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Paris Dining Our Way! What's your favorite easy-eating experience in Paris?

In *previous visits we've done the intimidating formal restaurant thing in Paris, dealing with waiters, ordering in French, 3 course meals late at night.
Been there, done that.

Now I'm looking for something easy for lunch and dinner.

*What are your favorite self-service Paris food places?
Buy the food and eat it there. No dressing up. No waiters to deal with.

Posted by
8293 posts

I had lunch one day at the cafeteria in le Printemps, the department store (main location). Never had I tasted such delicious pommes de terre gratinee (scalloped potatoes). Kent, have your main meal of the day at midday so you can experience the cafeteria at Printemps at least once. Very busy place ..... get there early.

Posted by
10344 posts

Norma,
I'll take your advice and do that.

Posted by
8984 posts

I'll second the cafeteria @ Printemps. The food is amazing! The best value in all of Paris!
The cafeteria at Galeries Lafayette is good as well, but the view isn't as nice.

Posted by
10344 posts

These are great suggestions, just what I was looking for.
I'm tired of having to dress up for the formal restaurants, placate the waiters, use my language cheat sheet, and pay large restaurant bills. I'm not a gourmet and physically no longer into eating 3 or 4 courses of food late in the evening.
Been there, done that.

So thanks to Norma and Michael for suggesting just what I'm looking for! What they said is where I'm going.

I'm wondering if Samaritaine department store [edit: I see it has closed] has something similar to Printemps and Galeries Lafayette?

Other suggestions along the same lines are most welcome?

Posted by
11450 posts

Food fair in the Carosuel Mall.. good place for a bite while visiting Louvre.

I like crepes so usually get one while walking about from any street kiosk or cart..

Posted by
8984 posts

Another good option in Europe (and the east coast of the US) is the Vapiano chain. It only does pizza and pasta. You order your food at stations and it is prepared in front of you. Unfortunately the Paris branch is located on the outskirts of the city, near the La Défense station:

http://tinyurl.com/k49km52

Posted by
1345 posts

Not self service, but I would recommend looking at the chains of Buffalo Grill, Poivre Rouge, Hippopotamus, Restaumarche, Leon de Bruxelles or Courtepaille. Sit down, table service, sure, but very much aimed at the French family market so much less fuss. Buffalo Grill has Paris restaurants, there is one on Place de la Republique for example.

Also Flunch, I have skirted it in France with a sandwich takeaway, but the sandwiches were enough to add Flunch to the 'must try them properly' list.

And if you want a burger I would suggest the Belgians - Quick. Though I understand if people don't like them.

Posted by
8293 posts

This not a self-serve type of place, but if you like couscous, an excellent and unpretentious place is on Cours de Vincennes near Pl. de la Nation. I think it is called Couscous Royale. I know, it is out of your comfort zone not being in a single-digit arrondissement, but the food is great and the patronage is mostly from the neighbourhood. It is a short (ish) walk from the Nation metro stop.

If you go on a Saturday, there is a street market in the morning close to the above restaurant, so it would make for a pleasant half day at Pl de la Nation. You will likely be the only foreigners there.

Posted by
8293 posts

Kent, the Samarataine closed some time ago, sad to say.

Posted by
10344 posts

Norma,
Yes, I just noticed that when I googled it.
Yesterday I was looking at my 2002 photos and remembering what a great location it was, and the view from it's roof. So it was on my mind.
Well, there's always Le Printemps for lunch, as you suggested!

Posted by
10344 posts

The suggestions are all very helpful!
Thank you to each person.

Any more suggestions will be welcomed!

Posted by
565 posts

I love me some Hippopotamus. Especially since I eat my steaks very rare and the French like to serve beef still mooing.

Autour du Moulin is a treat when you find yourself up on Rue Lepic plainly dressed. It's a beer and mussels kind of place with lots of locals.

Don't forget the wonderful Vietnamese places mostly in the 13th but also scattered around the city. Pho is a nice respite from the heavy dairy-laden dishes.

Posted by
1345 posts

Emily, you are a woman after my own heart when it comes to a steak!

Your mention of Vietnamese and Norma's of couscous is useful. France's colonial empire, and hence immigrant population, was south east Asia and north and west Africa plus the middle east. In Europe, France is therefore one of the best for Vietnamese, as in the UK we have some of the best Indian cuisine in the world.

The legacy of empire is mixed, but one of the best things it has left is the food. France has Morocco and Vietnam, the UK has India and Canton.

Posted by
774 posts

Kent, I have not been to the self serve style of place, but I recommend going to an outdoor market and purchasing some prepared food there. I visited the Grenelle-Motte Piquet marche, at the Motte-Piquet metro and purchased some cooled potatoes and shaved ham cooked in a mustardy sauce, omg yummmmy. My friends had other dishes. They were hot and packed in to go containers; we strolled to the Seine and sat in benches to eat. So heavenly and such a lovely picnic spot.

Many other markets had cooked food. Markets are my favourite thing, so I frequent them. Some have already made sandwiches, others make things to order. You could buy cooked chickens too with potatoes cooked in the dripping fat, really delish. I am gluten free, so I am a bit challenged at times. I often buy cheese and fruits, olives and nuts at the market. Many Parisiens eat their lunch outside in parks. I have packed a small lunch ir purchased of it at the market and joined them. Such a great experience.

Monoprix often has many packaged foods for lunch, like salads of different types. Of course, you can pick up a dessert at a patisserie. Markets have marvelous dried fruits, more than I have ever seen anywhere.

I often each lunch and sometimes dinner in brasseries which are often more informal. La Terrasse which is by the Ecole Militaire metro, near the Eiffel tower is one of my faves. Sit outside if it is warm and you can tolerate smoking. I often stay near there and have eaten many a meal or just had a drink and people watched as locals come home from work.

Enjoy the food. Try as many cheeses as you can.

Posted by
2349 posts

Wherever you go, my advice is to go a little early. Not so early as to get the waiters irritated, but you want to avoid that busy lunch crowd. That's intimidating, trying to pick out a sandwich and a pastry while being hurried. A bakery will have the sandwiches out before 11 so pick one up then. And a pastry. Always a pastry. Don't forget the pastry.

Posted by
2000 posts

Monoprix has self-service stores all over called Monop (I think this is the name, not sure) but you will see many people eating there -- all self-service. Another self-service store cafeteria I like is the one at the BHV department store on Rue du Rivoli, across the street from the Hotel de Ville. I also recommend the Carousel food court in the Louvre.

Posted by
784 posts

One of my best remembered meals the first time I was in Paris in 1978 was lunch at the roof-top cafeteria at Samartaine. Every time I see the beautiful, but abandoned building, I think of that lunch. The building is supposedly slated for rehab.

When I was in Paris in 2013 I had an apartment, so ate most dinners at "home," but ate all of my lunches out. I didn't have any trouble finding a cafe or brasserie where I could get a simple lunch - la plat du jour or a croque monsieur. I did have a couple of splurge lunches as well as a few grab and go lunches, but didn't find any intimidating. I think you can experience a broad array of french food in Paris without being intimidated or going to McDonalds. I would just stay away from the formal restaurants and opt for the local casual cafes, brasseries, and bistros of which there are many. Bon apetite.

Posted by
10344 posts

Monoprix looks interesting. Can you buy the food and then eat it there?

Posted by
6633 posts

This was a great thread. Thanks for starting it Kent.

Posted by
8293 posts

Kent. Regarding Monoprix, the grocery section has take-away food but you can't eat it there. The best Monoprix of all is on the Champs Élysées, the metro/bus stop is George's V. Across the road there is a Leon de Bruxelles, if you like mussels and fries (moules frites). I loooove them

Posted by
10344 posts

Norma, thanks for the clarification on not being able to sit down and eat at a Monoprix.
I've just been on their website, and there's one a couple of blocks from our hotel. I might buy some food at Monoprix and sneak it into the room; our hotel offers room service, so they must be one of those few Paris hotels that lets you eat in the room.

I noticed the great prices on wine at Monoprix! This is going to be my chance to buy some cheap vin, pain, and fromage--while mingling with the locals who are doing their shopping.

Posted by
10344 posts

Stan,

This was a great thread. Thanks for starting it Kent.

Thank you. I think people should know they don't have to be forced, while in Paris, to eat 3 or 4 course dinners after 8pm for 75 or 100 euros.
There are alternatives!

Posted by
9706 posts

Since good falafel is pretty thin on the ground in N. Idaho I like the Maoz chain and they usually have stools and a bar counter along one side. They dish up the falafel (or whatever) and you add what salad-y type stuff you want. I also like any of the falafel shops/stands in the Marais and then take it to either that kind of hidden park nearby or a kids playground in the other direction but you may want something more than takeaway.

Posted by
10344 posts

Pam,
I'm going to google the Maoz chain to find locations in Paris.
I fell in love (if that's the right word re food0) with falafel in Jerusalem.

Posted by
10344 posts

Well, that's the neighborhood where I'm going to be sleeping in 6 weeks.
I'm eating there.
No more 100 euro meals complete with intimidation by waiters and forced to eat 3 course dinners after 8pm!

Paris Eating, Our Way!

Posted by
9706 posts

Well, I do not remember for sure, but I think it was maybe 5€ for a falafel pita with all the salad stuff you could pile on. One day I had put my salad on and kind of eaten that down (with those toothpick looking forks) and the guy behind the counter came around the counter and got me by the arm and kept pointing to the salad and kept motioning for me to take more. My word, that stuff is so filling! I kept laughing and kept saying Non, merci. They were very nice but interestingly no one had much English. That was fine with me as I do fine in sign language and basic phrases.

I hope it meets your expectations in the taste department. I always worry that I have low falafel standards, altho the 2 places I can get it locally I rank as ~not good~. I did very much like L'As du Falafel altho it is more of a production than Maoz.

Posted by
809 posts

Kent, you might take a look at the thread about picky teenagers eating in Paris - there were some recommendations there that sounded like fun places to eat. I need to stop reading these threads; I'm getting hungry even though I just ate dinner!

Posted by
31471 posts

Kent,

I usually have good luck using recommendations from the desk staff at the hotel. They always know the best places in the area, where the "locals" prefer to dine.

Like you I've tried some of the highfalutin, formal places but just prefer a normal type of restaurant, where I can sit down, place my order and get a nice meal. Rather than just get a sandwich or whatever for lunch, I prefer a sit-down meal as it provides a good opportunity to rest after touring for several hours. I don't dress up in any case, but just wear my normal touring clothes.

Which part of Paris will you be staying?

Posted by
12885 posts

Hi,

Totally agree with getting food at Monoprix and Flunch. On the basically self-service, "down home" lunch places frequented by locals, I suggest going to the Chinese eateries, any of those places that say "pour emporter" where you can order 100 grammes of various dishes, not always great but good enough, eat it there, certainly away from the typical tourist and waiters scene. I recommend these places if you're not in the mood for waiting. With the favourable Euro at the moment, you'll find yourself eating cheaply.

Posted by
10053 posts

At L'Amuse Bouffe, Rue di Amseredam near Place du Clichy, we had a lovely and casual lunch. The formula lunch was a panino-style Parisian with a side salad, beverage and dessert for €8.50. No need to dress up, wine available, dinners too, but only open Mon-Thur.

In Montmartre we had a very casual dinner at La Cave Gourmande. It is unprepossessing but has the best Boeuf Bourguinon and a wonderful warm chevre salad. Everyone was casually attired and no one was "stuffy."

Posted by
516 posts

L'As Du Fallafel is hands-down the best I've had. I also had a lamb schwarma sandwich, ate there two nights in a row. If you're in the Marais its a great option. Super-casual, eat there in a plastic tray or eat it on the street. Open late.

Posted by
1118 posts

I love reading that some of you love Hippopotamus. I love their calamari appetizer.

I also second Leon de Bruxelles. Sometimes they have excellent promotions. At Christmas last year I had a lovely plate of mussels that was topped with cheese and everything nice. Then for 5 EUR extra they'd double your order. PLUS, the fries are all you can eat.

There's also the chain CHEZ CLEMENT (several locations, one on the Champs Elysees, St. Michel, etc) They have a lunch "menu" that is an excellent deal for around 20EUR that changes seasonally. Even though it's a chain restaurant, I recommend it thoroughly. Their mashed potatoes and profiteroles are a religious experience.

Wow, this has made me homesick.

Posted by
6 posts

Kent, thank you so much for posing this question! We are off to Paris in a month and now I have lots of wonderful suggestions for meals!
Great ideas from all- keep them coming!

Posted by
45 posts

At the Trocadero, as you view the Eiffel Tower, there is a tiny food stand on your right with pre-made sandwiches. No seating, just walk-up. I selected the ham & cheese with some unique sauce. After the first bite, I was stunned. It was the best sandwich I ever enjoyed, and I'm old. I cannot sufficiently describe the experience, but all ingredients were outstanding. I shared it with my daughter who had a similar opinion. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the place.

Posted by
5 posts

When you get off the metro at the Maubert Mutualite stop, there are small shops that have roasted meats, sauteed side dishes, baked goods, fresh vegetables, and desserts. There was also a small stand that made all sorts of crepes even one called the "Texas Crepe". We had seven in our group so if was much less expensive to eat dinner this way for several nights.

Posted by
50 posts

My wife and I were finished playing tourists for the day and were walking back to our hotel room near Rue Cler. We stopped at a bakery near our hotel to buy a fresh/warm baguette. We made it back to the hotel. The baguette did not. Best bread we ever ate.

Posted by
10344 posts

These are great suggestions for simplifying eating in Paris!
I'll be using these suggestions in about a month.
Thank you to each person who has responded!

Posted by
1 posts

My favorite thing is to do as the Parisians do for lunch - go to a local patisserie and get a jambon et fromage and eat it while walking the streets of Paris. What is more Parisian than that?

We travel to Paris several times each year and one of our favorite lunchtime stops is the Eglise Madeleine in the heart of Paris. The building is a replica of a Roman temple in the center of the square at the Madeleine metro stop(lines 8,12&14) near the Opera. This lunchtime only restaurant is located on the side of the church across from Fauchon). Mostly frequented by" in the know" locals you pay a 5 euro fee to get a member card. You can do at at the cashier when you enter the cellar of the building. The 8 euro meal consists of three courses, starter, main and dessert, with several choices of each course. Food is simple but delicious. Bon appetit!

Posted by
10344 posts

More great suggestions! Thank you.

Posted by
1154 posts

Take a look at this one, on Ile St. Louis, 39 Rue St. Louis, Nos Ancestre. For I think 40 euros, there is a fixed menu of two entrees, including unlimited wine, seated at picnic tables so you can mingle with just about everyone. We shared the table with delightful couples from Finland and Australia. What a great night. The food was superlative, the place was packed with Parisians, tourists from all over Europe, and we few Yankees. The hours were spent in getting to know one another, sharing highlights of Paris, and truly enjoying every minute. Did I mention the unlimited wine, choices were red or white...?

Posted by
1 posts

I don't recall the name, but the outdoor cafés at Tuileries Garden, "Jardin de Tuileries," were very good. We stopped there two, maybe three times with both English-only company and separately with a resident on Paris. This was 2005 and 2008. Waiters did take food orders and bring food to outdoor tables.

Posted by
3 posts

While walking to the Arch de Triomphe, we found a deli called Pret a Manger. It's a counter-serve chain with ready-made sandwiches, soups, salads, sweets, cold beverages and coffee. It was a very nice, low key place to relax and eat. The food was excellent. It's located at 19 Rue Marbeuf 75008 Paris. We first ate there when we went to Paris after a Norwegian Fjord cruise. The following year, we were in Paris following a Rick Steve's 21 Day Best of Europe Tour and we specifically went looking for it again. Much to our amazement, we found it, and enjoyed another pleasant, relaxing lunch.

Posted by
64 posts

I echo those who recommend two family friendly French chains: Hippopotamus & Chez Clement. Although not self-service, they are reasonably priced & frequented by locals. Each location has its own atmosphere & character. Don't hesitate to ask for the English language menu. Hippo has a variety of complete meal deals, as well as a la carte options. The sides are fresh (try the green beans) & portions are generous. We usually order small steaks here, although there are lots of other choices. The menu at Chez Clement is that of a French brasserie. Although Chez Clement is popular with tour groups, the groups are usually in a separate room. Flunch, another previously mentioned French chain, is a very casual cafeteria. Some of the locations look funky (like an older Golden Coral), but the food is good. Our favorite French cafeteria is Casino (part of the Casino supermarket chain). The roast chicken with potatoes is outstanding. Our usual Casino (la Defense) has apparently closed, so I don't know if any remain in Paris. Bon voyage!

Posted by
85 posts

I definitely agree with the department store cafeterias and the food court at the Louvre.

I often stop at the Leader Price grocery for rhubarb yogurt, shortbread cookies and exotic flavors of potato chips. My favorite easy meal is a jambon et buerre baguette sandwich followed by a nutella crepe bought at stands on the street (my favorite crepe stand is near the St. Michel fountain.) I'm also fond of the Maison de Gyros in the Latin Quarter, and there is a great cafe that specializes in crepes next to the Stravinsky fountain (sorry, I don't recall the name.) I even ate at Quick once, out of curiosity -- it was okay. I've had really good salads in the cafe in the Orsay.

The best thing about quick eating in Paris is the many bakeries where you can get bread, pastries, and sometimes even sandwiches.

Posted by
5 posts

My wife's and my favorite place ( we were there over the Christmas holiday) was a little crêperie as you get off the St. Michel metro stop going towards the river. We loved it. We went there several times during our trip for different types of crepes, breakfast, lunch, sweet, etc.... We normally do the expensive stuffy meals and found this was our favorite eating memory of this trip (except, of course, the Christmas markets in Germany which is for another forum).

Posted by
1 posts

We will be there next month and renting an apartment. Wondering if there is a place to get a whole cooked rotisserie chicken to bring to the apartment to eat?

Posted by
1 posts

Lots of great suggestions here but Kent, all you have to do is look at Rick's book: there are restaurant recommendations for all budgets and other practical solutions suggested. His video for this month (April) says it all: http://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/travel-news/april-2015/video-of-the-month

If you don't have a big apetite just choose starter and main course or main course and desert and of course the price is lower. Or order 'a la carte. It's the law that prices are displayed on the board outside so you can see what you'll pay and eat what you like, I love that.

Posted by
2 posts

Our most memorable meal in Paris recently was at Bofinger Restaurant near the Bastille. I was with my ten year old granddaughter whose father ate there on his first visit to Paris as a young child. We had a wonderful shared meal for our last night in Paris.

Posted by
2 posts

Kent, Just walk to an open air market, buy some meat, cheese, olives, bread and wine (ask them to open the bottle for you) and get a cup or two then find a park to dine in. This is always a favorite way for me to eat during the earlier part of the day.

Posted by
3 posts

Re: whole roasted chicken...many neighborhood boucheries proudly display the roaster and the birds in the front window or on the street. Delicious, a great value, and often offered with roasted potatoes. The Halal butchers do these extremely well.

Posted by
1 posts

Our best eating experiences were outdoors. Buying a baguette, some meat, cheese, tomato and a bottle of wine at the local epicerie (who often sell plastic cutlery and glasses, etc. and they will open your wine for you if it has a cork) and walking to a local hot spot to eat and enjoy the scene. We did Sacre Coeur at sunset one night. And Place Trocadero in time to see the Eiffel Tower light show. Great memories.
Rob and Jan
Victoria, BC

Posted by
1118 posts

Leader Price is an excellent grocery store. Despite it being a "no name brand store" the quality is quite good. I loved their little "to go" ile flottant and flan.

Posted by
8293 posts

At the Eglise de la Madeleine there is a cafe which is interesting. Run by church volunteers who look like Barbara Pym's "Excellent Women", there is not a great choice but the food is wholesome, inexpensive and you can even get wine! Entrance is either on the side or at the back, can't remember, but there is a discreet sign so you will find it easily. Who wouldn't want to have lunch at one of the most famous churches in Paris.

Posted by
4 posts

Le Petit Vatel, rue Lobineau, 6th arrondissement...small, friendly, simple and delicious food prepared well. It is under new ownership since we first ate there, but the quality continues! We also enjoy Chartier, in the 9th, for its beauty, history, waiters, clientele (you could be seated with patrons from throughout the world, or with locals) and inexpensive meals. You can't go wrong with the escargots and poulet roti!
And any creperie on rue Montparnasse is great value and a good time:).

Posted by
10344 posts

More great suggestions!
Thanks to each of you.

Does anyone know, in general, if there are restrictions on picnicking in Paris parks?
And is the consumption of wine allowed in a park during a picnic? (
not talking about walking down the street with a wine bottle).

Posted by
10344 posts

More great suggestions!
Thanks to each of you.

Posted by
652 posts

Another vote for L'As Du Fallafel in the Marias. (Also, recommended by Patricia Wells in her Food Lover's Guide to Paris and chef author David Lebovitz of Living the Sweet Life in Paris) My husband highly recommends the lamb schwarma.

Posted by
208 posts

There's a very nice Thai restaurant called "Thai-Siam" on Avenue Wagram, about 3 blocks down from the Etoile, in the 17th. My wife and I eat there every time we're in Paris. Their Pad Thai (and their curry) is to die for.
There is also a very small pizza place at 11 Rue d'Etoile, about a block or so from the Thai-Siam. Fantastic wood-fired pizza.
And last of all, another vote for the cafeteria at the BHV department store.

Posted by
11450 posts

Kent the laws on public drinking are funny. Basically in the past it was completely tolerated.. .. in most places they are simply not enforced.. and in some places.. it IS permitted( ie The Paris Plage.. they even sell beer and cider at the concession)... but the thing that is forbidden is public drunkenness.. reasonable enough. Unfortunately they have started to pay more attention to it because of young dumbbutts who were drinking themselves silly.

The police absolutely will not arrest you for having a drink in public.. as long as you are behaving.. they may ask you to put it away.. but unless you are a drunken group of youths that is as far as it will go.

There are places that they are now cracking down on public drinking more now.. because of said groups of drunken youths.. one is the Champs De Mars.. and the other is the pedestrian bridge ( sorry name slipped mind) where in the summer many locals picnic. And yet.. even in those places discretion will usually get you ignored by police.

The chances of two middle aged or older tourists sipping some wine and picnicking is not going to draw police attention.. most simply will not care.

As for picnicking it is permitted in any park BUT sometimes you must sit on a bench on a path etc.. because in most parks it seems that most of the grass area is FORBIDDEN .. lol ( so odd for me to see this coming from a place where we let anyone on grass everywhere )
Last year we were in Luxembourg gardens .. and found ONE strip of grass that you were permitted to sit on and it was literally elbow to elbow people sitting on it.. looked most uninviting.. we found a bench in the shade instead.

Posted by
1 posts

My wife & I were in Paris in Oct-2014. We liked a restaurant in the 4th arron. called Breakfast In America. The address is 17 Rue des Ecoles. It isn't self serve, but it's very close.
Enjoy, Larry Bliesner

Posted by
10344 posts

Thanks to the latest posters for their tips!
I'm ok with the French breakfast, which has been described on RS audiotracks as: croissant, cafe au lait, and cigarette (cig is optional). That suits me fine (I'll pass on the cig).
It's lunch and dinner where I'm trying to do it my way: I don't like large lunches (slows me down in the afternoon) and for dinner I don't want to pay for a 3 or 4 course dinner at 8 or 9pm, because if I do I won't sleep and my meds won't work.

Posted by
194 posts

Kent - I remember purchasing and eating a quick dinner at the Monoprix Saint Michel...at a counter with chairs in the picture window while people watching. I just Google mapped Monoprix Saint Michel and you can see the counter and chairs in the picture. So many choices, so little time!

Posted by
12885 posts

On public drinking, obviously behaving oneself: certain streets in Paris, to be sure in residential areas, I've seen are divided in two by a paved path way with trees, benches, pedestrian walkway, etc. Say, you're sitting on one of these benches, sipping a beer, having a sandwich, etc and two police (always in pairs) walk by and see you solo or with another person doing likewise. Do you really think they would even waste their time drawing attention to your drinking in public, which you are literally doing? I would bet you would be totally ignored.

Posted by
3580 posts

When in Paris I alternate lunches between a good bakery and a Chinese deli. Easy, inexpensive, and can be nutritious. The bakery on rue Cler is especially good with a variety of quiches. There are a couple of outdoor tables. For dessert there is flan, or down the street is that great ice cream shop. Good sandwiches can be found at some of the metro stops, underground. Produce shops are plentiful if you want fruit for dessert.

Posted by
10344 posts

Nice story, Ben. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by
194 posts

One of our most memorable meals was a lucky happenstance...we were headed to one of Rick's recommendations, but after reviewing the menu and realizing there was nothing that I could eat (no dairy, no animal products, yes to seafood), we went back to Au Sauvignon which we had passed on the way to the restaurant. Fun, cozy, and best of all...their sandwiches are made on Poilane bread. I had the smoked salmon. Memorable because a French woman approached us, chatted with us, took photos for us, introduced us to the wait staff, and may have been either a regular patron or one of the owners. She also just happened to be the doppelganger of my husband's sister, so we felt we had known her forever.
Here's an article about Au Sauvignon by David Lebowitz: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/12/au-sauvignon-cafe-restaurant-paris/
(I couldn't remember the name of this place, but the pictures on the wall are the exact backdrop of our photos, so I know this is it.)

Posted by
10344 posts

Char,
Thanks for sharing that. You mentioned David Lebovitz, I've been reading his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, in conjunction with my up coming Paris trip.

Posted by
5 posts

I love DIY lunches. Find local grocery store. Purchase picnic stuff, go make sandwiches and stuff in a park or by a fountain.

I also dig Paris street food. Crepes n what not.

Posted by
10344 posts

I'm going very soon, so your suggestions are useful and I'm collecting them.
Thank you to each person who has replied.

Posted by
11613 posts

Nobody has mentioned Paul, my go-to grab a quick lunch anywhere in France, especially in train stations but also in city centers. Yummy pastries,sandwiches, salads, sides. Some seating at the larger ones.

Posted by
10344 posts

This post has a wonderful list of Paris Dining Our Way places. Favorite easy-eating experiences in Paris.
It takes the intimidation out of eating in Paris.
Thank you so much, to each one of you.
I'm making a list of each place, will print it out and take with, or send it to myself in an email, or something.

Posted by
774 posts

We have done, and enjoyed, the lunch in a park, the Champs de Mars, complete with bread, cheese, pate and wine. We sat on a bench and were passed by police, with not a second glance. We actually enjoyed the shopping very much, a half-bottle of wine at one store, gourmet cheeses at another. Keep in mind that if you have a Swiss army knife with bottle opener, for the wine, that you will not be able to take the knife through museum security.

Wine bars often have small dishes.

And not really for lunch or dinner, but I love getting a little something extra after our French breakfast of cafe and croissant - my favorites are chouquettes; small cream puffs, hollow on the inside, with sugar sprinkled on top.

Posted by
10344 posts

Lexma,
Good tips, thanks.\
But only a half bottle of wine?
I guess in the museums don't want to take a chance with people slashing the artwork with their swiss army knife.
That happened in one art museum, so I guess they're a little nervous about knives.

Posted by
62 posts

We had three favorite meals in Paris, all in the same bistro La Tour de Montlhery, also known as Chez Denise. In the nearly 25 years since our first visit, little has changed except the dining companions. It's the kind of place where they have to move the table so one can sit against the wall and under the paintings. You are so close to the next table that you can't help exchanging pleasantries in various languages and even agreeing to share some desserts. Menus appear on the chalkboard and the house wine comes by the litre (you pay by how much of the bottle you drink). I ordered a Baba au Rhum for dessert, only to discover they leave the bottle of rum on the table to pour as much as I wanted. Not fancy and open late, it's not a big restaurant. located in the Les Halles area, We discovered they were mentioned in an Anthony Bourdain episode and to make sure we could be seated we made a reservation. The menu varies, it was viewable from outside and had a wide selection. Next time in Paris, we'll head right back.

Posted by
2011 posts

La Creperie de Josselin

This is one of my favorites over in the Montparnasse Casual, very reasonably priced. It's easy to get just one or two courses (you need to get two and get desert LOL!)

Posted by
10 posts

Kent,

We stumbled upon a Belgian chain called La Pain Quotidien on Rue de Varenne in the Saint-Germain district and fell in love with it. Fresh, organic, soup, salad, sandwiches (tartines), and deserts - several vegan options Breakfast also. Wine & beer. Wonderful homemade bread. There are other locations around Paris and in many other cities including in the U.S. The food is great and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. The wait staff are often students. It may seem odd eating at a Belgian chain when in Paris, but go anyway. We search out La Pain whenever we travel.

Posted by
20 posts

I have two recommendations to add:

FrogBurger - burgers and craft beer. quick service and good food. When I was an exchange student in France, my friends and I lived in the Frog & Rosbif Pub in our city. On my last trip to Paris, I was excited to see they had opened up a burger chain.

FrogBurger Bastille: 19 rue Fbg St-Antoine 75011 Paris & FrogBurger St. Michel: 18 rue St-Séverin 75005 Paris

Maison Guyard - this is kind of like a deli with charcuterie, prepared foods, and all sorts of other stuff. Parisians stop in here to pick up something for lunch and dinner. Everything was quite good (best foie gras I've had) and the staff is very helpful. A way to get a great, gourmet meal in a casual manner.

Maison Guyard 42 Rue De Verneuil 75007 Paris

Posted by
59 posts

Kent, Thanks for starting this thread. We leave for Paris in about a month. I made notes on places mentioned. I like the idea of less formal, smaller meals earlier in the night. Too hard to sleep and travel when eating big meals late in the evening.

Posted by
4684 posts

I had a burger a few days ago in London in a place called Big Fernand that first started in Paris, and if the Paris branches are as good as the London one they're definitely worth visiting. They're at 55 rue du Faubourg-Poissonniere, 32 rue du Saint-Saveur, or 40 Place du Marche Saint-Honore.

Posted by
710 posts

Agree with Jackie! This is a great thread. We are spending a month in Paris this summer, and while we will have an apartment and most meals will be prepared there, I was hoping to find some great casual dining that won't break the bank. Thanks for starting this!

Posted by
10344 posts

I enjoyed reading these posts before our recent Paris trip, and am glad that others have found the many suggestions here helpful.
It appears that Paris has many more types of eating options than it did a number of years ago.