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Jun 23, 2013 07:01 PM

First time posting - our 2nd trip to Paris

I hope I can get a little critique and advice about some info I've put together for our trip - in a little over 3 weeks!

Last summer I was at last able to fulfill a lifelong dream to visit France. We had a wonderful first timers' experience - 3 days in Paris at L'Hotel St Christophe, in the Latin Quarter, Saturday train to Rennes in time to explore le marche while waiting for friends who teach on the Isle of Jersey to meet us. Then a week in a house in the tiny town of Roz sure Couesnon with views of Mont St Michel, 4 days on Jersey and back to Paris for 3 more days at the same hotel. We had many wonderful meals, some very acceptable meals and one that we laugh about to this day.

This July we will, again, be in Paris - timing constrained by our middle son's wedding in Germany. Our plans are: fly from Boston to Paris, arriving on 7/17. We spend one night at the Villa Beaumarchais (reviews seem to have worsened since I made the res, but it's only one night so we can deal.) The following day we train to Germany for the family festivities. We return to Paris on 7/23 to an apartment that is 1 1/2 blocks from L'Hotel St Christophe. We spend a week before returning home.

With an apartment, we hope to take advantage of the markets and food shops where we only browsed last summer. I like to plan thoroughly so that spontaneity doesn't cause disaster, so the places I've found to shop and eat are more than we could possibly do in 1 week - one can't always predict where one will be when hunger strikes! We are certain this won't be our last trip - though the next will probably NOT be in July. And, next time we can try to get to some of the places we don't manage on this trip.

We will have our youngest - a 21 (almost) yr old art student and budding foodie. We will meet up with my stepsister, her husband and son - about 25 halfway through our week. They have an flat 1km away and are more gourmand than gourmet.

With all of that - this is what I've found for shopping that makes sense with our known plans - we know we'll be doing some museums - Rodin and D'Orsay, and some exploring, as well as revisiting favorite spots from last summer - Jardin des Plantes and Jardin Luxembourg.

Markets - we know from last year that Marche Monge is very good and it's very nearby. Others that seem to be good depending on whether we're nearby when they're open
Marche Bastille (11e)
Marche Montorgeuil (2e, permanent market)
Marche Maubert (5e)
Marche Baudoyer (2e)

Maison Kayser - rue Monge
Phillippe Gosselin (St Honore or St Germain)
Le Boulanger de Monge
Boulanger L'Essential - we had baguette and pastries from them last year. I read that they were noted as 3rd best butter croissants this year - and they are not far from us.

Oteiza - blvd St Michel
Bellotta Bellotta - rue Jean Nicot or rue de Seine
Verot - rue Notre Dame des Champs

Christian LaLanne - rue Monge - 2 blocks away and on Ile St Louis
Fromagerie Trotte - rue St Antoine
Laurent Dubois - Blvd St Germain
Barthelmy - rue de Grennelle

Patisserie - I only have one recommendation so far
Carl Marletti

And, perhaps Le Grand Epicerie - rue de Sevres. Is this the one that used to be on Ile St Louis? A friend had asked me to pick up some of their violet sugar last year, and we were surprised that the store where she had shopped 2-3 years earlier was gone.

I also have a list of restaurants that are possible, but will post those tomorrow, as this list appears long enough.

Thank you (in advance for this, and in general for all the information I've already gleaned.)

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  1. With your interest in food, you do need to visit Le Grand Epicerie, but it is not, I fear, a reincarnation of the shop your friend referred you to. It is the food hall of the grand magazin Bon Marché. In all events, it will be worth your time to look around.

    1. Markets.
      If i understand your rental is near Place Monge, right? Please specify as Hotel St Christophe is not an address that most Parisians know.
      You have excellent markets much nearer you. Place Monge is very lively, has good quality produce. Place Maubert is even better. Especially Place Maubert, quality-wise it is not in any way worse than the Bastille market.
      The Bastille market is more for the overwhelm. For your everyday life, you don't need to take the metro to go to another corner of Paris then lug the food back. Be a real Parisian. Why not go to your 'hood markets which happen to be just as good, only less touristy than the Bastille one ?
      If one day you want to go across town to visit a market for tourism reasons, or for a picnic in the Marais rose garden, then the Bastille market is a good choie.
      You can easily look up the markets' hours on the internet or on search on this board.
      However the hours indicated show them to be operating much longer than they do. Remember: for morning market hours, everything is closed by 1pm. For insane reasons, the officially closing hours are given as 3pm. That's when the cleaning trucks have hosed down the entire market.
      Ditto, the markets' evening closing hours. Stalls start closing around 7:30pm, and the market is completely closed by 8pm.

      One of this board's fave resto, very reasonably priced, is quite near you: Dans Les Landes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Parigi

        Apologies that I forgot to be more specific on our address. Last year's hote was on the corner of rue Monge. This year we're in an apartment on rue Navarre - 1 1/2 blocks away.

        Thank you very much for the info on closing hours of the markets - I'll correct the closing hours on my list!

        And we're definitely not planning on travelling all over Paris to shop - but want to be prepared to combine small quantity shopping with other activities if that suits the day's activities.

        Thank you for the wonderful information - especially the tip about Dans Les Landes.

      2. Marché Monge is one of the most expensive markets in Paris. It has some good stalls but, although it is my local market, I wouldn't describe it as one of the best.

        I'd rather go to the Cours de Vincennes market or to the Saxe-Breteuil market, or the Bastille and Richard-Lenoir markets, or even farther to one of the Eastern suburban markets like Charenton or Champigny. Even the Marché Maubert, also nearby, is better and cheaper than Monge.

        La Grande Epicerie is the large food department on the ground floor of Le Bon Marché, a top-notch department store. It has nothing to do with anything that was on the Ile Saint-Louis. Worth visiting.

        Le Boulanger de Monge has gone seriously downhill for bread since its founder, Dominique Saibron, has left. Now you can find Dominique rue d'Alésia, at the Général-Leclerc intersection.

        Cheeses: good selection but it's Christian Le Lann. Pretty good but if you were to pick only one, that would probably be Dubois.

        For patisserie : also try le Pain de Sucre, rue Rambuteau.

        Using my superpowers I have located the Hôtel Saint-Christophe (rue Lacépède). Fortunately the OP has one of the best boulangers on the Left Bank right across the hotel: Grégoire.

        The other best boulanger is Anthony Bosson, at the upper end of rue Mouffetard (actually rue Descartes).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ptipois

          Thank you for the info on the markets. Marche Monge was so close to us last year - and my first experience with the Paris markets so it seemed impressive. We will probably shop there for our first day - we arrive Tuesday afternoon, and Marche Monge is open on Wednesday, Maubert not until Thursday. It is definitely good to know about others in case we are in other neighborhoods in the mornings.

          and - thanks for the correction on Le Lann - it was late at night and very warm here when I was typing my post. I hope we will manage to try more than one cheese shop - with only one week in Paris, we can afford a little cheese every day.

          We happened on Anthony Bosson on our 1st afternoon last year! Loved the way they wrapped our 2 little pastries in a pyramid for safe travel. We also tried Gregoire - and didn't understand why our hotel did NOT purchase from this bakery. We liked the hotel - but quickly stopped eating breakfast there!

          This year we look forward to going out for un cafe while our son sleeps late, then going to the boulangerie to bring breakfast back to the apartment. (exception, that if he wants to see Notre Dame he MUST get up early or go without us.)

          Thank you again for your advice!

          1. re: Ptipois

            We had not bought anything from Le Boulanger de Monge on the Place for many years. Recently, we happened to be pass their branch on r Montorgeuil and bought a baguette and a tart de citron. We we surprised how below average both were.
            We haven't been to Marche Cours de Vincennes in a long time, such a long walk from where we're at in the 5e.

          2. We prefer the Marche Maubert over the Monge; not just because our apartment is around corner from Pl Maubert but also it has more vendors, a better fish monger and cheaper produce. Also the permanent bucherie on Pl Maubert is very good with a great staff. On Sundays, we make a trip to the Bastille Market on Richard Lenior to stock up on fruit and vegetables which are much cheaper plus it's great scene. Another Sunday alternative if we want to splurge is the organic Raspail Market, a very different scene than Richard Lenior.

            8 Replies
            1. re: PBSF

              Agreed about Maubert over Monge. However I think the most interesting (and largest) market in Paris is not Bastille but Cours de Vincennes.

              1. re: Ptipois

                I agree with that. But all those markets are much less interesting the last week of July, and many of the addresses discussed will be closed, especially the ones in the residential, upper scale neighborhoods (ie Saxe, Bayen...)

                1. re: souphie

                  Come with me to marché Monge on the last week of July and let's weep together (and then shop elsewhere).

                  At least, Cours de Vincennes being a much larger market (not necessarily catering to the well-to-do crowd so having to feed the many Parisians who don't go away for the Summer), there should be more stalls remaining.

              2. re: PBSF

                Thank you very much for the tips on the markets. To put things in perspective, at home we buy our fruit and vegetables at a permanent market that is know for being expensive but having the best quality.

                For one week, expense is not going to break the budget - since you're on CH, my guess is that you don't find less quality at Maubert as compared to Monge?

                1. re: EllenGST

                  The stalls are different but all in all I think there is no less quality. There is good fruit and vegetables to be had at Maubert. Also a cheap fish stall with plenty of hard-to-find species like chinchard (horse-mackerel), bonito, grouper, etc.

                  I think Monge is worth going to for only a few stalls: Thierry Magnien (vegetable producer, also at Cours de Vincennes), Léo Zamba (potatoes), a couple of apple producers from Picardie and one okay fishmonger from Dieppe. But globally the market is too expensive and I'd rather go elsewhere.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    Thank you! this makes a lot of sense - I remember one really gorgeous display of fruits and vegetables at Marche Monge - but the only thing we bought was a small box of raspberries. We will definitely check out the Marche Maubert.

                2. re: PBSF

                  ...and besides, Laurent Dubois is in the Place Maubert. :)

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    That sounds good! Le Lanne is very near our apartment, but I do want to try Laurent Dubois as well. I expect that week will be part of my osteoporosis prevention plan.