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Paris Week for Four Older Broads

Hi. We are a group of four women going to Paris for a week to celebrate a fiftieth birthday. Two of us have been multiple times and the other two have never been. We all appreciate good food and wine and are unfussy eaters.

We are renting an apartment in the Marais quite close to Place des Vosges. We arrive on a Sunday and will probably want to eat within walking distance of the apartment. We are thinking of Chez Janou, Bistrot Populaire or Cafe des Musees.

We are celebrating the birthday at La Fontaine de Mars because the atmosphere is right up the birthday girl's alley and because I am dying to have that fab ile flottante again!

I definitely want to try Astier, Le Villaret, Breizh Cafe and Bistro Paul Bert.

We are also thinking of Au Bon Accuiel.

It's been ages, but I have had yummy meals at A la Biche au Bois. Is it still good? Ditto, Ambassade D'Auvergne? Rotisserie du Beaujolais?

Been reading loads of blogs and like the sound of Temps des Cerises. Any thoughts?

Also, we'd be up for an ethnic meal. We're big fans of Vietnamese food. Anything worth seeking out? Anything else yummy that you'd recommend?

One last thing, we'd like to try a traditional brasserie. Got a fave?

Any shellfish places? I want oysters and lots of them!

Also, got any good down and dirty bar/cafes you'd like to share? I wouldn't mind a good mindless drinking session.

Thanks for any light you can shed! I've been reading this forum relentlessly and really wish to thank all of the regular contributors. It's so lovely that you have shared all your experiences! I have a big crush on John Talbott. He rocks! :)


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  1. "Chez Janou, Bistrot Populaire or Cafe des Musees."

    Café des Musées. Sunday lunch is perfect. Very laid-back. Tourists are out sightseeing. Sunday lunch at the CdM is mainly with French regulars.

    "Astier, Le Villaret, Breizh Cafe and Bistro Paul Bert."

    Astier? Not worth crossing town for.

    "We are also thinking of Au Bon Accuiel"

    It has good reviews, but every time I'm on that street, something sucks me into Chez l'Ami Jean, et c'est sans rappel.

    Bar. nice wine bar not far away from you, nice atmosphere, non-fussy, but not really "down" and not really "dirty". La Tartine: 24, Rue de Rivoli.

    Have a good time, girls.
    And, please, reserve. :)

    1. Noooo, if I rock and you have a crush on me I'm easily located, why don't you four (self-designated) older broads wanna eat with me. Oh, sigh. My time too has passed by I guess; but I'm open to offers.

      OK - to the point: Here's my very opinionated opinion:
      Cafe des Musees. - Yes
      Astier - Still kinda fun albeit funky and over-run with New York Times sendees
      Breizh Cafe - take your grandkiddies
      The Bistro Paul Bert is good but 6 Paul Bert is quite differently better (by me).
      Au Bon Accuiel, Oh Glory, I did a search and it looks like I haven't been there since 2006. Too many old broads got in my way I'm afraid.
      A la Biche au Bois; you do know it changed hands? The wonderful male & female waitpeople are still there; the biche and purees are still there but, what can I say, humm, why not try a few newer similar places, Casse Noix, Pirouette, Vivant
      L'Ambassade D'Auvergne Rotisserie du Beaujolais Havent Temps des Cerises. Any thoughts? Nope
      Vietnamese food. I'm not the person to ask. These joints were great as a student in the 1950's but have fallen off; so since my 365 in VN I eat at them in NY or SF only.
      Anything worth seeking out? Of course - anything - the new chef at Le Petit Champerret; the new team at Bistrotters, Flora, Pierre Sang Boyer in Oberkampf and the Japanese guys cooking up a storm at The Table d'Aki, Kei, Clandestino, Vivant Table, L'Office, Passage 53, L'Agape, Abri, La Bigarrade, Sola & Chez La Vieille.
      One last thing, we'd like to try a traditional brasserie. Got a fave? Ummm. Why? Ok, Wepler, Garnier, Terminus Nord. But why?
      Any shellfish places? I want oysters and lots of them! L'Huitrier; buy 'em on the street and take back to your hotel or rental flat.
      Got any good down and dirty bar/cafes you'd like to share? I wouldn't mind a good mindless drinking session. I'm too old for that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Talbott

        I occasionally eat at Breizh, with my 49 year old husband, but only after 9:30pm, when the crowd is a mix of young tourists and natives. I prefer West Country Girl, though, both for food and atmosphere.

      2. 1. We all have a crush on JT. Get in line.

        2. L'Ambassade D'Auvergne. Not town-crossing-worthy.

        3. Temps des Cerises. Lovely neighborhood kind of place. Good food. The lunch staff (maman) is warmer and more efficient than the dinner staff. Food like Café des musées level. Clientele more French.

        4. Vietnamese. Within walking distance is Taeng Soong Heng, 3 rue Volta. Good pho. Good cold noodle too. No resa. Get there at odd hours (before 12:30 for example) to beat the crowd.

        5. If Soong Heng too crowded, try Angela's banh mi on n°7 rue de Volta. But this is a strictly take out place. Her banh mi is insanely good. Get a bubble tea to go too.

        1. If you old broads love Vietnamese food, I've got a good tip for you and you're not likely to come across it by chance:

          Suave is a small restaurant on 20, rue de la Providence, off rue de Tolbiac, and is run by genuine Vietnamese ladies (getting rare these days, when most 'Vietnamese' restaurants are run by Cambodians or Laotians). The food is family-style, tasty, fresh and very delicious. The restaurant is tiny; so book.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ptipois

            Old broads (their term), I don't know. Some of the hottest women I know are in their 50s.

            I've had lunch many times at Temps des Cerises, as it's around the corner from my family's apartment. I've gone for the socialness of the place. Diners actually talk to each other. The food was good enough for the very reasonable prices, but nothing special. I haven't been there in a couple of years. I don't even remember them doing dinners. So my comments may be out of date.

          2. How about Pirouette, Septime, Saturne, Les Jalles
            Drinking -- Caldelaria or Experimental Cocktail Club ( also upstairs at Les Jalles)

            1. We don't have old broads in Paris so you'll have to be quatre femmes d'un certain âge, ok?

              Oysters. Everywhere... restaurants, fishmongers, and street markets. The quality is generally excellent. Near the Place des Vosges, Le Comptoir des Mers on the corner of the rue St-Antoine and rue Turenne... seafood restaurant with an oyster/ raw bar inside for takeaway. Or the fishmonger stalls at the Bastille street market on the boulevard Richard-Lenoir between rue Amelot and rue Sabin on Thu and Sun mornings. Although I would strongly discourage a full meal there, the very historic Brasserie Bofinger (whose interior is a national landmark) on the rue Bastille is ok for just a plate of oysters or fruit de mer. As is the Bar à Huîtres on the boulevard Beaumarchais @ the rue Pas de la Mule. For other oysters places in other parts of Paris, a Chowhounder (saticoy) did compile an oyster map... not totally comprehensive but very helpful.

              Brasseries. The predictable food is not generally very good but the experience can be memorable for the decor and the sense of time and place. I think 4 femmes d'un certain âge would particularly enjoy any one of the landmark brasseries on the boulevard Montparnasse-- La Coupole, La Rotonde or La Closerie des Lilas (which also has the added attraction of a very civilized Piano Bar). Food-wise, la Rotonde is the best of the 3 but the decor at La Coupole is superb and the vibe/ ambiance at la Closerie is wonderfully parisienne. For an apéro or a coffee + digestif, Le Select café next to Vavin métro. From your apartment, take a taxi... with four of you, it doesn't work out that much more expensive than the métro or bus... I suppose your nearest taxi rank is on the rue Rivoli just after St Paul church.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Parnassien

                Thanks to all for your well thought out and charming replies. I'm changing my list based upon your suggestions. Definitely trying Bistrotters, Septime, Saturne and 6 Paul Bert.

                Based upon your observations, I'm going to rethink eating in a brasserie, but definitely going to have a drink in one or two, so thank for that.

                I've started reserving already! Thanks again. I shall report back upon my return.


                1. re: potterstreet

                  Btw, for 2013 places, Le Petit Champerret with its new chef (7.5) is IMHO way out in front of Bistrotters (5.8) and only inches away from 6 Paul Bert (7.0) and Flamboire (6.4) but the year is yet young.
                  Don't omit Pirouette, MaSa, Flora, Vivant & Pierre-Sang Boyer in Oberkampf (details on another thread) Clandestino, Volney (new chef), Abri, Marloe from 2012 - hey stay a month - I'm available for four old/young/whatever Broads..

                  1. re: potterstreet

                    Jane, I noticed you are renting an apt for four. I'm often asked about places like that by friends. My family's place is too small, so I'd like ot know about other possibilities that I can get an actual critique of. I wonder if you'd mind emailing me info on the place. My email is: randy paris 4 at gmail. (First three items all joined in one. Thanks.

                    Moderators: I hope you'll excuse this slight off topic digression.

                2. Hi Jane,

                  I am an oyster lover, and I love them most in Paris. I recommend Huitrerie Régis, L'Huitrier, or L'Atlas. Or many others. The only place where I did not enjoy the oysters, or the other food, was Le Comptoir des Mers. It's convenient to where you'll be staying, but I think you'll do better somewhere else. Bon Appétit.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bcc

                    I wouldn't have a meal at Le Comptoir des Mers but the oysters from the fishmonger's stall inside are actually quite good.

                  2. Report please of the 4OB's?