjustments if you let them know when you book and order.

                                  1. re: mangeur

                                    I was looking at the a la carte menu...granted my french is poor, at best. Was I correct that there were several items that contained no meat? And thanks for the suggestion regarding ordering.

                                    1. re: shanemio

                                      Aha! There are two Galopins: one near Bourse and the other, the one I referred to, on Place Sainte Marthe near Hopital Saint Louis. The latter does not offer a choice but they do ask about dietary/alergy concerns at ordering.

                                      1. re: mangeur

                                        Thanks for the clarification. I will go back and look for it with the correct spelling and location. Although, the Gallopin gets fairly good reviews for simple and inexpensive bistro food.

                              2. re: shanemio

                                You are a 15-minute walk away from my fave Banh Mi place on 7 rue de Volta.
                                Robert et Louise, a very nice meat-focused bistro, is just up the street from you on 64 Rue Vieille du Temple. Your are one block away from the high-quality biweekly market on Place Baudoyer. Wednesaday afternoon (after 3m) and Saturdary morning (until 1pm).

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Thank you again, Parigi. I did have Robert et Louise on one of my chicken scratch lists. I will add it.
                                  Ohhh, on the Banh Mi. I work in St Paul, Minnesota, which has the 2nd largest Hmong and Vietnamese refugee population in the United States...a whole lot of really good, really cheap, really authentic SE Asian food. I may have to cleanse my palate with a good sandwich and spring roll, nonetheless!
                                  Thanks for the recco on the market too. We arrive on Saturday morning, so I don't know if we will have time to hit it then. Planned on visiting the Richard Lenoir market on Sunday. But Wednesday will definately work and it a good mid-week respite from heavy dining out.
                                  You are a gem, thanks again.

                                  1. re: shanemio

                                    This thread has been helpful, as we also will be staying in the Marais in October. Near Rue Rambuteau and Rue Du Temple.

                2. re: shanemio

                  Montmartre, in my opinion, is the most enchanting part of Paris. We have eaten at the restaurant Le Cottage Marcadet for lunch as well, as another wonderful non touristic venue at : 102 Rue Lepic ... The Mussels steamed in white wine were delectable and the Braised endive, tender and succulent as the rare Entrècôte.

                  Enjoy the left side and the right side of the Basilica ... Which is worth a trip inside, as it is an amazingly beautiful piece of historic architecture.

                  We had enjoyed the tiny boutqiue hotel that we stayed at, on Rue Lamarck or Lamark to the right of the Basilica. To the left; the Artsy district ... artists painting and great however, touristy boutiques and the Salvador Salí Museum which is wonderful.

                  1. re: foodeditormargaux

                    "Montmartre, in my opinion, is the most enchanting part of Paris."


                    "We have eaten at the restaurant Le Cottage Marcadet for lunch as well,"


                    "as another wonderful non touristic venue at : 102 Rue Lepic ... "

                    Could you give the restaurant name? :-)

                    "Enjoy the left side and the right side of the Basilica ..."

                    Not knowing which side you are facing in relation to the Basilica, it is impossible to guess which sides you mean.
                    My fave sides of the Butte Montmartre are the north and west, and very immediately northeast (upper rue Lamarck, rue Muller, rue André del Sarte, rue Chevalier de la Barre). This old time Montmartroise usually does not go near the Sacré Coeur.

                    Talking about rue Lamarck, I must recommend Au Clocher de Montmartre, a Paris rarity that offers good food and good view.

                    Allow me to link a negative review that should be read as a positive one, by which I mean the complaints should actually be read as positive indications:
                    1. It is not true the only to get to the restaurant is to take the funicular. Like most locations on earth, there are at least four ways - from four directions - of getting there. One very beautiful route is to walk up rue Lamarck from the metro Lamarck. When a review starts with such inane unfair rant, you know the (low) level of objectivity.
                    2. Another complaint: The menu is limited. In Paris all better bistros keep a short menu to ensure their ingredients are fresh and in season. This is a fact well known to all experienced diners here.
                    3. So Saturday night the resto ran out of a dish, the vegetarian dish. Boohoo.
                    The website has a total of 2 reviewsn the other being dithirambique. Even the ranter admitted the food was good.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Unfortunately, we both cannot remember, the name of the Restaurant at 102 Rue Lepic: however, perhaps the Tourist Office in Monmartre would be able to provide it.

                      Another option: google 102 Rue Lepic in or

                      Apologies, the hotel had recommended it to us; we believe it is the Hotel Flor ? on Lamarck. Definitely Flower in French ...

                      1. re: foodeditormargaux

                        Is it possibly "Il Caffe Del Gattopardo"? That is what a google search came up with.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. I will also be staying in the Marais (Rue du Temple/ Rue du Rivoli) in October, and am just starting the research. Thanks for the tips.