Here is my "Guide to Paris." You can read it on-line but to have a permanent copy you have two choices. Remember, there's this message and Part 1 on this page and Part 2 at the bottom of this page.
2) Copy the message and Part 1 and paste them to a document and save it to your desktop. Then do the same with Parts 2 and 3 (found at the end of Part 1 - just click on Parts 2 and 3). Then you can read it, print it out, whatever, at your convenience.
I would appreciate it if you would send me a mini report on your hotel (room size, helpful staff, cleanlines or lack thereof, etc) - I will add them to my list to help others who are looking for information.Be sure to check the site and Guide regularly as changes are constantly being made.
If I can help you with hotels or any other questions or information about Paris or France, don't hesitate to ask. E-mail me anytime at FMinParis@aol.com and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. We've been going for 18 years and I can't get enough of being there or talking about it.
Let's hear from you when you get back.
Paris is getting expensive. Prices are going up and with the rise in the euro, it's costing a whole lot more than it used to. The French are feeling the pinch also. Prices change so quickly that you have to use all the costs given as very approximate and expect regular changes. There's no way I can keep up with them.
|geography||arriving and to your hotel|
|drinking water||Jacquemart Andre Museum|
|onion soup||Hotel de Ville|
|electricity||chateau de vincennes|
|to see and do||bird market|
|compass tip||stamp market|
|major sites||tea salon|
|metro||boat rides on the Seine|
|carnets||a thrill to see|
|taxi note||museum pass||paying and getting euros:||la samaritaine|
|ballet, opera||pere lachaise cemetary|
|shopping||weather and dress|
|vat (tax)||Bobbi's rule|
|fashion show||bus tours|
|scarves||bathrooms and toilets|
|perfumes and cosmetics||telephone and telecartes|
|Musee Marmottan||day trips|
|wine museum||travel by auto|
Here's the complete, unabridged geography of Paris in one brief paragraph - not easy, but no one said this would be easy. The Seine runs through the middle of Paris, basically east-west. The right bank is north of the Seine, the left bank south. In the middle of the Seine are two islands, Ile de la Cite and Ile St Louis. The city is roughly divided into 20 areas or arrondisements (ah-rohn-dees-mohn) starting in the center and spiraling out clockwise. It is rumored that there are some Parisiens who actually know the demarcation lines between adjacent arrondisements but nobody knows who they are.
To Your Hotel:
Be smart. Start your vacation the right way, no hassels, no problems, no delays, no waiting for shuttles to show up and drop off other people, no schlepping luggage through long halls of the metro and up and down steps, door to door service. Walk outside the terminal and get on the taxi line. Don't take the drivers standing out there - very expensive. Take the taxis with "Taxi Parisien" sign on the roof. Should run you about $45-50 depending on traffic and amount of luggage. If you don't speak French, or know the location of your hotel and the correct pronounciation of the French terms, it would be a good idea to write on a card, in block letters, the name and address of your hotel to show the driver.
You don't have to spend a bundle to eat very well. Remember they are "service compris" - tax and tip are included in your bill. You absolutely do not have to leave a tip in addition - it is not expected. The amount you see on the "carte", (our menu), is the total price including tax and tip. The best value is the "menu", pronounced "men-new" - a priced fixed dinner with a choice of entree (our appetizer), plat (our entree), and dessert. Coffee is usually not included. Incidentally, coffee in France is not served like it is here. There you get one cup - that's it. If you want more you pay for it. Ordering a la carte will cost more but you have more selections and can order just the course you want. Some restaurants include wine in their "menu". Always make reservations. Almost all restaurants now have English menus and someone who speaks enough English to explain the food to you. If you're calling for a reservation it would make it easier if you have the hotel personnel do it for you just in case. Telephone #'s are from Paris; from States dial 011-33-1 and the last 8 #'s (drop the 01).
I always decide on my first couple of nights dining and write a few weeks before for reservations, then confirm when I arrive. If plans change I can always cancel. If I have a special place I want to go to later on, I'll write for reservations there also. I'd rather cancel if plans change rather than not be able to get in. For the major places (Taillevent, Lucas Carton, Jules Verne, etc, you should make reservations months in advance.
NOTE: Directions from Metro stations for restaurants and sights are to enable you to locate them. You may be better off going to other stations depending on your location and the metro line that you're on.
Here are some restaurants we've tried and enjoyed. However, remember that on any given night a restaurant can be better or worse than other nights, from the lowliest bistro to Michelin starred places. Also prices , owners, names may change. Lots of changes in Paris happening constantly, impossible to keep up with. Now if I lived there, it would be different, so if all of you would stake us to an apartment in Paris, I'd be glad to check them out daily.
NOTE: To call the waiter, say "Monsieur" (missyer); to call the waitress say "Madame" (Mah-dahm), whatever her age.
NOTE: Prices are approximate - may have changed due to restaurants themselves changing them and/or the value of the dollar. Prices in Paris are going up, some restaurants have discontinued the prix-fixe menu or have gone to two courses instead of three. You'll have to check as I cannot keep up with all the changes. That's if they are still open. Many have closed.
Lunches are covered in Guide to Paris Part 2 or click here lunch .
Le Grand Bistro, formerly Bistro du 17eme
108 ave Villiers
Exactly the same restaurant as before; just a change in name. Excellent. One of the great values in Paris dining and is now our favorite. A very pretty place, subdued lighting, excellent food, attentive service, 42 euro for a three course dinner including coffee and a bottle of wine per couple. Say hi to Sebastian who runs it and is a very friendly gentleman. Open every day. Metro Pereire.
Out of station do an about face, walk to corner, cross street (have to walk a bit to the right). Restaurant is about 100 feet to the right.
Le P'Tit Troquet
28, rue de L'Exposition
Excellent. One of our favorites for many years. A small (8 tables) lovely, sweet, charming restaurant. The former owners, Dominique and Patrick, retired to the south of France and the restaurant's proprietaire is Jose Madueno. Excellent food, service, very warm and intimate. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Metro Ecole Militaire
Walk north on Ave Bousquet, take 2nd left and 1st right.
Auberge de la Reine Blanche
30, rue St Louis-en-L'Ile
Metro: Pont Marie
Excellent and sweet. This has really come up in the world. Recently bought by new owners. Cleaned up but basically the same charming restaurant with the miniature furniture on the walls. Excellent food. Good, old fashioned, basic, not fancy food. Arround 30 euro. Very pleasant ambiance, good service, friendly. Open every day. Metro: Pont Marie.
walk across bridge on to Isle St. Louis. Go 1 block and turn left on rue St Louis-en-L'Ile - on left.
La Madeleine de Castellane
5, rue de Castellane
Tel: 01 42 65 00 12
Excellent. A new arrival on the scene and excellent. Our Paris friends joined us and all of us loved it. Pascale is the sweet, jovial woman who handles the dining room. Say hi to her and Andre. 35 euro menu. Closed Sunday. Metro Madeleine
Walk around the church to the back and walk north on rue Tronchet. First street on left is rue de Castellane. On left.
19, ave de La Motte Picquet
Super little place, seats about 25 people, wonderful food, service.. Tell Laurent I said hello. He's the manager, a very charming young man who will take very good care of you. 32 euro menu. Open Mon-Sat, closed the 1st Sat of the month. Metro: Ecole Militaire.
Walk north-east on Ave Motte-Picquet. On right.
Cafe de la Paix
12, Blvd des Capucines
I think this is a fantastic place. More expensive but nowhere near the Taillevent, Le Grand Vefour group. It's beautiful, elegant, lovely, charming. I could just picture people a hundred years ago having dinner there in their finery. The restaurant has been there since 1879 and was completely renovated several years ago. The chef is a 2 star chef from the Ritz Hotel and he wants to get stars for this place. A la carte only, should run around 90 euro/person plus wine. If you come early and get your order in by 7:30, there's a 38-48 euro menu. If he gets his stars, who knows? This place is a tremendous value for the money. If you're looking to dress up a bit (although not necessary) and feel you're in a special place, this would be the one without getting into the really high priced places. Open every day.
Metro: Opera. Across the street.
123, rue Lauriston
Excellent restaurant, fine and wonderful without getting into the Michelin star expense. Small, beautifully decorated. David is the owner - say bonjour for me but he only speaks French. Not to worry - the waiters speak English. You can hello to Mario. Figure about $120-150 per couple. Menus and a la carte. metro Trocadero
walk north on rue Raymond Poincare. Turn left on 2nd street on left (rue Lauriston).
1, rue de Bac
Plain looking from outside, just a neighborhood place, but really good and pretty imside. About a 23 euro menu. Metro: Rue de Bac.
Walk north on rue de Bac to Seine.
31, rue St. Dominique
Very good restaurant. In a very quiet residential area on rue St Dominique; the eastern end near the central area, not by the Eiffel Tower. Delicious food, very good service. Only knock on it was that it was very loud and that was with all the people there French except us, but it has a low ceiling and the noise level really rises. Not a quiet, relaxing place but well worth the money. No menu but inexpensive. Entrees run $5-7, plats run $10-12, desserts about $6. Olivier speaks English and will explain everything to you. Say hello from me. Metro Solferino
walk west on rue St Dominique
La Fontaine de Mars
129, rue St Dominique
A warm, welcoming, comfortable restaurant with very good food. Say hello to Christianna who handles the dining room. A la carte - about $33. M- Ecole Militaire
Directions- Same as Le P'tit Troquet but continue to corner to rue St Dominique.
Le Vieux Bistro
14, rue de Cloiture Notre Dame
Across the street from the north-east side of Notre Dame. Very pretty. Dominque is the very friendly, jovial maitre d'. Say hi to him for me. Wonderful dinner, pretty - much better at night than lunch. A la carte.
16, rue Tholoze
A wonderful little local restaurant tucked away on a side street in Montmartre. Ten tables, very French, very good food. Two dinner menus - $20/$23. metro Abesses
walk right on rue des Abesses - make third right on rue Tholoze - up the street on the right.
Philippe Excoffier Restaurant, formerly Auberge de Champs du Mars
18 rue de l'Exposition
M- Ecole Militaire. - perfectly charming, neighborhood restaurant. I haven't had the opportunity to try the new place with the new chef/owner but several people rated it excellent. Metro: Ecole Militaire
walk north on Ave Bousquet, left on rue de Grenelle, first right on Exposition - on left up the street.
15, rue Lamenais
A little bit of heaven. Everything beautiful and perfect. Warm welcome, amazing service, excellent food, very friendly. Owner Jean Claude Vrinat is right there keeping everything flowing smoothly. Greets and says goodby to everyone. Dishes for lunch ran about $30-35 each. For dinner you can double that. If you're going for the big splurge, you'll be happy here, but it's quite a splurge.
Le Grand Vefour
17, rue de Beaujolais
Fine and wonderful, like Taillevent, but different. Glitzier, not as subdued. About $45 for lunch, double for dinner. One street north of the Palais Royal Gardens
1, rue de Mail
A very friendly, comfortable restaurant. Almost all the servers are waitressses (uncommon in France), good food, very pleasant. Metro Sentier
Walk east on rue de Quatre Septembre to corner. Turn left (rue de Clery). That becomes rue de Mail after one block - on right.
So you've been in Paris many days and that French food is starting to get to you? How about some good old American meat and mashed potatoes? There's a Brasserie called "Chez Clement" on Blvd des Capucines across from the Opera Garnier that offers a Grand Grille for $13. You get a green salad and a plate of chicken, roast beef, ribs (one of each) and mashed potatoes - really good. There are 6 others around Paris - on rue Marbeuf, Blvd Montparnasse, the Champs-Elysees, a few others. Lots of other good food here also.
Understand these are just a few of the thousands of different restaurants all over Paris, from bistros to cafes, brasseries, wine bars, and on and on. Do some investigating - that's part of the fun. Almost all restaurants in France have their menus displayed outside, even if they're not open at that time. So as you stroll during the day check them out. Incidentally, ties and/or jackets are not required except in the most expensive places. But you should dress appropriately.
Always make reservations in advance. The restaurants are usually quiet until about 8:30 so go later if you like more "action". If you have young children, I would suggest going early, around 7:00, 7:15.
The French really don't understand the concept of sharing. None of this "one piece of cake and 2 forks." If you want to share a dish, when you order say "nous allons partager" (noo-zalohn pahrtahzhay). Then they'll give you another plate to divide the food.
If you're looking for cheap eats ($10-12) go to Metro St. Michel - facing the fountain walk to your left crossing Blvd St. Michel - walk up rue de la Huchette and rue de la Harpe - lots of inexpensive restaurants there. Check them all out - there will be guys standing outside trying to get you into their place.
There's a good food translation guide:
Patricia Well's book - "Food Lovers Guide to Paris" has a whole section in the back on translation of foods - copy it and take it with you.
Drinking water: The water all over France is safe to drink. However, it is not routinely put on the table as it is here. If you want tap water, ask for "une carafe d'eau" (oon carafe doh). Bottled water "une bouteille d'eau" (oon bootay doh) comes carbonated "au gaz"(oh gahz) or without "sans gaz" (sahn gahz). My personal favorite is Badoit (ask for "an Badwah"), really good carbonated water. A full bottle is "un Badoit Grand" (an badwah grahn), a half bottle is "un Badoit demi" ( an badwah duhmee). Another good one is San Pellogrino.
If you're looking for baked onion soup you may not find a soup listing on the menu. Look for "Gratinee a l'Oignon", probably listed under "Buffet Chaud" (hot buffet).
The waiter will rarely bring you the check, "l'addition" (lah-dees-yohn), until you ask for it. In France the table is yours for as long as you want it (by law). Many restaurants do not operate on the turnover style - one seating is all they have, especially outside of Paris. And remember, the bill already includes tax and tip.