Dining & Drinking, Paris
In most countries a brasserie = brewery is a place supposed to brew beer. Not in France where a brasserie is a place where one can drink beer, wine, coffee, sodas all the day but also eat breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The difference with a restaurant lies in the fact that the food served in a brasserie is generally (with exceptions) rather simple, less elaborate. Most served are salads, omelettes, toasts and steak frites. Nothing complicated to prepare especially at noon time when the brasseries are often full because employees have lunch there as well as people doing their shopping in the centre.
Do not assimilate the food of a brasserie to that of a Fast Food; there is an ocean of difference. A cultural difference and a dietetic difference. The problem of overweight is linked here to the "Burger" type food and the Parisiennes and Parisiens are, from what I observed, keen on staying slim especially in the areas with luxury shops like around La Madeleine or Place Vendome
You will see in a brasserie that most women eat salad. There are usually a dozen different ones on the menu. But even salad is not cheap in Paris, often around 12 € and more for a "Salade Caesar" type.
To be slim is a necessity when eating or drinking in a brasserie because the seats and the tables are so terribly close to each other.
Inside is non smoking; outside on the terrace is for smokers.
you have good options on free museums, discounts etc. in Paris
actually the best way is not to eat at restos, but try cafes and bakeries; brioche dorée is a chain all over, see them here
Buy your groceries in supermarkets like Franprix,
and G20 very inexpensive stuff there.
walking is the best part of it, you will have a great feel for the city as we all do it here.
transports get the carnet of 10 tickets and share them , at last resort, the walks are better.
This is an upcoming area along the canals for staying
and this one has great room in a hostal environment all at good prices and a nice Belushi's bar inside.
and you need to arrive by air most of you, so save on that too with low cost Airlines and not direct flights.
Fondest memory: walking its streets at night
no car no problems, you can go to Reims/Epernay or Beaune by train from Paris, the wine tours are right in the cities.
here is Beaune
here is Reims
contact for dates and times and you are on. Cheers
Fondest memory: walking
I must admit that escargot aren't on my list of foods to eat back home and I'm not sure why, but the the first time I ever tried escargot was here in Paris.
I was dining with my friend in a non discript little bistro in the 6th and he asked me if I wanted an order, not wanting to let on that I had never had them, I said of course.
I didn't think I would like them, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them ever since.
There are pleny of restaurants in Paris that have escargot as a "side or h'our douvre", so why not give them a try?
Fondest memory: My first time in Paris enjoying a side dish of this delicate dish with my friend Badri.
There is nothing quite as wonderous as a freshly baked baguette just out oven....leave it to my friend Badri to know exactly where to take us after a night out of partying.
We usually stop at a local bakery behind the Champs Elysees (can't recall the name) right before they send out their baguettes to other establishments....We chat up the owner while he sends us off with warm baguettes (or hot chocolate croissant) to curb our tummies before heading back to the hotel.
We never pay for our baguettes, I love the people of Paris :)
One of my fondest memories has to be waking up to a typical French breakfast. Delicious breads, Pain Chocolat, my favorite. Delectable cheeses, Camenbert, Brie, Raclettes for a start. Juice and strong black coffee. Not too much conversation at first.
Though we have to leave soon, the mood is relaxed and graceful. No rushing around, no stressful sighing. It was as if we had all the time in the world. Maybe that is why we always had to walk so fast. I don't know but it was a wonderful way to start the day.
It's almost impossible not to encounter a drinking water fountain when you walk at Paris.
Interesting enough they are called Wallace fountains after Sir Richard Wallace, who inherited a large fountain, what he spended in the public Paris interest during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. He founded a hospital and did everything to help the locals. The potable water supply became disrupted and prices went up; even the poor could not get water for free anymore.
Wallace spended much of his money to help out the thirsty needed and asked sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg to design the beatiful pieces of fountain art.
Nowadays there are 67 large model fountains, nine small model fountains, two colonnaded fountains and one applied model on the Paris streets.
Even outside Paris and France replica´s were installed.
Favorite thing: A small bottle of Evian mineral water cost about Euro 0,40 at mini-supermarket and the same cost about Euro 2,50 at vending machines. I guess it goes for other stuffs that you may need on your trip, whether drinks, food or other stuff. Where product is homogenous irregardless where it is purchased from, it would make better sense to visit the nearest mini-supermarket to get more value for money.
Ah, you MUST try macarons when in Paris! Not macaroons, those hard, coconut-ey confections in the US. These are to die for – crispy on the outside and chewy/light on the inside glued together with a gooey ganache - and they come in a super variety of flavors.
They are found at most patisseries but I recommend Pierre Hermé, Ladurée, Boulangerie Paul, and Gérard Mulot. I've also had wonderful macarons at the Ritz when I partook of Afternoon Tea there in 2003 and at a great little salon de the in the Passage Jouffroy called Le Valentin. I had some wonderful macarons in Chartres, too, at La Chocolaterie, billing itself as a Macaronnerie/Salon de The, which has a wide selection of macarons.
Click here for an excellent Pierre Hermé Chocolat Macaron recipé to make them on your own.
Fondest memory: Buying a singular small macaron from the Ladurée on the corner of rue de Seine & rue Jacob in St-Germain-des-Prés! My fave flavors are Rose, Caramel au Sel, Fleur d'Oranger & Pistache.
Cassis Violette was okay but had a confiture in the middle instead of the ganache. My least favorite macaron flavor would have to be Poivre de Java (black pepper) macarons from Ladurée - not terrible, not great, definitely edible but falls squarely into the "interesting" category.
In the 1st photo:
Clockwise from top - Pistache (pistachio), Poivre de Java (pepper), Cassis Violette (blackcurrant violet), Fleur d'Oranger (orange flower), Rose (rose), Caramel au Sel (salted caramel).
Photos: Feb 2006
Favorite thing: When it comes to Pastry and chocolate; I have found some heavenly treats here in Paris. Delicous hot chocolate, heavenly macarons, sinful pastry and other decadent items. I think one could truly live on sweet items in Paris and never grow tired of them.
Pont des Arts is my ultimate Parisian picnic experience. It's the place where my husband and I get entertained by a guitar or a sax, while enjoying the best views that Paris has on offer. We usualy go at sunset for an especially magical experience and never forget to take the wine or the champagne!
1ere and 6eme, Metro: Pont Neuf or Louvre-Rivoli
Here's a tip to avoid some embarrassing confusion. In France, a "restaurant" is for a whole meal, which means never order just a salad . If you're not very hungry and just want a salad, a sandwich, or an omelet, head for a "brasserie". In general, if the table which is covered with a tablecloth, it has been set up for a meal (and for the French, a meal is not a sandwich!). In a brasserie, for example, if you just want a sandwich, head for the "tableclothless" tables!
Prix-fixe menu du jour (several courses) or the plat du jour , made from the best buys at the daily market is the most economical choice. For a free glass of water with your meal, request une carafe d'eau.
During the lunch hour, in Paris, I noticed that it was common for the delis to run a special. For around 7 euros, you can get a sandwich, drink (typically soda), and dessert. It was fantastic, and well within my budget as a broke college student. The sandwiches were filling enough that the dessert was usually saved for a snack later in the day.
This is also true for dinner. In certain restaurants (in the highly touristy areas), you can get a 3 course meal for about 12-15 euros.
Many Paris museums have a cafeteria. Most are just useful like the big one under the Pyramide of the Louvre.
A few are charming:
Best is the restaurant at the median level (restaurant from the former station hotel) of the MUSÉE D'ORSAY:
Magnificent decor, correct food, efficient often kind service, normal prices for Paris.
The painted décor of the ceiling and walls is of Benjamin Constant and Gabriel Ferrier. I advise you to arrive at the opening at 11.45 am. Tearoom in the after noon and dinner on Thursdays evening.
(I don't recommend the Café and Cafeteria on the 5th and 6th floors).
Another charming place, when the weather is dry, is the cafeteria "Le Jardin de Varenne" of the MUSÉE RODIN located in the beautiful garden at the back of the Hotel Biron among 25 statues from Rodin. There are seats inside but by nice weather it is quite agreeable to eat a "baguette garnie" or sandwich with a glass of wine under the trees. Prices are normal (for Paris). One has to pay 1€ to enter the beautiful garden of the Rodin Museum.
At the PETIT-PALAIS museum (free) is a café-restaurant called "Le Jardin du Petit Palais" under the peristyle and looking on the interior garden of the Petit-Palais (open 10 - 17h; closed on Monday).
The restaurant at Musee d'Orsay has been mentioned and it is a good selection as it has nice ambiance. Another museum area choice would be the Cafe Marly at the outside of the Louvre. Lots of people watching as folks que up for entrance to the museum. Perhaps another alternative on a comfortable sunny day: find a Monoprix store - buy a baguette, chesse, cold cuts, and beverage and then proceed to the La Seine.
Fondest memory: Fondest memory is a toss up of the meal my wife and I had at La Tour d'Argent or the mystical experience of the late night mass at Notre Dame on Easter. The thing that I miss most is just walking aimlessly around Paris and stopping for the occasional expresso or other beverage and watching Paris go by.