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Intimate and Authentic French Bistros in Paris

Intimate and Authentic French Bistros in Paris

How can we all help Paris after the devastation of Notre-Dame? Visit and enjoy her delights.  (FYI – I put up a post on Notre-Dame de Paris, but it was so engrossing and depressing last week, I just couldn’t email it out to everyone.)

A balm for our spirits could be French food.  And, what better delight than enjoying plate-licking delicious French food! Are you ready for an eating marathon at intimate and authentic French bistros? It really is not such a gluttonous idea if you consider the walking all day long.  And, if you can keep yourself from devouring the incredible bread before the meal arrives. (Plus, I have really decided the bread in Paris is different. It doesn’t make me feel bloated and full. Imagination?)

Here are five restaurants that will complement a week-long visit to Paris.  Gratifying and all-out pleasure – French bistro dinners.  That’s right, choose healthy and light or go full bore to revel in cream sauces and foie gras! Or, balance it all out by enjoying a little of all of the bountiful variety that keeps French food lingering in the memory for years.

The photos are much better at explaining the atmosphere of each place than I can describe. So, take a look.

Le Comptoir in the Hotel Relais Saint Germain

What many people used to call a “nouveau” bistro, but now it is known for solid bistro dining. On the weekdays, Le Comptoir has a set menu with a choice for the main course. On the weekends get in line and dine choosing from a menu. Yves Camdeborde makes the menu each day after checking what is available and in season. They are generous with the delicious food coming out of the kitchen. Seating outside is delightful in good weather and completely manageable when the weather is cool.

Le Comptoir dining room

Studio apartment sized dining room of Le Comptoir.

 

Le Comptoir cheese board

Did someone say cheese board after dinner???

 

photo on wall of Le Comptoir

Hmmm, makes me think of, “you can use every part of the hog, except the….”

Le Comptoir
Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain
9, Carrefour de l’Odéon
75006
http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/en/savourez-les-restaurants.html
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 44 27 07 97
Métro:  Odeon
Telephone to make a reservation, or ask your hotel to telephone on your behalf.

Josephine Chez Dumonet

Josephine Chez Dumonet looks exactly like the classic bistro that it is. Through the door is a zinc bar on the right and tables to the left and filling the rest of the restaurant. The host is super friendly and ready to help. Like many places, the restaurant’s reservations are kept in a big, thick book on the bar. Generous portions, so you may consider ordering a half portion if available.

In the vintage dining room, order slabs of foie gras, morels stuffed with foie gras, beef bourguignon, steak tartare…. For dessert, a Grand Marnier soufflé that is over the top perfect – and enormous. Plus, an apple galette that is as thin as a crepe and perfect for dessert if you just want a taste of something sweet after dinner. Enjoy the locals enjoying this oh so Parisian restaurant.

reservation book at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Welcome….name for the reservation, s’il vous plait?

 

foie gras at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Foie gras, did you say??? One slab or two?

 

perfect dessert at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Perfection… if you can only have one more paper thin morsel.

 

Little friend at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Petit ami at Josephine Chez Dumonet

Josephine Chez Dumonet
117 rue du Cherche Midi
75006
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 45 48 52 40
Métro:  Duroc
Telephone to make a reservation, or ask your hotel to telephone on your behalf.
Only open on weekdays.

La Bourse et La Vie

With a tiny footprint on the street, you can easily miss this jewel. But, simply turn back if you miss it and you will not be disappointed. In the small plush dining room with green velvet everywhere, you will have attentive and patient service. Daniel Rose and Hugo Richier create some modern takes on the classics. Like pot-au-feu, leeks in vinaigrette, sweetbreads… Intimate, quiet and delightful.

oysters and leeks at La Bourse et La Vie

Elegant and delicious!

 

pot-au-feu at La Bourse et La Vie

Pot-au-feu….. incroyable.

La Bourse et La Vie
12 Rue Vivienne
75002
Tel.:  +33 (1)0 42 60 08 83
http://www.labourselavie.com/en/
Métro:  Bourse
Can reserve online

Chez l’Ami Jean

Find the best butter ever right here on the tavern tables. That is why it is nearly impossible not to eat a whole basket of bread! Basque cuisine in the center of Paris. High energy, tables interact, waiters are fun, super nice and they encourage the fun. From the open kitchen, you can hear chef yelling. But, that is because he wants the food delivered to the table immediately, so you, the diner, can enjoy it – NOW! The atmosphere here is relaxed and fun with lots of wood and brick and close tables – often seems communal. Always changing menu depending on what Chef Stéphane Jégo finds appealing.

l'ami jean charcuterie

What to choose first… And, look at that butter!

 

steak at l'ami jean

Oh my, scrumptious steak, with a bite of boudin blanc on the side for good measure!

Chez l’Ami Jean – Stéphane Jégo
27 rue Malar
75007
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 47 05 86 89
http://lamijean.fr/en/
Métro:  La Tour-Maubourg
Can reserve online

l’Assiette

Although l’Assiette may be off the typical visitor’s path, it is worth a visit. It is a neighborhood restaurant that welcomes visitors. David Rathgeber performs in this kitchen now and the dining room is simple, yet elegant with painted glass panels on the ceiling. The host and waiters could not be more accommodating.

L’Assiette is a very French restaurant serving generous portions of French favorites. Try cassoulet, escargot (with lots of garlic and butter perfect for the bread on the table!), rillettes, and sweetbreads. For dessert, order the crème caramel au beurre salé (custard with salted caramel sauce on top) and watch your friends’ eyes roll back in their heads.

cassoulet l'assiette

Cassoulet – for 3? Order appropriately!

 

creme caramel au beurre sale at l'assiette

It may look unassuming but watch for eyes rolling back in the head.

l’Assiette
181, rue du Château
75014 Paris
Tél.:  +33 (0)1 43 22 64 86
https://restaurant-lassiette.paris
Métro:  Mouton-Duvernet or Pernety or Gaîté
Can reserve online

For all restaurants, telephone 24 hours ahead of your reservation to reconfirm. Or, ask your hotel to do this for you.

James Bond Style Dining in Paris – Le Drugstore

James Bond Style Dining in Paris – Le Drugstore

Le Drugstore

When it opened in 1958, Publicis Drugstore offered Parisians a more chic (and adult) version of our old drugstores with soda fountains. After a recent makeover by Tom Dixon, the interior is sexy and comfortable. Request seating outside – even in a bubble when it is cold – to gaze at the Arc de Triomphe while dining. Peruse the fancy cocktail list and order from friendly staff. The experience is kind of like stepping into a James Bond movie, or dining with Don Draper.  Probably more Don Draper…

Unlike other places, ask for a cocktail and “Finger Food” first, then the waitstaff comes back for the food order. Quick delivery after order of healthy portions. Although there are plenty of Americans who are loud and do not try to speak French, Parisians make up a gentler percentage of the patrons. Our waitress said all desserts are made in house and what we tasted was excellent!!! By the way, beautiful bathrooms. Le Drugstore is especially convenient if you are going to the Lido for a show after dinner. Or, it stays open so late, dine after the show.

view to Arc de Triomphe from le drugstore

Arc de Triomphe from the bubble.

 

steak tartare at le drugstore

Steak tartare.

 

entrance to Le Drugstore

Enter through the drugstore – buy pens, paper, posters…. all on the way to your table.

 

Other side of Le Drugstore

Can you find a pet rock?

Madison Avenue Ads?  You need Don Draper!

Le Drugstore
133 Av. des Champs-Élysées
75008
Tel.:  +33 (0)1 44 43 77 64
https://www.publicisdrugstore.com/en/le-drugstore
Métro:  Charles de Gaulle–Étoile
Can reserve online
Open until 2am, so if you are hungry late…

Telephone 24 hours ahead of your reservation to reconfirm. Or, ask your hotel to do this for you.

Don’t miss the opportunity to shop for novel souvenirs before or after your meal.  Everything from pens to posters to pet rocks!  Okay, I didn’t see a pet rock, but it seems like they should have them.

If you’re in the mood for an intimate and authentic Parisian bistro, check out this post.

You are OUR LADY – Notre-Dame de Paris

You are OUR LADY – Notre-Dame de Paris

No words can describe the most heartfelt loss. But, within no time, the world is showing its profound love of Notre-Dame de Paris – the internationally adored symbol of Paris. It is extremely encouraging that so many offers of help to rebuild have been made so quickly.  OUR LADY is destined to be around for at least another 850 years.  Merci Dieu!

As more news comes out, hopefully much of Notre-Dame de Paris remains intact.  Recent news states the grand organ was not destroyed.

So Many Opportunities to Help Notre-Dame de Paris!

Here are a few:

The Fondation du Patrimonie (French Heritage Foundation) is accepting donations of any size. All donations will only be used for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris. Click here to make a donation.  (It is very easy and for the national organization for protecting France’s heritage.  PariswithScott.com just made a donation to the Fondation du Patrimonie in about 2 minutes.)

On April 26, Universal Music France will release a Decca Records album of sacred music performed by Jessye Norman, Cecilia Bartoli, Roberto Alagna, and others.  Proceeds will go to the Fondation du Patrimonie for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris. 

Monnaie de Paris announced that it is donating revenue from the sale of its commemorative coin that marks the 850th anniversary of Notre-Dame de Paris, take a look here.

As for any donation, please only donate to verified organizations that do not use your money to market to others for donations.

Official website for Notre-Dame de Paris.

Read about Notre-Dame de Paris on Paris with Scott.

 

Citroën and Champagne – Private Paris in Distinguished Luxury

Citroën and Champagne – Private Paris in Distinguished Luxury

A private ride around Paris in a vintage Citroën DS is a definite splurge.  But, what an intimate and unique way to greet the City of Light!  It is like stepping into a time machine for a luxurious cruise on the streets.  All the while, having a soft-spoken and knowledgeable driver answering questions and gently pointing out the amazing monuments that suddenly appear around each corner.

Schedule Your Own Private Paris Excursion

Originally, we were looking at other types of Citroëns, but decided they were too small.  Luckily, I stumbled onto Guillaume Dazin’s website.  There, in amazing color photos, was a breathtaking Citroën DS!  The DS is one of my dream cars!

Guillaume in the Goddess

Guillaume whizzing around Place Vendôme in the Goddess!

On his website, Guillaume has photos of his specially built 1973 Citroën DS 21 Pallas Limousine Convertible.  “DS” is pronounced in French like the word, “Déesse.”  And, “déesse” means “goddess.”  (Those clever French marketers.)  And, it is indeed a goddess!  In 2015, the French people voted it their favorite car.  Also, in 2009, an international jury voted it the “Most Beautiful Car of All Time.”  Take a look and see if you agree that it is a goddess.

Immediately, I wrote Guillaume in English asking about a reservation.  Soon, I received a reply email in English.  The Goddess was available!

Via email, we set up a date and time for our first night in Paris.  Something easy to do that does not require lots of mind power after the long flight and potential jet lag!  Guillaume texted me once we arrived in Paris and we also exchanged text messages reconfirming the arrangements after arriving at the hotel.  Since Guillaume and I arranged everything well in advance, these kinds of reassurances and attentiveness are details that really make for a stress-free trip.

An Evening Cruise in a Classic Citroën Sipping Champagne

Citroen DS in front of the Grand Palais

At 6:30pm, Guillaume and his Goddess arrived in front of the hotel.  After introducing ourselves, and laughing at our great adventure, and giving the Goddess her due admiration, we hopped in.  From there, it was pure luxury.  The seats are so plush that they cradle you.  We waited to pop the Champagne, so Guillaume started her up, put her in gear and off we went.  It was as if riding on air in a great pampering recliner!  Guillaume explained that the DS is equipped with hydro-pneumatic suspension.  To the lay person, that means the car is kind of floating along on air!!!  Extraordinary.  (If you want to know more, Guillaume loves his DS, knows its history, is an engineer in automotive design by profession, and can explain everything in great detail.)

We had all been to Paris before, so we requested a leisurely ride to sip Champagne and admire the most beautiful city in the world.  Although Guillaume is fine with you requesting certain destinations, we left the decisions to him.  First, he drove us down by the river side to see the back of Notre-Dame de Paris.  Snow was still on the cobblestones, the wind was brisk, and across the river, Notre-Dame de Paris glowed under the night sky.

Guillaume helped each of us out.  The car is so beautiful each of us was afraid we would break something if we pushed or pulled too hard. We soon learned how to maneuver in and out of the goddess and we stood in the snow admiring the view.  Guillaume popped the Champagne, poured it in our crystal flutes and all was right with the world!

Guillaume pouring Champagne

Guillaume pouring a beautiful bottle of Champagne – in the Goddess!!!

City of Lights on Air

From there, Guillaume drove us around and stopped anywhere we asked, he took pictures of us and we took selfies with him.  It was easy to relax right away because he is such a good and cautious driver.  Guillaume answered any questions we had and he provided little tidbits of information.  Like, the Concorde Bridge was built with stone from the Bastille prison.  And, the obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde is the oldest monument in Paris and it was a gift from the people of Egypt.  Plus, rather than the giant Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon wanted a statue of an elephant the same size as the current arch!  Wouldn’t that be amazing!!

As we floated along, people honked and waved, rolled down the window and asked about the car, and generally ogled the goddess!  Guillaume drove us to a great spot to see the Eiffel Tower and an incredible Art Deco building.  He took all around Place Vendome, up the Avenue Champs-Elysees, and eventually dropped us off at our restaurant for dinner.  Our 2 hours flew by as we rode in style around the streets of Paris sipping Champagne.

It was a memorable evening, with a wonderful host, in a fabulous car. (In the warmer months, he lowers the top – can’t wait to go back and try that version!) A perfect night.

Citroen DS Open Top

The Goddess with her top down.

Private Paris in Distinguished Luxury – Citroën and Champagne

To read more about Guillaume’s Goddess or request a booking:

Guillaume Dazin
Paris Heritage Tours
Websitehttps://www.parisheritagetours.com
Tel+33 6 95 10 93 40
Email[email protected] 

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

As of January, 2019, the Musée du Louvre opens its doors for free to all visitors on the first Saturday night of each month!  That’s right – for free – from 6:00pm to 8:45pm.

Louvre to Open First Saturday Night Each Month with Free Admission

Attempting to attract more first-time locals to visit, the Louvre adds the first Saturday of each month to its free admission line up.  As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre has no problem attracting visitors.  But, it wants more locals to visit as well.

With this exciting news out of Paris, the Louvre adds more time for locals and visitors from all over the world to visit the Louvre without paying the price of admission.  Right now, a full-price admission ticket is 17 euros.  For a family of 4, that price could keep away many families working full time jobs and trying to make ends meet.  So, to try to get more locals in the doors, it has opened on an additional night.  That is good fortune for visitors, too!

Past Efforts

In the past, the Louvre opened on the first Sunday of each month with free admission, trying to draw in the locals.  But, after reviewing data on visitors coming at that increasingly popular free day, the museum lacked an increase in locals.  It appears that more and more international visitors are taking advantage of the 12 free Sundays each year.  Who doesn’t want a free entry?

One goal of the Louvre is to engage locals.  Saturday night seems like an obvious gateway to reach suburban locals wanting a night out.  Louvre officials hope that this additional free time does the job and entices young adults and families from outside Paris proper to take advantage of the world’s most-visited museum.  In addition to being free, the museum is hosting a board game area and a reading corner – all trying to lure young families in the door!

Bonus for You!

Of course, for non-local visitors, it is a boon as well.  Night visits are an extraordinary way to see the massive royal palace and its dumbfounding treasures.  Along with looking out of the windows into the night sky of the city, fewer people visit at night.  You may wind up in a gallery with entire rooms to yourself.  Admire the art with only your family and friends.  Climb the worn marble stairs alone.  Wander through the vast space and imagine the kings and queens that were there before you.

Musée du Louvre

Hours:  Open Wednesday – Sunday from 9am to 6pm
Night opening until 9:45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays
Night opening until 8:45pm on FIRST Saturday of the month beginning January 2019
CLOSED TUESDAYS
CLOSED: on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, May 8 and December 25.
Arrondissement:  1st
Nearest Métro:  Two stops serve the Louvre.  Exiting at Louvre-Rivoli, you will be at the eastern-most end of the Louvre.  Exiting at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre, you will be closer to the pyramid entrance and very close to the entrance at the Passage de Richelieu (if they will let you in) and the entrance through the Carousel de Louvre – kind of underground shopping area that leads you to the main entrance under the pyramid.
Nourishment:  Food and drink options available inside the Louvre in various locations – enjoy a baguette sandwich overlooking the entrance while watching the people come down the stairs under the pyramid!
Official websitehttps://www.louvre.fr/en/
Suggested time to visit:  In the evenings on the days it is open late

 

You may also be interested in one of the lesser known museums in Paris, such as Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Marmottan Monet or Musée Rodin. See the article on “15 Lesser-Known Museums in Paris” for more details here.