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Aug 2, 2013 02:07 PM

Paris- specific help with a few lunches & breakfasts

Hi again,
I am traveling from Toronto to France and have done extensive research and organization. I have a fairly structured itinerary, and would like some advice on a few location -based meals.

We are staying at Hotel de Nell (Rue du conservatoire)
Sunday Sept 1: We would like a place for a quick casual lunch either close to the hotel or very close to Eiffel Tower since that's where we will be going first. I was considering Pain D’epis or Moulin de la Vierge but I'm not sure they have lunch items? Thoughts?

Monday Sept 2: Somewhere for a fabulous breakfast pastry in the Pritemps / Galleries Lafayettes area
Monday Sept 2: Lunch either in that same area or very close to Les halles (80 Quai de L'hotel de ville- we are going to a macaron class at La Cuisine Paris)

Tuesday Sept 3: Lunch somewhere very close to Musee D'orsay or Orangerie

Thursday Sept 5: one more quick lunch close to our hotel

Also, could anyone advise me.. we will be having dinner at Septime- how long a meal do you expect that would be?

Thank you all in advance for helping me fill in these blanks!

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  1. We are staying at Hotel de Nell (Rue du conservatoire)
    Sunday Sept 1: We would like a place for a quick casual lunch either close to the hotel or very close to Eiffel Tower since that's where we will be going first."

    Many restaurants in Paris are cloed sunday. Near your hotel is the very good and casual Restaurant Richer, open Sunday.

    "I was considering Pain D’epis or Moulin de la Vierge but I'm not sure they have lunch items? Thoughts?"

    They are bakeries.

    "Monday Sept 2: Somewhere for a fabulous breakfast pastry in the Pritemps / Galleries Lafayettes area"

    Le Valentin inside one of the fabled passages couverts: Passage Jouffroy

    Thursday Sept 5: one more quick lunch close to our hotel

    You keep saying quick. Could you tell us how much time you are for lunch?

    "Also, could anyone advise me.. we will be having dinner at Septime- how long a meal do you expect that would be?"

    2 to 2.5 hours

    1 Reply
    1. re: Parigi

      Sorry, when I say quick lunch.. I mean, I am not looking for a long lengthy meal. More of a picnic style lunch that is casual. Like, one hour.

    2. We are staying at Hotel de Nell (Rue du conservatoire)
      Sunday Sept 1: We would like a place for a quick casual lunch either close to the hotel
      L'office or Les Saisons

      Printemps / Galleries Lafayettes area......lunch.......
      Out of luck - Les Halles - Pirouette

      close to Musee D'orsay
      Les Climats

      2 Replies
        1. re: hungryabbey

          I don't know any place I would recommend near Printemps/Galeries.

      1. "Sunday" "Many restaurants in Paris are clo[s]ed sunday."
        Whoops, remember, as we all do - the First Page of the Exam Booklets - "Read these instructions before you start to answer the questions [sotto voce - Dunce!]" Guilty! L'Office and Les Saisons are out.
        So because our human culinary GPS, Parnassien, seems to be on his annual Italian respite, the more geographically-challenged (and Toronto derived) of us will try to fill in.
        Sunday lunch in your area? Tough.
        I've never actually eaten there, but I've entered it and drifted around the buffet tables of Sunday food items at the Hotel Amour ( and do intend to go someday.

        8 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott

          Hôtel Amour is okay. It's a Costes, so you can't ask it more than it can deliver. But it's a nice place to sit down and have a tartare.

          Around Galeries Lafayette - Printemps : for "a fabulous breakfast pastry" you've got that right inside the Printemps department store and it's Café Pouchkine (nothing Russian about it, the pastry chef is French). Breakfast can be had at the small sit-down bar.

          In the area, try Les Canailles, J'Go, Gyôza Bar (no reservation, just pop in), the Tunisian-Jewish restaurants around Folies-Bergère, Au Petit Riche...

          1. re: Ptipois

            Nothing to add to John's and Pti's good lists.
            Maybe you need to bear in mind that breakfast is never a big deal in the French culture. If I were you, a breakfast would be quick bite at a nearby café counter, which would allow you to add precious minutes to your allocated lunch time. One hour is not eating, it's swallowing. Please don't do that to good restaurants.

            1. re: Parigi

              Also, I sometimes wonder why, when people request breakfast places, they do not consider the hotel options.

              Breakfast is perhaps not such a big deal in France as it is in the US, but it does exist as an institution. There are three categories of people in France: those who have time to have breakfast, those who don't, and those who take the time to have it. The latter have breakfast meetings at the better hotels. For some years, power breakfast has been a favorite way of doing business deals, with a stress on important decisions (for which morning hours seem to be appropriate). Accordingly, breakfast buffets and service can be wonderful in Paris hotels just to cater to that sort of meeting.

              So although your neighborhood is not necessary the best place for power breakfast (for that you rather go to the palace zone, i.e. the extended Golden Triangle that goes from the Louvre to the Place de l'Etoile, including Montaigne-George-V and the big Rivoli-Saint-Honoré hotels like Meurice, Regina, Bristol, Mandarin Oriental), you might want to check the Park Hyatt place Vendôme or the Grand Hôtel at the Opera.

            2. re: Ptipois

              "Hôtel Amour is okay. It's a Costes,"
              Yah I want to emphasize that I've never eaten there, just cruised it, and it's not only very Costes it's very Bobo and brunch Sundays.

              1. re: John Talbott

                "Hotel Amour" nice cocktail place. For breakfast, better go to its neighbor Kooka Boora that not only has great cappuccino but also wonderful pastries by Marie-Aude formerly of Spring.
                Last word on Hotel Amour: better learn pantomime first. It'ss one hell of a noisy place.

                1. re: Parigi

                  It does not matter whether you can be heard or not; it's a Costes place with the notoriously eye-candyish and totally clueless service particular to that kind of place. So whether you're in Marceau mode or in shouting "je veux mes frites" mode doesn't make a lot of difference.

                  I like the place though. And the food is far from terrible.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    "it's a Costes place with the notoriously eye-candyish and totally clueless service ........I like the place."
                    And Soph calls me a hipster.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      No. You're a beatnik. I'm a hipster.

          2. Thank you to you both- I will check out your recommendations and get back to you with further questions if necessary.
            Sorry, when I said "breakfast" I do think I meant what you mean by it.. which is, I just wanted a pastry and a coffee. I don't want a lengthy big meal with bacon and eggs and toast and potatoes (aka American style). I just wanted coffee and a pastry.
            Ptipois - can you recommend any of these Jewish restaurants you're referring to? That may be interesting to me.

            14 Replies
            1. re: hungryabbey

              I assume Pti was referring to La Boule Rouge on the corner of rue de la Boule Rouge and rue Montyon... excellent Tunisien couscous (Jewish nosh in Paris is usually North African/ Middle Eastern, not Middle/ East European)

              I'm in the Hotel Amour fan club too... it's a sort of poseur paradise but enjoyably so ... and if the attitude rises to annoying levels (which it does at weekends), a great opportunity to practice the French art of sarcasm... continuous hours 7/7 so also a good choice for breakfast, lunch, snacks... not a place for passive guests-- the wait staff must often be reminded that "waiting" is what they do, not the client... but, with a little polite and witty prodding (not bullying), can easily qualify for a fast lunch if you avoid weekends when a very slow see-and-be-seen brunch takes the place of lunch.

              Re breakfast around the Grands Magasins quartier, your best bet for coffee and pastries is indeed Café Pouchkine on the ground floor of the Mode building of Le Printemps... but, like the store, doesn't open until 9:30 or so. Otherwise, the area is mostly about mediocre snack bars and sandwicheries.

              Re macaron lessons. More convenient for lunch than Les Halles, the Saint-Gervais quartier just north of La Cuisine. For a quick-ish lunch, the very artsy-fartsy Vingt Vins d'Art on the rue Jouy just off the rue François Miron... doubles as an exhibition/ performance space but the food (mostly small plates) is excellent and the staff are delightful... NOT a granola/ brown rice kinda of place. Other possibilities: Pamela Popo on the rue François Miron and Métropolitain (my fave but not sure about the "quick" criterion) on the rue Jouy.

              Re Musée d'Orsay/ Orangerie. Maybe La Frégate on the rue du Bac/ quai Voltaire... great setting with views of the river, the Tuileries and the Louvre... but standard brasserie/ bistro fare... fine if you are in a rush because the food tastes better if you eat it fast... and easily in-and-out in less than an hour.

              Re Eiffel Tower. I'm pretty sure that Le Moulin de la Vièrge branches on the rue Saint Dominique in the 7th and avenue Suffren in the 15th do have sandwiches (for takeaway) at lunchtime during the week but have never been on Sunday ... not sure about the other branches in the 14th and the 17th. I think Pain d'Epis on the ave Bousquet is bread/ pastries only but you can collect the fixings for a picnic on the Champs de Mars by getting a "baguette royale" here, then cheese from Marie-Anne Cantin on the rue du Champs de Mars, fruit/ salady stuff from the greengrocer on the corner of rue Bosquet/ rue Cler, and a poulet rôti from the boucherie (right next to the greengrocer) on the rue Cler. There's also an open air market on the boulevard Grenelle near Dupleix métro in the 15th on Sunday mornings where you can pick up some picnic goodies or snacks on the go...15-min walk from Eiffel Tower. In the same area, the cheap-ish and very cheerful Au Dernier Métro on the boulevard Grenelle at Dupleix métro can do a quick-ish lunch... basque cuisine. Or pick up a falafel or lamb sandwich (Lebanese style) at Feyrouz on the rue Lourmel. Across the river from the Eiffel Tower, I very much like Carette on the place du Trocadéro... a fab pâtisserie/ salon de thé... sandwiches, light meals for lunch... also a great breakfast spot (open from 7:30am).

              I'm writing this on a cheap flight from Pisa to Paris with no internet... so not sure if all my addresses/ details are correct... please doublecheck.

              1. re: Parnassien

                Fabulous help! A few specific questions to help me finalize my decisions.

                Im trying to decide if it's worth the extra walk from Pirouette to La Cuisine (20 min vs the 5 min from Vingt Vins). Does anyone know how long a lunch at Pirouette would take on a monday?

                Any preference between Les Climats and La Frigate? Is there a difference in the length of the meal? - I know I keep asking about meal lengths for lunch. We have a lot ot see in the day, hence why I plan for our dinners to be long, lengthy and more luxurious (those are already planned).

                Do I need a reservation at Bretzh cafe or can I just pop in?

                Other questions on length:

                We are having dinner one night at Pain Vin Fromage (I really wanted fondu). How long do you think dinner would be? I am trying to decide if we have time to get to caberet. Thank you!

                1. re: hungryabbey


                  Pirouette, where I've been a half-dozen times, can be quick or lanquid; 1-2 hours, depending on how much you want to bask in the sun outside or shelter if it's raining inside. It and its waitstaff are delightful. I've never been to Vingt Vins, am I missing something? Parnassien will know, how does he eat at more places than I at half my age?

                  As for Les Climats versus La Frigate, I've never heard of nor eaten at the latter but been to the former a coupla times and once again, in the garden, in nice weather, it's delightful and even inside in/on the solarium, quite the thing.

                  As for the Bretzh Cafe, of course you can walk in, but for all the reasons I keep repeating repetitively redundantly restating- why not reserve? You reserve for 12h30 or 13h00, you arrive 30 minutes early or late, what's lost, it's your table, this isn't Santa Monica or snooty Brooklyn or the 16th - as our loyal friend lemarais said “Why don't you want to make a reservation? Is there a downside to making one?”

                  1. re: hungryabbey

                    Totally agree with the JT guy about Pirouette. If you stick to the lunch "formule", it's pretty quick... maybe just over an hour or so if the stars are aligned... longer if you go à la carte... but warn the waiter as soon as you sit down that you are in a hurry... or need to be out the door by, say, 1:30pm... if the service seems too slow, point to your watch, clasp your hands as if in prayer and say (softly and with the hint of a smile) "je vous en prie, monsieur"... the restaurant has great food and a lovely relaxed vibe, and although some people (mostly office workers in the area) do have just a quick lunch, you will certainly dilute the experience by hurrying...Monday is usually an easy day but rezzies are still essential... and it's closed almost the entire month of August so dunno if they will be fully back in the grove by 2 Sept.

                    Les Climats is a place for savouring and lingering. A quick in-and-out would be a distinct misuse. My last lunch was just over two hours and my dinner, 3 hours. Nevertheless, I guess you could cut those times in half by judicious ordering... the 2-course lunch "formule", no coffee, asking the waiter which of the choices are the quickest to prepare, and requesting "l'addition" halfway through your final course and a je-vous-prie (stronger than just "s'il vous plait") reminder at the end. La Frégate is a place for convenience... for a light lunch and with the right waiter, I imagine that it could be done in even just half an hour. But l'Orangerie and Monet's Les Nymphéas require a certain relaxed frame of mind... a hurried lunch will not help.

                    As a matter of principle, I never reserve at Breizh Café... after all, it's just a crêperie. But I usually go at non-peak hours and assume that rezzies would be needed for 12:30 to 1:30 for lunch and 8 to 9:30 for dinner, especially at weekends. Once on Saturday night we were told that there would be a 45-minute wait so we went to a tapas bar instead... no big deal because Paris is full of alternatives. I do however reserve at almost all other restos (except crêperies), often on the day of.

                    Not sure of how long a meal at Pain Vin Fromage would be... haven't been for year or so and the memory is blurred.

                    John Talbott le Vénérable,
                    if you ate dinner out, you could double your score. For flâneur moi, it's 2 meals a day x say, 250 days a year + a generous expense account = a lot of restaurants... and a distinct and wise preference for lighter fare.

                    1. re: Parnassien

                      Parnassien, does it ever happen to you to eat home-cooked food?
                      And (shiver!) do you ever cook?

                      Reserving at crêperies (second shiver!)... Although I admit that reserving is essential at most places reviewed here, not reserving is also part of doing it the Parisian way. It always fascinates me to hear about people trying to reserve at le Pot' O Lait six months ahead.

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        Of course! Dinner parties almost every Saturday. Ok, ok, once a month. :) I'm the son of a failed domestic goddess... the pattern continues. But my grandmother is a fab cook... I retreat chez elle when restaurant fatigue hits.

                        1. re: Parnassien

                          Ahh. I never doubted for one minute that you had a proper upbringing. Take good care of your grandmother, people of her type are precious!
                          I know the feeling. When restaurant fatigue hits, I just cook.

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            And grandmothers, with 85 years of experience of the best and the worst of times, are such reservoirs of knowledge. I take ma mamie marché-ing 2 or 3 times a week... what an education!

                      2. re: Parnassien

                        Anyone else know about the timing on Pain vin fromage? What about Septime (I will try to see which makes more sense for getting to the caberet).

                        Any recommendations near the hotel for a 1 1/2 hour lunch near Hotel de Nell (Rue du conservatoire) OR the raileurope train station before our train ride?

                        1. re: hungryabbey

                          "timing… What about Septime (I will try to see which makes more sense for getting to the caberet)."
                          I have already replied.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Oh my apologies. Lost that reply - thank you.

                          2. re: hungryabbey

                            which train station ? i.e. Gare d'Austerlitz, Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon etc. What's your destination after Paris?

                            1. re: Parnassien

                              From what I can see online, i will be leaving from Paris Gare Lyon. I will be going to Lyon, (then Avignon, then Nice.) It would likely be better that we eat near the hotel though before going to the train station... just so we dont have to shlep all our bags.

                      3. re: Parnassien

                        Yes. I was not only referring to La Boule Rouge (which is not my favorite but will do with a group of friends already slightly tipsy from champagne, then the place comes alive...) but there are many inconspicuous-looking juif-tune restaurant all around the area and they're a lot of fun, sometimes quite good. I particularly like Bob de Tunis and their fricassés.