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1st-time "tourist" with 7 lunches/dinners

First, thank you to Parnassien.....I look at these lunches & dinners as, very much, a part of my experience, along with the places to see. Yes, they can have a more monotone appearance; but, I find them complimentary and, hopefully, not repetitive.
Friday: Musee d'Orsay/Musee de l'Orangerie
Lunch: Les Climats
Dinner: Le Relais de l'Entrecote
Saturday: Sainte Chapelle/Notre Dame
Lunch: Le Tournebievre
Dinner: Comme a Savonniers
Sunday: Le Marais/Centre Pompidou
Lunch: Café des Musees
Dinner: Fish- La Boissonniere
Monday: Place Vendome/Place Madeleine
Lunch: Bistrot Capucine
Dinner: La Cigale Recamier
Tuesday: Eiffel Tower/Musee Rodin
Lunch: La Fontaine de Mars
Dinner: Chez Fernand Christine
Wednesday: Luxembourg Gardens/Pantheon
Lunch: La Cuisine de Phillipe
Dinner: Josephine Chez Dumonet
Thursday: Marche Maubert Mutualite/Rue Muffetard
Lunch: Dan les Landes
Dinner: Maison de la Lozere

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  1. I am surprised and delighted by the inclusion of Les Climats... a little breath of style and modern cuisine... but maybe a change from your preferred style that might be better appreciated later in your trip when food fatigue sets in. And it's nice to see that you have found Bistrot Capucine... so few well priced eateries in this area... and capable of producing a good LIGHT meal for you.

    The two-meals-a-day pace is still worrisome. You will probably have to learn how to improvise towards the end of your visit and have a few alternatives in your back pocket in case, as I suspect, you get tired of the sort of restaurants you have chosen. Decent quickie meals are certainly possible but, as a first-time visitor, maybe you don't quite appreciate how long most meals in Paris last or what a huge chunk of your time will be taken up by eating.

    45 Replies
    1. re: Parnassien

      Parnassien....Thank you for the comments and, yes, I agree with the "overload potential"...which is why I am much more focused about my lunches (which I would like to average 2 hours of relaxed enjoyment) than I am my dinners. I have more alternatives for my lunches....such as Pamela Popo for Café des Musees and Le122 for La Fontaine, as examples.
      Because I will have an apartment, I am paying a lot of attention in my research for food/wine in my neighborhood. Within a few minutes I have Da Rosa, La Fromagerie 31, La Derniere Goutte, and Eric Kayser....along with Henri LeRoux for salted caramels and Pierre Marcolini for chocolate covered marshmallows! Any suggestions that you can have for Pain, Vin, Fromage...and charcuterie within my neighborhood would be greatly appreciated....

      1. re: VegasGourmet

        If you are staying in an apartment, I'd think you'd want to forego a few of those resto meals for cooking at home. The beautiful offerings in the markets are more than a little tempting. As well, the traiteurs have excellent takeout that I recommend you experience.

        Two meals a day in Paris is definitely overkill for the tummy, if not for the brain. I've no doubt you'll get it sorted out!

        1. re: ChefJune

          Thx June....not sure that I will want to cook in a rental....but take-in sounds awfully good...once again, if you know the area around Cour du Commerce, and have any personal suggestions, that would be great...thx again

          1. re: VegasGourmet

            Sorry, I don't know that area. We stayed in the 5me near the Jardin des Plantes last November.

            1. re: VegasGourmet

              You can start at Da Rosa on the rue de Seine. And I can't be sure because I go there so rarely but I seem to remember that La Maison de la Lozère (on your list) does takeaway.

              1. re: Parnassien

                I found Maison de la Lozere while looking for aligot on the Left Bank....gonna just leave that for my last dinner, Thursday night..before a short cruise on the Seine with Vedettes Pont Neuf.

          2. re: VegasGourmet

            Also on rue de Seine there is my fav ice cream, Grom (in front of Da Rosa). I know it's not really "ice cream season", but get a cup of hot chocolate milk with their thick and rich (and frankly quite unique) whipped cream, and you will be as happy in the winter as you would have been in the summer with their strawberry sorbet !

            1. re: Rio Yeti

              Thx Rio....but I should have been a little more explicit...the trip IS next Summer...one of the reasons that I chose this particular apt was the A/C...and already have Grom and Amorino on my Google streetview in the neighborhood

              1. re: VegasGourmet

                Oh great, then strawberry sorbet it is ! (or any other one will do).

                Amorino is fine, and definitely above average, but there is always a longer line than Grom, and in my opinion Grom is really on another league.

                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  I like the attitude better at Grom. Also, a summer-only flavor is fior di latte/mint not-quite-ice-cream. Lighter than a breeze. May as well splurge and order a giant one because it goes down so easily in the heat.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    Sounds superb.....FYI: I've contacted someone who stayed in the same apt last Summer to get his input as to cooking, etc.....but if you do have any recommendations for traiteurs within the area....Cour du Commerce....I would certainly want to look at them.
                    And....might as well throw out another question here: Based upon what you see as my list, are there any specific days that you would say.."Definitely have that lunch instead of dinner, or vice-versa"..?? My lunches are based upon location that day; but dinners are all walks from the apt.
                    Many thx.

                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                      I agree with other comments that if you have an apartment you should have some food at home. But, I would avoid most Traiteurs as they have reheated very average Asian food.

                      Instead look to thinks like putting together a great cheese board (Barthelemy or a Dubous), some charcuterie (Bellota Bellota over Da Rosa for Spanish), or stay French with pates and rillettes (Bon Marche isn't far and has a good selection). Then there are the markets, for treats that take your eye, although it may be best to head away from this area for a good one - look for great seasonal fruit. And of course there are fantastic tarts and cakes for dessert. So no need to cook, and definately no need to by pre-prepared food from a take away.

                      Regarding your list of restaurants - it strikes me as it's a bit of a blast from the past, a few exceptions but most are pretty safe and some past their best. But I think others have already tried to steer you.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        PhilD: do you not recommend Oteiza? We like them very much for ... well, Basque.

                        We had a really delicious and satisfying dinner with savory takeout from Gerard Mulot, but maybe our best meals were those we cooked ourselves. The meat was just superb.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Orteiza is good, bur Da Rosa was recommended and as Bellota Bellotta is almost next door I thought of it as an alternative.

                          1. re: PhilD

                            PhilD....Isn't Bellota-Bellota on the other side of the Invalides in the 7th?.....If there is another with those hams near me, then that would certainly be more of a choice.

                            1. re: VegasGourmet

                              Bellota-Bellota is really on the other side of the Invalides. Your closest pata negra will be found at Da Rosa.

                              1. re: Ptipois

                                Thx...that's what I thought. BTW, based upon what Souphie suggested, do you have a recommendation for a lunch that replaces one on my list.....I would, other than a sportjacket, prefer to stay somewhat casual during the days (if that does make a difference in some of the "white linen restos"...

                                1. re: VegasGourmet

                                  Le Cinq will lend you a jacket; Ledoyen won't. I'm not sure if Gagnaire would require it for lunch, I suspect not. L'Arpège definitely won't.

                                  1. re: souphie

                                    Le Cinq lends jackets but sizes are limited - i ended up with one 2 sizes larger and was literally swimming in it - did stop caring about how i looked once they started serving the food.

                                    I think sportsjacket should be fine ..

                                2. re: Ptipois

                                  They now have a shop at 64 rue de Seine as well as the one in the 7eme (as well as one in the 8eme). I like them because of their range which allows tasting across a variety ages and varieties of the same hams.

                                3. re: VegasGourmet

                                  There is a newish Bellota-Bellota offshoot on the rue de Seine where the fromagerie used to be... but Da Rosa's épicerie has more choice and variety.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    Thx again, Parnassien (and PhilD)....I have a place here in Vegas that sources that ham...although I am sure the sourcing in Paris is superior....no reason why I cannot stop at both shops....While you're available, I'll ask you the same question as ptipois: Any thoughts for a more "classic lunch" to combine with one of my daytime excursions? Thx again

                                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                                      Classic setting but creative cuisine, Ledoyen just off the park-part of the Champs Elysées... could be part of your Vendôme/ Madeleine day... really good-value under-100 € lunch. Also great value and slightly more classic cooking (but still inventive), La Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne... just a 10-min taxi ride from the Arc de Triomphe or 15-min from Eiffel Tower. Or the most classic (and most touristy) and probably the one that will fit your schedule and cuisine preferences the best, La Tour d'Argent on the quai de la Tournelle with Notre Dame view... 75 € lunch menu.

                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                        Parnassien: I would like to keep Bistrot Capucine and use that day more for the window (or real) shopping, rue Cambon, Jardin Tuileries, etc.....But your suggestion for La Tour d'Argent instead of La Tournebievre makes great sense; both for the experience as well as the quality. I see that jackets are required only for dinner, so dress/casual with a sportsjacket should be fine for lunch.

                                        1. re: VegasGourmet

                                          VG: I would go for the duck at Td'A, and the best bottle of wine you can manage from their legendary list of oldies and goodies! In fact, I am going to do just that next trip. :)

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            ChefJune, you've just turned a 75 € lunch (no wine) into a 300+ € meal.

                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                              not something one does every week -- or even every year, but... (before they get another star and the price goes up!)

                            2. re: PhilD

                              Hi.....I kinda like "safe"....I have Guy Savoy, Joel Rubuchon, Andre Rochat and much more here in Vegas...with beautifully sourced product and expansive tasting menus...just think for this trip...my first..."comfort" and "casual" are my key words.

                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                The chefs may be French, but their places in Vegas are American. Trust me, you'll know the difference!

                                1. re: VegasGourmet

                                  I think it's a mistake, coming to Paris for a food trip and not including one or two top tier fine dining experience. If you're familiar with Savoy in Vegas, why not try the real thing? Or one of the truly awesome and unique restaurants around here, such as Ledoyen or Pierre Gagnaire. Unlike in the US, fine dining here doesn't have to be stiff and stuffy. I would definitely trade a couple of restaurants on your list for a lunch there, especially since the cost is about the same (honestly, dinner at Joséphine and lunch at Ledoyen cost about the same).

                                  1. re: souphie

                                    I also have a local Ducasse, Robuchon, Gagnaire, plus a new Akrame opening, Christophe Pelé's new place, and the imminent arrival of Fabrice Vulin. We also have Laduree, Pierre Herme, John-Paul Hévin shops and an Eric Kayser bakery. Then there is the new wave of French bistros doing all the classics (I think French chefs and restaurant owners fleeing the slow economy to make money in Asia) so on the surface no reason to visit Paris as it's all coming to me.

                                    But, and is a big but, it really isn't the same. It's mainly good, sometimes great, but it isn't Paris - ingredient quality is an issue - Akrame Benallai is rumored to be flying in ingredients from France. So I still love heading for France and trying a broad range of restaurants, I love the cosy traditional good, I equally like the chefs who are experimenting (Youpi et Voila) and I love the grand meals as they are really only that grand and stylish in France.

                                    I appreciate you are not me and have different tastes, but you do seem passionate about searching out great food, and your generally safe list (safe is my polite way of saying boring) will mean you miss out on a lot of wonderful creative food.

                                    1. re: PhilD

                                      Actually Phil....with the exception of adding "left-over" to "homemade lasagna" we really have similar tastes. :-)
                                      Realistically, I don't expect to be able to "experience" the dishes in Paris the way most here can; I am using a more basic/safe, albeit boring, direction...allowing for a hopeful surprise or two..and focusing more on the bistro than the restaurant. I still have time to create a wishlist with more finality, obviously; but any recommendations for that "homemade lasagna feeling" that comes with a particular bistro/dish is greatly appreciated. Thx again

                                2. re: PhilD

                                  If the OP wants to keep it local, the fromagerie Sanders in the Marché Saint-Germain/ rue Lobineau has a great selection of cheese... so much so that, together with convenience, there is almost no need to make a trek to the more famous Barthélemy or Dubois. The food section of the Marché Saint-Germain also includes a decent poissonnerie, and an ok fruit & veg guy. And on the way on the rue de Seine, Gérard Mulot for pastries and Pierre Marcolini for chocolates or, with a little detour, my fave pâtisserie Pierre Hermé on the rue Bonaparte.

                                  The épicerie section of La Crèmerie bar à vins on the rue des Quatre Vents has great selection of potted pâtés and other goodies. It just opened a larger offshoot called, surprise surprise, La Grande Crèmerie on the rue Grégoire de Tours (just metres from the OP's place)... I haven't been yet but I assume it has the same set-up and takeout options.

                                  Although a bit of a walk, the charcuterie and other stuff at Gilles Verot on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs near St-Placide métro is superb (and priced accordingly).

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    "It just opened a larger offshoot called, surprise surprise, La Grande Crèmerie on the rue Grégoire de Tours (just metres from the OP's place)... I haven't been yet but I assume it has the same set-up and takeout options."
                                    I have been and was underwhelmed.

                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                      As an épicerie/ takeaway ? Or as a cantine/ bar à vins ?

                                      BTW, I'm addicted to the Conserverie Saint Christophe patés and terrines in jars that they sell at the original Crèmerie and, I hope, the new place too. .

                                    2. re: Parnassien

                                      On my first afternoon, my list includes: Pierre Herme @ 72 rue Bonaparte, Gerard Mulot @ 76 rue de Seine, Arnaud Larher @ 93 rue de Seine, Pierre Marcolini @ 89 rue de Seine, La Fromagerie 31 @ 63 rue de Seine, Da Rosa @ 79 rue de Seine, La Derniere Goutte @ 6 rue de Bourbon le Chateau, Henri Le Roux @ rue de Bourbon le Chateau, and Eric Kayser @ 10 rue de l'Ancienne Comedie....my spelling might be off, but this is my first excursion in the neighborhood....plus the Carrefour Odeon for stuff.

                                      1. re: VegasGourmet

                                        That's a lot of bakeries for one day. Perhaps you plan to consume something from each on day one, but if not, best to buy the day (or within a few hours) of eating -- the flavors and textures will be exponentially superior.

                                        1. re: VegasGourmet

                                          If you do all that, VG, I fear you won't be eating dinner that evening, nor possibly anything all the next day! Oh my!

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            It sounds like a lovely window-shopping expedition. I love to get a handle on my options before making the final decisions, unless, of course, I buy one piece at this shop and another at another.

                                            FWIW, I found Marcolini's guimauves uninteresting compared to many homemade I've sampled or made.

                                            1. re: mangeur

                                              mangeur....that was my idea...to explore. I see the area that I am staying in to be much like the West Village in NYC (where I spent my teenage years in the early '60s)....obviously, I am dealing with a quality level that I have not experienced yet...with Marcolini, LeRoux, Mulot, et al....

                                        2. re: Parnassien

                                          Parnassien, You wrote this in the current JT thread and it speaks "volumes" to what (and many others of my experience level) are looking for in our trip to this wonderful city. ...."Thanks for the compliment, Talbott le Vénérable. I think you and I try, often in vain, to show that there is no one correct answer to the question "where to eat". There is such an abundance of choice in Paris that no restaurant is really "incontournable" or unmissable. I also happen to think that using a restaurant not as a destination in itself but as the hook for exploring a quartier is a great way for any tourist to experience the parisien lifestyle."

                                          1. re: VegasGourmet

                                            VegasG,
                                            Yes, but I was referring to the real-life quartiers and micro-villages like the Haut-Marais, Les Batignolles, Abbesses, Ménilmontant, Faubourg St Denis, Butte aux Cailles, Aligre, etc and not Saint-Germain des Prés and other tourist zones. StGdesP is in some ways no longer very parisien and has become the domain of tourists, commuter shoppers, and the Saturday-night fever crowd from the suburbs. There is indeed a collection of amazing shops and cafés but its soul is somehow less inspired and inspiring than it once was. I'm too young to have known it in its heyday as the intellectual/literary, gay, jazz/ musical centre of Paris but, from the stories of my parents and grandparents, I'm sure that it was magical. Many echoes from those days do linger so it's hardly a disagreeable quartier and I do enjoy living in the 6th but, as a resident, I often need to go elsewhere to renew my Paris-ness. That's why I and others suggested that your insistence on dinner at restaurants in walking distance of the Cours du Commerce Saint-André might unnecessarily limit your exposure to and appreciation of real-life Paris and today's food scene.

                                            1. re: Parnassien

                                              The more I read and research, the more I do agree with your point; unfortunately, Central Paris...from Notre Dame outward in a radius....is what it is, and much like my city in a larger scale, deals with the one main industry of that city: Tourism. Hopefully, the definition of "first trip" means that there will be a second, and third...and those will see me renting an apt in the outer parts. For this trip, the tourist "must-sees" combined with a lunch in that area is more the focus and a short walk to dinners and back is fine for the evening. So far, lunches at Les Climats, La Tour d'Argent, Café des Musees, Bistrot Capucine, Le122, La Cuisine de Phillipe, and Dans les Landes..while not Savoy, Rubuchon, et al, should (based upon today's reviews) offer quality and diversity...and, hopefully, a little less monotone than originally planned.

                                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                Folks, we removed a bunch of posts from here. As the discussion got further and further away from food and more into discussing how posters post on Chowhound, it also got less friendly. We tried to leave up discussion of specific restaurants, and we don't think we removed any food info, but if you want copies of any of your posts back, please drop us a line at moderators@chowhound.com.

                        2. Your - the gurus - thoughtfulness and effort on this board continues to impressive me, and this is especially well demonstrated on this thread. Many thanks.

                          Bit off topic VG, and personal prefernces vary as you see, but may I suggest limiting your number of museums to 2 or so for the week for your first trip? As someone who plans museum/gallery visits as carefully as restaurants it's best to see about 2 that you like and visit each of them on couple of occasions if possible ( like 1.5 hrs before lunch, then return to same for another 2 hrs w/ vision inspired by beautiful meal and wine : ) Seeing 4-5 museums in a week is not only exhausting but unmemorable, and IMO worse than having two successive heavy meals.