5eme and 14eme suggestions
I will be going to Paris for my second visit in two weeks.
My time during the week will be mostly divided between the 5th and the 14th. I have checked out the offerings and Paris By Mouth but I need some advice.
About this trip:
My budget is low/medium but I would like to have a few meals (e.g.weekend lunches) at a top spot.
I LOVE cheese and chocolate but I do not eat shellfish/mussels or pork. I will be solo except for a few days when I am joined by my French boyfriend.
During the week I may need to stick to the two neighborhoods mentioned above but on the weekend I will travel (even more than an hour) for worthy meals.
The last time I was in Paris it was for one week and it was also in August; many places were closed and I ate pastry for about half of my meals.
-Have any of you ever been to La Compagnie de Bretagne? The reviews said that the crepes are pre-made and re-heated. The 14eme seems to be known for Breton food. Is there another place that might be open that is authentic (very important) and good.
-where can I get the best croissants in my area?
-there is a Monoprix nearby. Is it okay for shopping or should I go farther away for better options?
A little sneer for La Compagnie de la Bretagne. For authentic Breton crêpes, the best in your area is Pot o'Lait on the rue Censier just off the rue Monge in the 5th. Or any of the crêpe joints on the rue Montparnasse and rue Delambre in the 14th... maybe Josselin is the most recommendable... some will be closed in August but not all... take what you can get. For budget crêpes on the go, the tiny place on the right side of the entry to the Galerie des Parnassiens/ Cinéma 7 Parnassiens on the boulevard Montparnasse (near la Coupole). In the 6th, Little Breizh on the rue Grégoire de Tours... if closed, try the rue Canettes where there are a couple of other crêperies... one or other is always open in August.
Both the Monoprix on the avenue Gobelins in the 5th and the one on the ave Général Leclerc in the 14th are very good. But the ave Gén Leclerc Monoprix also gives you the opportunity to browse the excellent Rue Daguerre market street (mornings and late afternoon/ early evening... many shops will be closed in August but enough will be open to give you a good choice) for a more authentic Parisen rather than supermarket experience.
Half the bakeries will be closed in August. By tradition, closed boulangeries post a list of open bakeries in the same neighbourhood. So rather than looking for the best, you might have to settle for what's available. With the caveat that I don't know if they will be closed or not, the better boulangeries-pâtisseries are Carl Marletti (best for pastries) on the rue Censier in the 5th, Berthollet on the rue Flatters in the 5th, Kayser on the rue d'Assas @ rue Chartreux in the 6th, Moisan on the ave Gén Leclerc @ rue Daguerre in the 14th, Thevenin (but sign just says "Boulangerie") at 14 (?) rue Daguerre. BTW, service is notoriously grumpy in August.
For a great-value lunch, Lilane on the rue Gracieuse just off Place Monge in the 5th ... again dunno if it will be open in August. Depending on where you are, you might like to check out Café Le Chartreux on the rue des Chartreux just off rue d'Assas in the 6th... great neighbourhood hangout... and cheap-ish.
When your boyfriend arrives, take him for drinks to the Piano Bar at the landmark Closerie des Lilas on the boulevard Montparnasse @ ave de l'Observatoire or to the historic Rosebud on the rue Delambre. Romance guaranteed. For just hours of people-watching while nursing a cuppa joe, Café Le Select (also good for Sunday-morning reading the English-language Sunday papers bought from the kiosk at the corner) and La Rotunde terrace... both on the boulevard Montparnasse near Vavin métro.
Oups, I mis-read your post and mistakenly assumed you were on the borders of the 5th and 14th. So a little re-setting of my culinary GPS for some better targetted suggestions
I've never tried the Monoprix on the ave Général Leclerc @ Villa Coeur de Vey. Just from driving by, it seems a bit smaller than the Gén Leclerc/ Daguerre one. But most Monoprix food departments are pretty similar and usually of a better quality/ variety than the other chain supermarkets. And when you are lugging groceries home, convenience probably trumps all. I'd also suggest the Marché Mouton-Duvernet (often still called Marché Petit Montrouge by locals), a bi-weekly (Tue + Fri mornings) open air market on the place Jacques Demy just a 2-min walk down the rue Brézin for you... small and likely to be even smaller in August... not exceptional quality except for 2 or 3 stalls operated by farmers/ producers from the Ile de France ... and sometimes a very good baked goods stand.
For Lilane, their website at http://lilane.com/ does include their menu. But since it changes 2 or 3 times a week, can only you give you a general idea of the type of cuisine they serve rather than what might be on offer when you go. When you are at Chimie ParisTech, other good lunch options are Café de la Nouvelle Mairie on the rue Fossés Saint-Jacques (3-min walk) but very limited menu so double check that no pork or shellfish is included when you order and Café Le Rostand on the place Edmond Rostand @ rue Médicis/ boulevard Saint Michel for a simple café lunch (and people-watching) on the terrace.
Closer to your apartment and one of the gastronomic stand-outs in your neck of the woods, Le Cornichon on the rue Gassendi @ rue Liancourt... about 7- to 10-min walk from your apartment... not a great price difference between lunch and dinner but, with a 3-course "formule" of only 34€, dinner is a bargain (the lunch formule is 32€) ... great smiling service...and a great vibe....go go!
There's a little bakeshop on the rue Liancourt @ rue Boulard that seems to specialize in catering orders for wedding favours, parties etc but has a retail side that is worth checking out.
The Gal Leclerc Monoprix is actually bigger and more spacious than the Daguerre one.
There's an excellent fishmonger in the Marche Mouton-Douvernet who's promised us he'll be there on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August. The one in rue Daguerre will be closed for about 3 weeks.
As has been said before here and elsewhere, avoid la Compagnie de Bretagne, which among many other sins tries to elevate the simple popular food that is crêpes to the level of fussy Parisian shenanigan. One thing though: their dessert crêpes are based on some extraordinary batter of which I would gladly have the recipe, though their postage stamp size on the plates is decidedly un-Breton.
Le Pot'O Lait is one of the best crêperies in Paris, and I am not saying that just because it is one of my neighborhood hangouts. Far superior to most Montparnasse crêperies (I am sure some are really good but I haven't found them yet).
For a low-key lunch with lots of classic Parisian ambience, I like "Le verre a Pied" @ 118 rue Mouffetard.
A bit further afield, on the other side of the Pantheon, is Les Pipos @ 2 Rue de l'École Polytechnique. I've been eating here occasionally for the past 4 years, and have found the quality of their (simple) cooking has significantly improved recently.
Alas, I have no idea if either will be open when you're here.
Lastly, the belgian friterie right near you on the rue St Jacques has the best fries I've ever tasted (De Clercq, les Rois de la Frite). Go for the harissa/ketchup/mayo sauce.