Heading to Paris, France tomorrow. I know all the touristy stuff... but I love a good meal and great coffee. Any personal favorites out there? I have basically three days, where I will be in and out of meetings with some free time.
I've never been to Paris but Le Select is one of the places I've always wanted to visit. Hemingway used to drink there and a good portion of The Sun Also Rises is supposedly set there.
Not trying to be rude at all, but I'm not sure you're going to get much feedback here assuming 90% of us haven't been to Paris. You'd be better off looking for such information on any respected travel website, nevertheless enjoy your time abroad.
I figure it would be a select audience, but if there were a handful of experienced travelers with a favorite watering hole... it would be worth the post.
Don't underestimate the reach of this fanbase. Short answer is café Verlet.
I've lived in Paris for the last 2.5 years. Most cafés are pretty much the same so it depends what you want in terms of experience. If you just want to do something Parisian, any cafe is fine - just face outside and scowl at people.
If you want good coffee - a typical cafe is not where you want to be. Go to places like coutume, kookaburra, or caféotheque. Aforementioned Verlet is the only typical French cafe that has good coffee that I've found, and I knew some real coffee snobs.
If you're looking for food - my favorite meal in town is at l'avant comptoir (before the counter). It's standing-only French food tapas style. Cheap and incredible. Roast beef carpaccio with basalmic, olive oil, and Parmesan. Pork belly caramelized, etc.
Harry's New York Bar. Incomparable atmosphere.
LaCoupole. Incomparable food and service.
Cafe de la Paix. Incomparable streetscape.
I had the most fun just wandering late at night in Montparnasse and the 14th Arondissement. Wherever there sounded like good music or crowds of good-looking people was usually pretty interesting.
But an MGoBlogger who has lived in Paris for 2.5 years is a pretty good source of advice...
I second Harry's New York bar (don't know the others) but make sure you go to the basement. They invented several cocktails there and it's one of several thought to have been frequented by Hemmingway.
Cocktail bars are popular and there's lots. Another I recommend is candelaria, but Americans usually only want to go to a Mexican place if they've been out of the country for a long while.
Bonus that there's a Michigan pennant there (at Harry's). One of many, but it's there.
Chinese restaurant named Dave. Walls festooned with Polaroids of Dave with every a-list celeb imaginable. Very popular with fashion and Hollywood types. But no one else really knows about it so not really touristy. More likely to see celebs if you go for a late dinner. Dave is a very flamboyantly gay Chinese man. And the food is actually good. A fun and off the beaten path spot.
Very touristy. Near the Louvre. But the best hot chocolate you'll ever have. Another touristy option but also fun is Les Deux Magots in the Saint Germain area.
Le Cave in Montmartre is amazing. Nouvelle Eve is cool, too, but the one right around the corner from it (name escapes me) is even better.
Shouldn't be touristy. Had a great, long, boozy lunch there a couple of years ago.
Bistrot de la Grille St. Germain
14, Rue Mabillon
Metro: Mabillon/ St. Germain-des-Pres
8 yrs to be exact but wifey and I stayed in a hood called La Marais ( the swamp) it had every sort of fabulous bar and restaurant on every fresking block.
Having said that, if I was going back today, I'd be all over tripadvisor
If you go see Notre Dame, make sure you go to Berthillon Glacier on the nearby Ile Saint Louis, it's some of the best ice cream you'll ever have. When I was in Paris I think went there 5 or 6 times. They have some unique flavors, all of which are delicious. It's definitely worth the wait.
Link on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/berthillon-glacier-paris
I second this. Berthillon is great. More than the ice cream though its just the general vibe of this area. Go there late at night, get a table outside and see the world pass by.
As far as cafes go, there are couple very popular ones on Blvd. St. Germain. There are some awesome street foods in the Blvd. St. Michel There are to two Moaz outlets in there with excellent Felafels - among the best vegetarian food your will find anywhere.
I third this. Also, L'As du Falafel in the Marais has amazing falafel, and according to their sign, Lenny Kravitz agrees.
They must put crack in that falafel. It's transcendent. Hot sauce is amazing as well.
Find out which arrondisemont you're staying in and start looking in that general area. I'd recommend a brasserie as the food is generally medium priced, unpretentious, lively ambiance and generally very good. The people watching is terrific.
I'd get a little book or list of menu names for different foods. I try to avoid sweetbreads and organ meats.
The Guide Michelin is a great guide for many European regions. I'd recommend checking out the Guide (pronounced GEED in French) app for smart phones. It'll tell you the top things to do and how long each will take, it rates restaurants by stars (quite accurately) and has great maps.
The red books are available in the travel section of any major bookseller. As I recall there are two red books: one is restaurants and the other is tourist information for a given city or region. The colors may have changed.
A concierge can be helpful although if you're staying in an American hotel, you might get the touristy expensive place with mediocre food.
Paris is a wonderful walking city and you'll miss a lot of sights and get to meet really rude drivers if you take a cab! In at least 5 trips to France, the only rude people I met were cab drivers and I don't speak French.
The best way to approach anyone is to use whatever French words you may know to say, "Pardon, monsieur/madame, I have a problem." You have just given them permission to try speaking English as well as they can and they love to help. The French are reluctant to speak bad English and feel embarassed if they misspeak. If you're both making fools out of yourself, it will be really enjoyable!
12 years since I've been to Paris, but last time there, I are at one if the restaurants in the Eiffel Tower. The food was good, didn't seem too touristy, and the view was spectacular!
My personal favorite is a small pseudo-touristy place called La Refufe Des Fondu. As the name implies, its a fondue joint. However, the kicked is that they server you wine from baby bottles. You'll leave in the best of spirits, and a memory that will last a lifetime.
The place is 2-3 blocks from Sacre couer. If you have some time in the area, I highly reccomend it!
Find a neighborhood dense with restaurants--the Marais is a good one--and walk slowly with yours eyes open. You'll find a place, it'll be yours and it won't have come from the guidebook. That's where the romance comes from.
That's how my wife & I found this place: http://www.comptoirdelagastronomie.com/cms.php?id_cms=14, which had great food.
Enjoy. (Okay three pieces.)
(Which is just south of the Seine River from the Louvre & Notre Dame) Check out Le Comptoir, great food, though I still found it to be pricey for what we got (welcome to Paris in general). I'd avoid the more famous Cafe de Flore & Les Duex Magots unless you are down paying €15 for single glass of brandi.
The Latin Quarter is pretty cool and has cafes that are much friendlier on the wallet (numerous prefix menus for under €20).
We were generally happier when we stuck with the basics (croissants, baguettes, croque messiers, onion soup, crepes, steak frites). Kinda like getting a good slice in New York or a good taco in L.A.
If you are drinking, most cafes and brasseries have crap beer selection. Heineken, Leffe & 1664 are pretty much standard. Stick with the house wine, it's cheaper and better.
If you are into farmer's markets, check out the St Germain covered market. Awesome food to be had.
on our honeymoon. Still remember getting a simple ham/cheese/tomato sandwich on fresh baked bread from a street vendor - delicious. We were right by the Arch with a street musician playing an accordion. Felt ilke we were in a French movie. Also remember drinking coffee at a cafe - we paid for each cup! No bottomless refills; water was precious at the time. Hope you enjoy your time there.
I went to Paris a few days after they won the '98 World Cup so I got to experience the French people in rare form, happy and accommodating to foreigners. It's a great city. I don't remember any cafes though. I wasn't drinking coffee when I was 15. I don't even drink that much now. I guess I just wanted to say that I've been to Paris. Also, this thread is what outsiders would use to make fun of MGoBlog.
It's the offseason. We can't make 400 posts on Ohio players being arrested to entertain ourselves for another month, can we?
Have not been to Paris as a working adult (and thus, ate at the cheapest places we could find) but will share this WSJ about how the neighborhood bistros have been using frozen meals from the French equivalent of Sysco.
Would second the guy above who said buy a Michelin guide. Also would recommend finding Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations: Paris episode with Eric Ripert (owner of Le Bernadin in NYC and used to be part of WestEnd Bistro in DC).
Part of the fun is to throw out the guides, tho, and just wander around. I tend to overplan vacations, so I will make ONE fancy-shmancy dinner reservation per city and the rest of the time we will wander about and try to explore. Helps if you know the language, though :)
Paris is a zoo but I suppose it's okay to experience it once now before it becomes non existant in a few years. I usually di a Bastille cafe for breakfast (croc madame et chocolat chaud) and cafe outside the Pompidou center for afternoon drinks, Montmarte is okay but all tourists, not much local people watching. If you want great food it doesn't exist in Paris and especially not in Aout when everyone goes on vacation for a month. don't want to be debbie downer here but Paris is hot and misreable in late July, early August.
The timing of a visit in late July/August isn't really the best because many local people are out of town on their own holidays. And with so many tourists in town (many of them English speaking) you might find yourself wondering where are all the French people.
Sorry I don't have any good coffee house recomendations to share. As some of the others have noted, Paris is not really a die hard coffee town so probably whatever is most local to your accomodations will be fine.
As opposed to a cafe town. However if you are looking for genuinely good coffee a good compromise (plus a few minutes free wi if) can be found at Cafe Malongo, 50 Rue St Andre Des Arts in the 6th between Olace St Michel and St Germaine des Pres. Nice walking neighborhood too
As you can tell from my profile I rarely post even though I'm on this site several times a day even in the off-season. But I live in Paris now and have for the past 1 1/2 years, just next to the Crazy Horse near the Place d"Alma in the 8th arrondissement, so this is a rare occasion where I feel I can actually add something of value to the conversation.
And that is... it's all good. Not knowing where you'll be you should just walk around a bit and drop into a cafe or brassarie that looks good. The thing about these places is that they all have very similar menus (i.e. most brassaries serve the same ~7 main dishes, and if they didn't they'd be restaurants and not brassaries). Location, convenience and atmosphere should be the determining factors. If you're looking for a nice restaurant, or want a modern/asian/Brittany/olde tyme/etc. flavor on a traditional brassarie or cafe because you've lived in Paris for 1 1/2 years and are bored then that's a different and longer story. But if you're there for three days in and out of meetings then the important thing is just that you go to one that looks good and enjoy the food and experience.
That said, I can agree with most of the above. Deux Magots is definitely touristy, but is traditional (waiters wear black and white), not more exensive than any cafe in a nice part of Paris and it's on a nice square with good people watching. Some friends south of us rave about Cafe du Metro, but only becaue that place is like Cheers to them. Since you'll probably be near the Eiffel Tower at some point, the Cafe de la Tour just east of the tower is nice. Closer to my apartment is Chez Francis, which is a cafe/restaurant. Too pricey for dinner, and the service is awful since it caters to the tourists coming off of the Bateau Mouches river cruises, but the view of the Eiffel Tower from there is fantastic (and if you didn't already know the tower sparkles for 5 mins at the top of each hour after dark until 1AM). The cafe gourmand there is 9 Euros and gets you a shot of expresso an three mini-desserts so if you're in the area you could do worse.
Also, understand that waiting tables in France is a profession, not a part-time job like in the states. The waiters are there to engage as equals, not to be your friend. This comes across as rude to Americans (and there are some truly rude waiters) but understand it for what it is. Also, it's considered rude for the waiter to hand you your bill (the implication is that they are rushing you out of their cafe to turn tables more quickly) so understand that you will have to ask for your bill - your waiter is not just ignoring you.
Final point on the coffee. Back in the day when Ann Arbor was the only city in the state where you could get espresso, French coffee seemed like the best thing on earth to me. Now that Starbucks are everywhere in the states and I've gotten used to how I like my espresso, I find the French espessso to be a bit lighter and slightly more sour than I'd prefer. It's still good, but don't expect it to knock your socks offl
Hope you enjoy your time in Paris. I love the city and even its inhabitants. And for Pete's sake when you're there as an Ameican please dress well, learn hello/goodbye/please/thankyou and understand it's polite to say bonjour whenever you enter someplace and au revoir when you leave. Hope you have a good experience.
I spent a year in France and definitely agree with all this. That last paragraph can't be stressed enough. If you follow the basic social cues (give greetings when you come/go, don't raise your voice in public - basically, don't be an asshole), and make even the tiniest effort to initiate a conversation in French, even if it's just "Excusez-moi monsieur/madame, parlez-vous anglais?" - the vast majority of people will be friendly to you (and they'll very frequently switch to speaking English to help you out).
When I was in France, in the tourist areas, I saw way too many "ugly Americans" who made zero effort to blend in, were loud, and complained all the time. I'm sure they annoyed a lot of locals; they annoyed me as a fellow American.
Always add the monsieur, madame or mademoselle as in bonjour, monsieur
When going to the louvre bring the baby in a stroller. We got pulled out of line and taken to the front.
Since you live in Paris, a follow up question: My sister wants me to find a French Rolling Pin (used for nutmeg)... Kind of a long story about Grandma's famous nutmeg made with her French Rolling Pin that she got in Paris that is being willed to another family member who doesn't cook... Anyway. A place in Paris that sells quality culinary products would be appreciated, if you know of one.
The best shop for French cookware is E. Dehillerin. Very old school, with everything you could ever possibly need or want. Their pastry selection is excellent, as is their collection of copper pans and molds.
Au Chien qui Fume. For the name alone.
The bitch with the smokes...or wait...?
At the place of the (male) dog that smokes.
Carton. Rue de longchamp and avenue victor hugo in the 16th. Lived practically above it for 2 years.
When in Paris...
If you had gone to Paris with my family two summers ago, you wouldn't feel this way at all.
Great little place for dinner. It's at 3 Rue Etienne Marcel.
for dinner, try l'ardoise, near the Vendome. reasonable prix fixe menu that was outstanding.
Was in Paris for several days in May. We stayed in a great little hotel near Place d'Odeon, in the 5th arrondissement, not far from the Pantheon and from Hemingway's first Paris residence (if you're at all interested).
Marco Polo serves great food at competitive (not cheap) prices. But you can order just le plat without the entre that comes with the prix fixe plat du jour. Remember in France the entre is just that --- a first course or appetizer; le plat is the main course.
Marco Polo's clientele is a good mix of locals and les touristes. The surrounding area is also a "happening place" with a number of good bars and restaurants filled with young crowds (as I observed from a distance). tour
Not so much a cafe' and I've only been to Paris once, but there was a cool place to eat near, and please forgive me, Notre Dame (pronounced with the French accent). The direct translation for the place is called "The Inn of the Recruiting Sergeant." It got the reputation "back in the day" as a place where recruiting sergeants would wine and dine young men and talk them into enlisting in the French Army. Convincing them that good food and good drink was what the army was like, they signed on the dotted line and woke up to a nightmare the next day.
They serve most items 'family style' with long tables passing dishes and sides up and down the table. The house wine was awesome, as I recall. When you walk in, they open a bottle for you as you're waiting for your table. Neat place.
called "white people problems."
That being said, it's pretty cool that at least this many posters have been to Paris.
Well I can't beat the advice already given here, but let me add that for meals, it really is good to plan ahead (or crowdsource like you're doing here) because believe it or not I have had some of the WORST food ever in Paris, thinking, 'Oh everything is wonderful there, we'll just pop in to wherever.' But when I went with friends who planned ahead and scouted restaurant reviews beforehand, or with locals, I had the kind of food you talk about for years.
But that's restaurants; most cafes were fine and very much the same in terms of menu and quality, as others have said.
I had lovely meals at L'Ambassade d'Auvergne (near the Centre Pompidou) and Le P'tit Troquet (near the Eiffel Tower). Both are popular with tourists but not in a bad way; I mean they have good reputations for food and service.
If you really are just dying for some familiarity, there is a Canadian sports bar right on the Seine called (appropriately) "The Great Canadian." Poke fun all you want, but I was travelling with an introvert who spoke not one word of French and after several days of stomping around Paris feeling sweaty and very foreign (and speaking crappy high school french for two of us) that environment was just the rejuvenation we needed.
I know. I know. I'll be in Paris and should be enjoying the culture and all the sights, but I would still like to watch part of the Michigan vs. Minnesota game. Any suggestions other than an internet cafe?
Go to the great Canadian pub. They'll show it and they all speak English. UM club usually goes there for games.