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Paris Must Do's and Don't Bothers

My wife and I are going to Paris for Thanksgiving week, sans kids for the first time with them all off to college. My wife has never been to Paris, and I was last there almost 30 years ago.

We have checked out the RS lists, and we know Versailles and Paris museums are on the must do list. Those are front door must do's, but what else? What are the back doors that we RS types love? What are the 5 must do's, and conversely, the 5 don't bothers?

We also know that we have to account for weather and shorter days at this time of year.

Kevin

Posted by
10344 posts

If you can even find a Back Door in Paris, IMHO (and I realize I differ with our Glorious Benefactor and World's Greatest Tour Guide on this one)--IMHO it's not Rue Cler, uhm, I mean Rue Rick Steves.
But if you disregard this erudite advice, wave to the rest of us there, we'll be the ones on Rue Cler sneaking the blue and yellow books out of our Rick Steves travel bags.

Posted by
10344 posts

Sounds like you already know the obvious fav's.
I don't think there are any Back Doors left in Paris, the tourists of the world have pretty much seen everything there.
I'm not going to follow your 5 and 5 format, but here are a few good things to consider that aren't in everyone's Paris Top Ten List:

Views of the Seine walking from Pont de la Concorde to Pont de Sully
Pont Alexandre III
Musee Marmottan
Musee Carnavalet

Posted by
9110 posts

Don't bother: any place that might have sculpture or paintings inside.

Must do: any place that looks like it might sell beer.

Posted by
10344 posts

Once I tried to order a beer in Paris, and the waiter informed me, "We drink wine in Paris."
I did not get my beer. And finally I did break down and beg the waiter for wine (and a bottle too, not just a glass).

It may be that younger Parisian waiters have gotten more flexible about serving beer, over the years.
I think on my last trip I even ordered a beer, and actually got it.

But I suspect they would still prefer that you order wine in Paris. If that matters to you.

Posted by
279 posts

Thank you Kent.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that we are staying near the Rue Cler. We have rented an apartment, through Airbnb, that met our needs at a price half of what the hotels were charging. Our choice was based on the location with respect to transit options and times to the various must do's on the list. I am congnisant of the problem of a congregation of RS disciples in some locations, they miss the point of the word "guide" in guide book. We were once in a restaurant in Austria when another couple said to a family with a RS book, "I see you are Rick Steves people, so are we." The couple then proceeded to plan for the next day by reading, in order, the times and locations per Rick for their schedule. I cannot help but think that Rick would cringe. We slipped out the door thanking the waiter in German, with our RS book pages (I tear them out and only carry the ones I need) folded in my pocket.

Kevin

Posted by
10344 posts

Well, you are forgiven for staying in the environ of Rue Rick Steves.
And you get extra points for admitting it. Many here, I suspect, have stayed there but not admitted it.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I will now officially come out of the closet and admit that I, too, once stayed in Rue Cler.
It's fine, but I was told by a local that the locals are mystified why, out of all the similar neighborhoods in Paris, our Great Benefactor has singled out Rue Cler. And some locals do cynically call it Rue Rick Steves, I'm told.

Posted by
279 posts

What to drink, no problem, I don't like beer (and don't care when others ask how could I not), and I am deathly allergic to sulfites, thus I don't chance any wine.

Posted by
10344 posts

Well, at dinner it may be noted by the waiter, probably with a slight hint of disdain, that you aren't drinking wine.
Perhaps someone in your party could order wine, if for no other reason than to protect our cherished image of Americans abroad?
Or learn how to say in French, something like, "I profusely apoligize but I don't drink wine, but only because my doctor forbids it." That will probably get you off the Parisian hook.

Posted by
3713 posts

Blasphemy I know, but don't bother with Versailles if it is raining. I doubt that the security lines will be less than an hour wait, regardless of time of year or weather. There is no shelter from the storm while you wait. See Scott.Lewis's posting (Rick's advice about...) under Trip Reports for more rants and raves about Versailles.

Never mentioned must do is the daily 18:30 rekindling of the flame at the tomb of the unknown under the Arc de Triomphe.

Often missed must do, Saint Denis Basilica, burial place of most French kings and queens with fascinating sarcophagi.

Posted by
2353 posts

There is a pretty nice view of Paris from the roof terrace at Galeries Lafayette - the store interior is pretty nice as well.

This is scheduled for the week you will be there - learn & enjoy French Pastry in a Parisian's home

Find all of the Statues of Liberty

Posted by
239 posts

Since alcohol seems to be a topic here I will weigh in. Just returned from France. I am a beer drinker who just only rarely could tolerate the cost of beer(and Coke) in France, usually at least $7 plus for a bottle or small glass. I usually don't drink much wine in the U.S., due to getting stuffed up and headaches, but drank a lot of local, carafe, white wine all over the country, loved it everywhere, and never had a symptom!! It must be processed differently.
One of the touristy things I recommend doing in Paris is taking the double decker Hop-on, Hop off bus the first two days. We bought a two day pass, (we had great weather), 32 Euro, and it took us to all the major sights and neighborhoods and really gave us a great overview and orientation to the beautiful city. After that we targeted our sightseeing with a much better handle on the layout of the city. It also almost pays for itself in savings on taxis and Metro. Combine that with the Museum pass and you will stop and see some things that you may not have wanted to pay individual entry to or go out of your way to visit. ie; Napoleon's Tomb and Rodin Museum for us.
We also enjoyed the night time Seine cruise that leaves from next to the Eiffel Tower, looking at the illuminated Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero(and everywhere else) at night,and hanging out on the Sacre Coeur steps watching the people show and then walking through Montmartre. Le Pet' t Troquet was our favorite restaurant. Tough to not enjoy Paris no matter what you do.

Posted by
6465 posts

Do's: La Pagode Cinema and Gardens, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Musee Marmottan, (dbl check if its re opened in November) http://www.marmottan.fr/uk/, Pont Alexandre II bridge, Rodin Museum as well as enjoy the city at night.

Don't: Can't think of anything. Well, yes I can. The Mona Lisa. Bad presentation, always too crowded.

Posted by
711 posts

Although it is November we always like to visit the outdoor markets and we pick up a baguette , cheese, some olives , fruit and anything else that looks good...in fall apples or cider are good...and have a picnic on a bench. our favorites are the Saxe Breiteuill market close to Rue Cler area, the President Wilson Market and the Rue Mouffetard market. We also like the Porte de Vanves flea market on Saturday and Sunday morning . Most of the markets start closing down by 1 pm.

Posted by
2353 posts

Sometimes there are free exhibitions at the Hotel de Ville - we caught one - Haute Couture - the collection was outstanding!

The good news about Mona - not nearly as crowded in late November - especially on a Wed evening.

Posted by
10344 posts

Now we're getting to the meaning of European Travel. Why go? Well, if even one traveler like Brian discovers the joys of wine in France, it's all worth it.

Posted by
11292 posts

Kent, above, must have just gotten a bad waiter. I've seen plenty of beer served in Paris. And I often get a Coke Zero with my meal, and never once have I had so much as a raised eyebrow at the request. I too have heard the stories that Paris waiters are full of attitude and will sneer and jeer if you don't order "correctly," but I have never actually seen this. I actually did have this problem once in Barcelona, in a glorified cafeteria where the waiter thought he was a dictator of what I should and shouldn't order - but never in Paris.

Of the famous things, I personally love Ste-Chappelle. You must go early to enjoy it; the Museum Pass gets you past the ticket buyers line, but not the security line. And it's a small place and gets full. By going early, you can actually get a seat, and enjoy the beauty in comfort.

I also love going up the Arc de Triomphe (included on the Museum Pass). I did it twice, by day and by night. Similarly, a Seine cruise is different by day and by night, so I recommend doing both (assuming the weather cooperates).

Don't miss the view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero - a festive scene at night. I found the Sacre Coeur steps at night were populated by too many teenage drinkers for my taste.

If you want something different, try the Museum of Counterfeits. It's just a few rooms, and has not only fake purses, but more sinister things, like fake car parts and medicines that have caused fatalities. A bonus is that it's near Metro Porte Dauphine, one of the two intact original Metro entrances (Abbesses is the other one; the rest have been dismantled to varying degrees).

In the "overrated" department, high on everyone's list is the Champs-Elysees. I would just walk a small portion getting to or from the Arc de Triomphe; you'll quickly see that it's not special, and use your valuable time elsewhere.

But most important, follow your own instincts. I've been to Paris a bunch of times, but have never been to Versailles. I simply found other things interested me more at the time. If something interests you go, and if it doesn't don't, no matter what I or anyone else - or any book - says.

Posted by
8504 posts

Plenty of beer in France. That's the origin if the word brasserie--a place that makes beer. Someone was pulling your leg because you were a tourist. If it's hot out my husband orders a draft beer or a Belgium beer, or try a panache, the same as a German radler.

Posted by
4684 posts

My most under-rated Paris attraction is the permanent art exhibition at the Petit Palais on the Champs-Elysees. It's primarily French art of the late-nineteenth-early-twentieth century, but if you like that period it's a must. It's also free entry.

Posted by
8504 posts

Philip, Not a blockbuster museum but with some interesting works, such as Courbet's Le Sommeil with two naked entwined women who looked, shall we say, fulfilled. You can always count on Courbet for an intimate look at women in these works he was commissioned to do for the wealthy, Turkish businessman. I heard an American mother trying to explain to her young daughter that the women were really tired and taking a nap.

Posted by
279 posts

Thanks for all of the great responses. Please keep them coming.
Since both my wife and I teach high school, we will have to weigh the merits of Sacre' Coeur at night if it is full of teenagers on the steps with the over-indulgence du jour.

Posted by
50 posts

Must Do's
The St. Denis Basillica - It is a good way to start your trip, you can buy the Museum Pass there and its is not very crowded. I almost loved it more than Notre Dame.

Dinner at the 58 Tour Eiffel - worth every penny. Be sure to book early and dress nice to get a better table.

Port de Vanves flea market - this smaller flea market is filled with reasonablly priced treasures. It what made my husband fall in love with Paris.

The Rodin Museum - small and often overlooked, but the sculputures are breathtaking and the gardens are lovely.

The Opera Garnier - be sure to tour it if you love architecture.

Don't Bother
The Puce St. Ouen - this fea market is highly over rated. The entrace is full of people hawking moderen wares such a shoes and knock-off purses. Too many scam artist abounded there. I felt safe everywhere in Paris except this flea market.

Late opening nights for the Museums - In May when we went it was horribly crowded at the Lovre and the Orsay no matter what time we went. We tried both mornings and went back for the late opening nights. It was crowded no matter when. Go when the light is good and you have energy.

The cafeteria at Les Invalides - even if you are starving, skip the cafeteria. Walk two blocks to La Terasse and get some decent food. It was the worst food I have ever had (including air plane and hospital food).

Posted by
1810 posts

St. Chapelle is a favorite and we attended a concert which helped avoid the crowds, but I'm not sure how good the light is in Nov. for highlighting the windows.
Rodin Museum is wonderful, especially if the weather is good for viewing the grounds.
If you like WWII history, there is the museum at Des Invalides and the Shoah Memorial in the Marais and well as the Embarkation Musuem ( not really a museum, but powerful if you've been to Shoah or read "Sarah's Key"
There were delicious food samples on one floor of Galleries Lafayette and the Longchamp section was a site to see-purses flying off the displays
Be present, look around you and don't hesitate to ask for explanations. While we waited for a city light tour, we realized we were standing by Interpol Headquarters. We saw some small round plaques with dates on them on buildings. We asked a nearby gendarme and she was happy to tell us they marked a particular event in history .

Posted by
6725 posts

I agree that Rue Cler, a perfectly ordinary market street and not even the most charming, has become a site where clueless tourist clutching Rick Steve's guides linger. Alas when 'back doors' like the Cinque Terre are identified in a commercial venture with wide dispersion then they are pretty much trashed; I know this having visited the Cinque Terre 30 years ago when I was the only hiker on the trail all day except for a class of Italian 14 year olds and their teacher and then later visited after it was made a ticket punch for travelers who do what they are told. Rick does identify some cool places to go, he has eye for it, but publicity turns them into tourist hell.

But I will share some great spots that almost no one visits in Paris:
1. St. Denis. One of the most amazing sites in Paris (or just over the line, but on the metro) You can see my snapshots at http://janettravels.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/confronting-mortality-at-st-denis/
2. The gardens of Musee Albert Kahn found at the St. Cloud metro stop on the #10. There are half a dozen different types of garden e.g. Japanese, English country, French formal etc etc shoehorned into a tiny space that seems much larger than it is.
3. Promenade Plantee which stretches along an abandoned elevated rail line from just behind the Bastille to Parc Vincennes. A long garden walk.
4. Various parks especially Butte Chaumont -- and if in this area a graffiti/street art walk. You can find the URL for a map for that in the photo journal as well.

5. Best yet, dozens of day trips to less well touristed small towns near Paris like Moret Sur Loing, Crecy la Chapelle, Senlis or Auvers sur Oise (this last one is more heavily touristed but still large enough to absorb it) There are also less often touristed chateaux like Rambouillet with its wonderful park, or Ecouen which is now the French Renaissance museum and has wonderful tapestries.

There are also pictures of several of these places in the photo journal.

Or better yet. Get on a metro and go to the end of the line and discover your own treasures.

And the bit about 'no beer' is nonsense; you can walk by any cafe or bar in the late afternoon cocktail hour in Paris and see people sitting there with beers, cokes, glasses of wine, etc etc. No one cares what you drink and beer, wine and coffee are easily available at any sidewalk cafe; if you want something soft ask for a diabolo which comes in mint and a variety of other flavors -- I like lemon. (but plenty of locals will be sitting there with cokes on a hot day)

Posted by
2353 posts

At the one end of Promenade Plantee is Viaduc des Arts - there are several shops/ateliers under the viaduc.

Posted by
1845 posts

Hi Kevin,

I guess it depends how cold it is and how much you would want to hang outside, but we loved the Luxembourg Gardens, we enjoyed the going up the Eiffel Tower much more that I thought we would, sit and have a picnic on the Seine or just a drink (champagne, wine or beer), take a boat ride down the Seine at night when the city is lit up and just walk around.

You will have a fabulous time!

Posted by
12979 posts

On that beer comment in Paris: must have been in jest. There are a different beer signs in Paris, some French, some Belgian (since I can't tell because they're so prevalent)...Stella Artois, Pelforth, Kantenbräu, Leffe, and of course, 1664.

Posted by
2349 posts

Did anyone else google the painting Bets said is at le Petit Palais? Courbet's Le Sommeil. Oh, my.

Posted by
1306 posts

Have to agree with Basilica St. Denis and rekindling of the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe. But if so many of us mention these, are they really back door? Also, you can see the scale models used in the making of the Status of Liberty. A 35 foot model is on Ile de Cygnes and a smaller one is on display at the Orsay Museum.

Posted by
852 posts

My two cents:
If you want to enjoy the Mona Lisa in any way, show up when the museum opens, head straight to the Mona Lisa room, take it in, and then double back and start your tour of the museum in any way you'd like. We tried this and were standing in front of the painting with five other people at 9:10am, and when we returned (we followed Rick's audio tour, so had to pass it again), it was an awful mess of people.
Check out the Cluny museum for up close views of Ste. Chapelle's glasswork. Lady and the Unicorn tapestry is pretty cool too.
Go to Dehillerin and buy yourself something nice for the kitchen.
Loved the Rodin museum (I blame the Dobie Gillis show [Nick at Nite] for making me fall in love with the young Warren Beatty and the Thinker).

Posted by
2353 posts

Another huge fan of Musee Rodin - while the Thinker may be his most famous piece I found the Burghers of Calais to be his most moving. The raw emotions Rodin captured on each man's face were incredibly moving. It brought me to tears right there in the garden.

Posted by
11292 posts

"I heard an American mother trying to explain to her young daughter that the women were really tired and taking a nap. "

Having Googled the painting as Karen recommended, I can now say that this explanation is a great example of a "partial truth."

Posted by
6725 posts

St. Denis is the oldest gothic Cathedral and a famous landmark and so not 'back door' in the sense of a non monument BUT I have been there twice and neither time were there more than a dozen people visiting it. Among my acquaintances who have often been to Paris almost noone has been there. It is just outside Paris and you have to make a trip there intentionally although it is on the metro and thus although in zone 3 the ordinary t+ tickets or the ND for zones 1-2 will take you there. So in that sense a 'back door'.

Posted by
16941 posts

On Statue of Liberty replicas, the full size reproduction of the torch is on the north end of the Pont d'Alma. Although technically a gift to France from the US as a thank you for the original and help in its restoration in the 80's, it now serves as the defacto memorial to Princess Diana who was killed in the auto tunnel immediately beneath it. There are fresh flowers and little tribute mementos left there every day.

Posted by
11450 posts

Recommend( won't say " must dos" as that depends on your interests)

St Denis-visit the crypts. I consider it a back door.
Invalids Army Museum- never crowded,well laid out
Shoah Memorial- this is a museum do not confuse with Deportation memorial.
St. Vincennes- small castle outside central Paris but still on metro line( last stop, and still in zone 1-2 ticket range)

My don't bothers:
Champs Elysees
Shopping
Concierge
Pomidou museum( note I hate modern art)

Posted by
32 posts

We LOVED the Cluny Museum and also spent a lot of time at Invalids - visiting 2 different days (can't remember now if they were highlighted in the book or not) We also really liked Luxemburg Gardens and exploring the Latin Quarter (which I know that Rick puts down - but we really had a good experience in that area (although the Pantheon is under repair).

Posted by
359 posts

I've been to several Paris several times and so after seeing all the big things, I have to say the Eiffel Tower is way worth it. I don't know what your other interests are but I really loved the smaller museums on my most recent trip, especially the Cluny museum. At Versailles, make sure you see the gardens and the outlying buildings ( the Trianons, etc)! They are wonderful.

To me, I love everything in Paris, but my must do's are Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Cluny or Rodin museum, Musee d'Orsay, Luxembourg Gardens, and strolling side streets/finding a great restaurant! I wouldn't make a priority the Champs d'Elysees, although definitely see the Arc de Triomphe. Have fun!

Posted by
359 posts

Forgot to add do a boat cruise on the Seine! Touristy but beautiful.

Posted by
1994 posts

Musee Andre-Jacquemart (with apologies for the probable misspelling). Elegant townhouse, specifically built to display and highlight their collections. Some lovely art and architectural components, along with original furnishings. You really get a feel for how the other half was living. They also have a nice café in an elegant room (the ballroom, if I remember correctly).

And I second (or third) votes for some other favorite small museums – the Cluny, the Rodin Museum, and the Monmarten (sp?). Sorry for being lazy about checking spelling.

Posted by
8399 posts

I second Susan and Monte's rec for the Luxembourg Gardens. My favorite place in Paris. They have two cafes, music at the bandstand on weekends often, plenty of restrooms, crepe stand, ice cream, and just fun to sit and people watch or, very fun to sit and watch the neighborhood guys play petancque (bocce ball) over by the playground.

I also love the Nissim de Camondo museum next to Parc Monceau... it's the old home of a very wealthy family, if you like that sort of thing it's wonderful. The French version of Upstairs/Downstairs.

I also agree with the Hop-On Hop-Off buses rec... love sitting up top, resting our feet, and enjoying all the amazing sights.

And, the Porte de Vanve flea market is great, as someone else mentioned.

I love Ile St. Louis and Ile de la Cite, so walking all around each, then along the river to the Grand Palais, cross the bridge and walk back along the river.

For day trips other than Versailles: Love Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainbleau, Giverny and Malmaison.

Posted by
8865 posts

I agree with Susan's suggestion of Giverny. Unfortunately they will be closed for the season before you arrive.

You've gotten so many great suggestions. I'm taking some notes for my trip.

If you go to Versailles, and I recommend you do, you can rent bikes to ride around the expansive grounds. I know you like to bike ride. And speaking of bike riding, in the past people have recommended the Fat Tire bike tours. They have different ones on Paris and they also have one to Versailles.

On my last trip to Paris I did a tour of the Marais with a Paris Greeter. It was a great experience and we plan to do it again in October. Susan & Monte just had a great Greeter experience.

Paris is a great city to 'do' things, but it is just as great to just 'be' there. I love to just walk around and soak it in and sit at a sidewalk cafe and people watch.

Posted by
2353 posts

2nd Musee Jacqemart Andre - it is like a mini Louvre with an amazing collection for a private museum. The home is spectacular - worth a visit on its own!

Posted by
8865 posts

Giverny closes for the season November 1st.

Posted by
98 posts

Kevin:

I made my 3rd trip to Paris this summer and finally made it to a church that a friend of my says is her favorite one in Paris: the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. After visiting this beautiful place I now understand her affinity for it! The history surrounding the chapel is very interesting and the interior is stunning. I loved experiencing Notre Dame, St. Suplice, St. Chappelle, etc. on previous trips, however, this chapel touched me in a unique way.

Bon voyage!

Posted by
8399 posts

Ok, no Giverny! But if you like castles Kevin, I highly recommend Vaux le Vicomte. It's the castle where they filmed the Leonardo di Caprio movie "Man in the Iron Mask." Really good movie btw. I've been there a couple times in the height of summer and it was practically empty. The castle and the grounds and the history of it are amazing. They have a really good cafe too.

Posted by
243 posts

I agree with some of the other posters. I've been to Musee Rodin two or three times and will probably go back the next time I'm in Paris. I also liked these other two smaller museums: Musee Marmottan and Musee Carnavalet. I also recommend going to Notre Dame at the beginning of your trip; we were in Paris in late November several years ago, and saw a posting about a Baroque concert at Notre Dame. We went back a few days later and it was incredible. The 4th floor of the Orsay (I think that is the right floor with the impressionists) is one of my favorite places to visit in Paris.

I found the wings pertaining the WWI and WWII at Les Invalides extremely interesting. The history was given from a different perspective.

I also remember an outdoor Christmas market; not sure if you'll be there when that is set up. Paris was rainy and cool when we visited at the end of November; make sure that you are prepared for the weather.
I can't remember the exact metro stop, but it was across the river from the Eiffel tower. You walk up the stairs to ground level and the view of the Eiffel tower with the fountains and shallow pool were far better than from the actual tower.

Posted by
332 posts

Eat something, anything (Croque Monsieur?) from a street vendor and walk about anywhere in Paris. Even if it appears to be simply an elegant grilled cheese sandwich...lovely.

Posted by
13689 posts

Gosh, where does one start??!!

I must be the only person alive who had no wish to deal with the crowds at the Eiffel, and preferred it as a backdrop in my photos so it's in my personal overrated pile. Add to that the Champs-Élysées, the interior of Notre Dame (the outside and view from the towers is much more interesting) and the Mona Lisa; much better and less mobbed works to see at the Louvre.

I did, however, love the Eiffel at night from the Trocadero.

The cemeteries of Paris are favorites of mine! Besides legendary Pere-Lachaise, Montmartre (near the Sacre-Coeur) and Montparnasse were wonderful as well, and blissfully free of crowds. Another vote for the Cluny: terrific museum that is (thankfully) overlooked by the majority of Tourists. Sainte-Chapelle is far from off the beaten but a must-do, and St Stephen's - where the relics of Paris' patron saint rest - has a gorgeous rood loft.

The Paris Museum Pass is a gotta-have. I do not often recommend passes but we got our money and then some out of that one. Of course, stopping into the Louvre multiple times helped that along? The place is huge so it helped to break it into smaller bits.

But aside from any particular destinations, we found that heading off some direction or another to see what we ran into along the way was great fun, and doing it on the "off" hours was a bonus as well: Paris at dawn is a beautiful thing. We had NO problem finding beer, but two of our most memorable moments were pulling up a chair at a couple of terraces where jazz ensembles were playing nearby, and having champagne and macarons. It was a splurge, no question, but one we've never regretted!

Posted by
41 posts

I hate to sound cynical, but we have been to Paris many times...going again in December (brrrr)...and the truth for us is that the "must-see" sites are such for only one time! I We saw the Mona Lisa, found it uninspiring and mediocre, and now when we take someone who has never been, I wait in the café while my wife does the "escort" duty. Same with Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the museums (except the Louvre, which is simply not doable on one trip), and so on. "Been there, done that!"
What I like to do is simply "be" in Paris...absorb the sights and sounds of the city. Wander from café to bistro to park...just looking and realizing that "I'm here!" Oh, and by the way, a great opener with even the most reserved waiter, is to ask his recommendation re. a good wine. If the place is not super-busy (I'm thinking of one of my favorites, "Ma Bourgogne" in Marais near Place des Vosges), you can even provoke a restaurant-wide discussion on this! Really makes you feel that you're "at home"! Also helps on your next visit to the place. But don't bother if the place is crowded...they don't have the time!
Have a good trip!