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Getting To and From the CDG and Orly Airports

There are many options with many price ranges so check below and find what works best for you. There is not one answer. It depends on your tastes, budget and personal circumstances.


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The Eiffel Tower from the plane

The Eiffel Tower from the plane


Trying to decide if you want a taxi, shuttle or train into Paris from the airport? Here is some transportation information that you may find helpful. We usually fly into CDG but have used Orly a couple of times. Orly is closer to Paris but we find CDG easier back and forth. There are some new shuttle and bus services that make it much easier. Check the airport transportation web sites at the bottom of this thread for both CDG and Orly. They truly give you all the options and are much easier to understand than the Metro web site.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the <br />Eiffel Tower from the Louvre

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the
Eiffel Tower from the Louvre

Normally we take the RER train into Paris and back out to the airport. If we have a very early flight and the trains are not running, we book a shared shuttle and have never had a problem. When we travel with our adult daughters, we book a limo since the four of us can share the cost. Once, I hurt my foot and we used a taxi. All of these serve the purpose. You will want to consider cost (your budget), convenience (luggage, children, handicaps) and time.

You can book with other people in a van for 8 people with luggage which is what we have done a few times for very early flights. You can also book a shuttle just for yourselves (a private shuttle) and that will cost more but probably not as much as a taxi. Here is the web site for the shuttle we use and we do share with other people so it's not a private shuttle. They offer the private service but we’ve never found it necessary. We consider dropping off or picking up the other passengers a little introduction or farewell tour of Paris. We prefer the Yellow Van Shuttle over the Blue Van Shuttle because it is about half the cost. The Blue Van has lately been charging regular taxi fare. Both shuttles are fine but Yellow is cheaper. Paris Yellow Van Shuttle Web Site

Here is a web site for a limousine service we have used twice. It is quite reasonable if you can share costs. First Way Limousine Service

Here is a site that will give you the cost of a taxi. Be sure you use an official taxi from the taxi rank. They have regulated rates and cannot overcharge you. World Taxi Meter Web Site There are fixed fares in Paris to travel to the airports from within the city. From CDG it is 53 euros to the Right Bank and 58 euros to the Left Bank. From Orly it is 32 euros to the Left Bank and 37 euros to the Right Bank. This only works if you take an official Paris taxi from a fixed taxi stand at the airport. There will be a lot of taxis and drivers in other places trying to get your business and they charge a lot more. Ignore them and find the taxi rank for your ride.

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Paris Metro train Paris

Paris Metro train Paris

And finally, here is the RER train web site, our preferred mode of travel. You may find it easier to look at the airport web sites below but this one will give you exact directions to your hotel. Paris Metro Official Web Site

There are also various bus options available. We've used the Roissybus fairly often when we are either staying near Opera or want to use Metro line #7 to get to our hotel. By the way, the Air France Bus has been renamed and is now called Le Bus Direct. These and the Roissybus go between the airport and several stops in central Paris so check your hotel address and see if a bus stop would be convenient for you. The last two digits of your hotel postal code are the arrondissement (district) number. The most central districts for sightseeing are 75001, 75004, 75005, 75006 and 75007. You can check Google Maps or the viaMichelin Maps web sites to see how these coordinate with the various bus options. Google Maps web site and Michelin Maps web site

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Arc de Triomphe with a distant Eiffel Tower<br />on the way to the airport

Arc de Triomphe with a distant Eiffel Tower
on the way to the airport


The airport web sites below give you all the bus and train options. Click on the map and it gets large and becomes interactive. Scroll down to see prices and information. It is a great web site.

Websites for CDG and Orly transportation options:
CDG Airport transportation options web site

Orly Airport transportation options web site

Posted by Beausoleil 11:47 Archived in France Tagged taxi paris airports shuttle limo airport_transportation Comments (0)

Paris with Children

Traveling with your children? Here are a few ideas. Paris is wonderful for kids from tiny to teens.


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The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

If your children are teens, here are some suggestions. Below that are ideas for pre-teen and toddler intrepid travelers and below that Playgrounds in Paris .

A mother who was traveling to Paris, had only two days and was accompanied by her 13 and 14-year-old children. She asked me for ideas and here were some of my suggestions to her.

First, involve the kids in the planning. We had three children so everyone in the family had to list at least seven things they wanted to see. Then we plotted them on a map and fit them into our trip. We tried to visit at least three things each person had chosen. Since we all made a list, Mom and Dad also got to see three things they wanted which was nice.

Next, get each child a camera even if it's a very inexpensive one. They will have a grand time with it and their own pictures will mean more to them than your pictures will . . . and they will take very different pictures. I was always amazed at what our kids saw that I didn't . . . and vice versa, of course.

I asked our kids to keep a journal and it usually worked. They still have some of them but most are long gone. If nothing else, it helps identify photos when you get home. If your kids are reluctant, try something easy like date and a list of places you visited that day or give them a goal like identifying favorite meals or activities. If there is mass rebellion, forget the idea.

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Notre Dame from Square Viviani in the Latin Quarter - Paris

Notre Dame from Square Viviani in the Latin Quarter - Paris

Here are some things that are particularly fun for teens and you do have to take their tastes and your budget into consideration. Web sites listed are in English unless specified otherwise.

Notre Dame Cathedral: If lines aren’t too long, climb the tower to see the gargoyles up close and personal. The square in front of the Cathedral is always fun with buskers and tourists, birds to feed and there is even a nice park behind the Cathedral.

The Eiffel Tower: There can be a long wait to climb so you may want to just look and walk underneath for photo ops. If you can afford it, reserve lunch or dinner at one of the Eiffel Tower restaurants for great views of Paris without waiting in line to go up the tower. If you want to do something totally different, take them up the elevator in the Montparnasse Tower where they will have a great view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. You really can't see the Eiffel Tower when you are in it, so the Montparnasse Tower is great for a typical Paris photo with the Eiffel Tower in it. There is a viewing platform at the top and there are a couple restaurants.

Fat Tire Bike Tour resting in the Tuileries Gardens

Fat Tire Bike Tour resting in the Tuileries Gardens


The Rodin Museum and garden: The kids under age 18 are free but you have to pay. If you don't want to, skip the museum and go through the garden with lots of sculptures and it's only 4 euros for adults and the kids are free. There is a nice tea room in the garden and a playground for younger children.

A Fat Tire Bike Tour: If you have nice weather, this is the perfect thing to do with teens. You ride around Paris on bicycles with a guide who stops and explains the sights. We've never done it, but we've seen them going around town and heard the guides when they were in the Tuileries taking a break and we happened to be there. It looked like great fun, especially if your teens like bike riding.

A Segway Tour: We were crossing the Seine to the Musée d'Orsay once and were passed by a group on Segways. They looked like they were having a grand time and there were a lot of teens in the group. We saw another group on Segways in Nice and again, lots of teens and it looked like they were all enjoying themselves.

Play Area at the Cluny Museum Medieval Gardens

Play Area at the Cluny Museum Medieval Gardens

Cluny Museum (Musée de Moyen Age): This is one museum that usually doesn't have a line so is a good place to buy your Paris Museum Pass if you plan to get one. The Museum Pass is for Mom and Dad because most of the museums are free for kids under age 18. The Cluny is a small museum and very popular with school groups. You can spend as much or as little time here as you want and then have a picnic in the medieval garden outside. You can visit the garden for free if you don't want to visit the museum. For the picnic, get something from the nearby market or there are street vendors across the street. There is also a nearby McDonald's if the kids think that is cool. There is a great playground here for the younger set.

Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens: You should try to visit one of these gardens and both if you have time. The Tuileries has a carnival in warmer months, a permanent playground all year, cafés, miniature sailboats to rent, fish to feed, the Orangerie Museum, lots of people to watch and great ice cream (gelato). The Luxembourg has pony rides, chess games, puppet shows, tennis, jogging, concerts, cafés, an art museum, fountains and more miniature sailboats to rent.

Tuileries Gardens, toy boats and country fair - Paris

Tuileries Gardens, toy boats and country fair - Paris

Musée d’Orsay: All the Impressionists are here; it's reasonably small so doesn't take all day, and even young teens should enjoy a short visit. There are special activities for different ages of children so ask at the desk when you enter. Kids often enjoy museums more when they go through with a purpose like filling out an activity sheet. If our own kids are any guide, most teens age 13 or 14 and up should enjoy limited visits to places like the Orsay. It's an old converted train station and just seeing the inside of the building is great fun.

Cité des Sciences at the Parc de la Villette: It’s the largest technical and scientific museum in Europe with lots of interactive exhibits. The famous Géode, a theater with a 180-degree screen would be fun too. There is also a Musée de la Musique in the same park with more interactive exhibits. You could turn them loose in the park for a while too.

Enjoying the Berges of the Seine

Enjoying the Berges of the Seine

The Berges of the Seine: The banks of the Seine are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so in 2013 they removed the highways along the river on the Left Bank from Pont Léopold-Sédar-Senghor (formerly Pont Solferino) to the Pont Du Gros Caillou and it has been pedestrianized and set up with all sorts of activities that should appeal to nearly everyone. This is for Parisians and visitors. It even includes tipis that can be used for kids' birthdays. There are running tracks, meditation areas, lessons in all kinds of things from running to yoga. There are restaurants and even food mobiles. It all looks like great fun and especially in the summer when everyone will be out enjoying the river, it certainly would be worth exploring. Check the web site for the activity schedules or just go to the information booths that are on site. In April of 2017 the Right bank opened. Check the web site below for all the activities.

Here are some web sites for the suggestions above.
Cluny Museum or Musée de Moyen Age (under age 18 are free)
Rodin Museum and Gardens (under age 18 are free)
Musée d'Orsay (under age 18 are free)
Museum of Science and Industry (under age 2 are free; others have different rates, check the web site)
Museum of Music (under age 26 are free)
Fat Tire Bike Tour
A Segway Tour of Paris
The Tuileries Gardens
The Luxembourg Gardens (Don't switch to English or you go to the Senate web site.)
Berges of the Seine web site (For all ages, infant to senior citizens)

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Pony rides in Parc Monceau in Paris

Pony rides in Parc Monceau in Paris

Here are some suggestions for the preteens. A family going to Paris with their children under age 10 asked me to plan three days for them focusing on the kids enjoying the trip. Here are my suggestions to them and you can take what you need from this. If you have longer, there are many more things for younger children in Paris. It is the perfect city for small children and the French love children so will spoil them in restaurants and parks. You will get more attention simply because you have them with you. It's a great way to meet the French people. They had already planned their fourth day at Paris Disneyland. A good substitute for this is Parc Asterix, a very French theme park featuring the cartoon characters Asterix and Obelisk. If your kids insist on Disney, that's fine, but if they are up for an adventure, try Park Asterix. Parc Asterix web site

023d5_Pl_Igor_Stravinsky.jpg

They said they only had a half day for day one. Their idea of the Jardin des Plantes and a Seine River Cruise sounded great to me, and the little zoo at the Jardin des Plantes is fun. There are also ducks wandering the garden that you can feed if you take a few baguette crumbs with you. This is a much overlooked garden in Paris but it is truly charming and great for little ones because there are ducks and pigeons on the grounds and the little menagerie (zoo) is child-sized. In the spring there are baby animals and that is always fun. (There is a genuine zoo out at the Parc de Vincennes but that's a real day trip.) Jardin des Plantes web site in French

Day 2: Unless your kids are more patient standing in line than ours were, I'd just walk under and around the Eiffel Tower, buy them an ice cream cone, let them ride the carousel and leave. Walk across the river to the Trocadero (great Eiffel Tower views), let the kids buy a funky souvenir from the many vendors there and then get on the Metro #6 in the direction of Charles de Gaulle-Etoile. Eiffel Tower web site

This takes you to the Arc de Triomphe. At the Arc de Triomphe be sure you take the tunnel under the road; it's much safer than trying to cross the street. Walk around with all the other tourists, check the Eternal Flame and see if there is a huge line to go up to the top. If there isn't a long line and the elevator is working, go up and enjoy a fabulous view of Paris. If there's a huge line, I'd skip it. Get back on the Metro #1 in the direction of Chateau de Vincennes and take it to Champs Elysées/Clemenceau stop (4 stations from the Arc). Arc de Triomphe web site

Busker near Place du Tertre in Montmartre

Busker near Place du Tertre in Montmartre

Now get out and walk the Champs Elysées toward the Place de la Concorde. This takes you on the Champs Elysées through a lovely garden with the Grand and Petit Palais on your right. It's a lovely walk and skips all the overpriced stores on the previous section of the boulevard. At the Place de la Concorde, go up the stairs on either side and into the Tuileries Gardens. The kids can feed the fish in the first pond if they have a few baguette crumbs with them. Otherwise, walk through the Tuileries looking at all the fun things there. If it's summer, there's even a fun fair (carnival) in the Tuileries. There are also a couple outdoor cafes there and it would be a great place to stop for lunch with two kids. They can chase pigeons and ducks or sit and recover from the sightseeing. Lots to see and do including renting little sailboats if they wish. Tuileries Gardens web site

After lunch you are right at the Louvre so this would be a good time to visit. You don't want to stand in line so go around toward the Seine, along the river and you will see two green lions at a doorway. This is the Lions' Gate and you can get into the Louvre there without any line at all. Check the web site and see what you think you and the kids might enjoy because you could spend a month inside the Louvre and not see everything. There's a fun Egyptian collection, the Napoleon apartments, neat sculptures . . . lots of paintings. Here's the web site: Official Louvre Web Site That should pretty much finish your day. Hop the Metro back to your hotel.

Fun Bus Tours Of Paris

Fun Bus Tours Of Paris

Day 3: Take the Metro to Hotel de Ville. Then you can walk across the Seine to the Ile de la Cité and visit Notre Dame. You don't have to climb the towers, it's great just to walk through and marvel at how big and beautiful the church is. There is a small playground between the church and the river and you will often see street performers in front of the cathedral. It's fun and the kids will remember it forever. (So will you.) Note there are 387 steps up the tower to see the gargoyles and there is no elevator (lift). Notre Dame Cathedral web site

Next you can walk down to Pont Neuf and go across in one direction or the other. If you want to visit Invalides, walk the Pont Neuf to the right bank and go up past the east end of the Louvre to the Louvre-Rivoli Metro station and take the #1 Metro in the direction of La Defense for 3 stations and get off at Concorde station to change to the #12 Metro direction of Maire d'Issy and get off at Assemblee Nationale right at Invalides. Visit Invalides, see Napoleon's Tomb and stop at a nearby cafe for lunch. A good choice might be to pay the four euros to get into the Rodin gardens. (kids are free) There is a tea room in the gardens and you can eat while the kids run around in the gardens. There is a small play area and lots of French children will be there with them. It would be fun and you can enjoy the sculptures. That and getting back to your hotel will give you a full but fairly relaxed day. Invalides web site and Rodin Museum web site

Then you are off to Disneyland the next day and that will be a full day. Disneyland web site

Lots of children in the sand - Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

Lots of children in the sand - Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

If the kids can carry their own luggage, take the Metro out to CDG for the trip. Otherwise, you might find it easier to take a shuttle and let the driver deal with your luggage. We have used Paris Blue Shuttle and it's always been on time and reasonable. Paris Blue Shuttle web site

If you only do half of this, you will still have a memorable vacation and the kids will make it more fun. BTW, Parisians and the French in general, love kids so people will be happy to help you and give you directions. Just tell the kids to smile a lot and say "merci" a lot. Everyone will be enchanted. Have a great trip.

More suggestions including Playgrounds in Paris:

If you are headed to Paris with children, there is a lot to keep them occupied. Also, the French love children so you will get a lot of extra attention. If you have tiny ones, there are lots of parks where you can take a break and let them rest . . . or run off extra energy. Let it be said that our youngest child is nearing 40 so we don't travel with small children. However, you can't help notice the little guys when you are there. We've been delighted with all the things for children in Paris and would not hesitate to take children from 2 to 20 to Paris. (The teenagers will love that one!)

Chasing bubbles in Parc Monceau

Chasing bubbles in Parc Monceau

For small children, there are playgrounds and parks all over the city. The Luxembourg Gardens even have a special age-limited play area. There are puppet shows, pony rides, games, flowers (our granddaughter's specialty) and even toy boats to sail in public fountains. If you have a child (or adult) interested in chess, there are public chess games . . . participate or watch.

For all ages, the Tuileries Gardens near the Louvre has a summer fun fair with rides, a carousel and Ferris wheel in addition to the toy boats and in the far fountain, you can feed the fish. (Bring your own baguette pieces.)

Visiting the Cluny Museum (Musée de Moyen Age) in the Latin Quarter? There is a wonderful children's playground in the medieval gardens right outside the museum. Get a sandwich from a sidewalk salesman across the street and retire to the gardens for lunch and let the kids run wild. They have recently enlarged the children's play area. Cluny Museum web site

Visiting Invalides and Napoleon's tomb? Right around the corner (west side of Invalides) along the rue Fabert you will find a small playground tucked into the grounds. It is shaded and quite private considering it is near a major tourist sight in Paris. Invalides web site

Sacre Coeur through the clock in the Musée d'Orsay

Sacre Coeur through the clock in the Musée d'Orsay

Visiting the Rodin Museum? (If you're near Invalides, you might as well.) There are lovely gardens and several places for the kids including a sandbox at the far end near the tea room. Get a tea or coffee and watch the kids play in the gardens. (There is a 4 euro charge for the gardens but also many sculptures there.) Rodin Museum web site

Visiting Notre Dame cathedral? Between the cathedral and the Seine river, there is a small playground where you can watch boats on the Seine and the kids can relax.

If you are in the Marais, the Place des Vosges isn't a playground per se, but you will see many happy French families enjoying the grass, shade and fountains. Join them. The square is one of the most beautiful in Paris.

The Jardin des Plantes on the banks of the Seine at the eastern end of the Latin Quarter is great. There are plants, flowers, a Natural History Museum, a large metal ballein whale ( I have no idea why), ducks wandering loose and in the northwestern corner there is a small zoo or menagerie which includes black swans, deer and kangaroos. Spring is fun here with all the new baby animals!

Walking to the Pompidou Center, plan to pass the Tower of St. Jacques. It has been completely renovated and there is a lovely playground on the grounds at the foot of the Tower. Then go on over to the Pompidou and at Place Igor Stravinsky let the kids enjoy the really fun and colorful sculptures that rotate and spout water in the huge fountain. You can settle at the cafe while the kids enjoy the fountains.

Cité De La Musique in Paris

Cité De La Musique in Paris

The Garden of the Palais Royale is always fun. Just outside the garden are the Daniel Buren sculptures that are different sized pillars painted black and white. We have often seen Parisian children and their mothers playing on these. There seems to be a popular counting game. Watch and learn.

Further afield, the Pare Monceau in the 8th is huge and full of happy Parisians relaxing. On holidays (and probably all summer) they offer pony rides. There are ducks and ponds, a carousel and refreshment stands. There are benches for mom and dad. Visit the Cernuschi Museum and the Nissim de Camondo Museum nearby.

Have teenagers? They might enjoy the Viaduc des Arts in the 11th. It's an abandoned rail track that's been converted to a long narrow upstairs park. You can climb up onto it from a block behind the Opera Bastille. Look for the stairs. Get a birds eye view of Paris.

Another age 8 to adult favorite is the Cité de la Musique. It is an interactive Music Museum where you walk through with laser-guided earphones. When you walk into an exhibit, the earphones play it for you. Outside is the Pare de la Villette with crazy chairs and statues and best of all, the Cité des Sciences et de l'lndustrie. This is where you find the giant Geode Theater. You can't miss it. It is a huge cinema in the round inside a silver ball. The museum is just on the other side of the little canal. You might enjoy a canal-boat trip to and from the park.
Music Museum web site
Cité des Sciences et de l'lndustrie web site

2014 Paris Pratique - Paris Map

2014 Paris Pratique - Paris Map


If you're thinking of Disney Paris, reconsider and think about Parc Asterix instead. It's in the same general area and very French. It is a theme park based on the French comic book character Asterix and is loosely French-European history from the Celtic-Roman eras combined with rides, shows and food. Parc Asterix web site Keep your eyes open, there are many more places for children. Paris is a city that loves children.

Tips

Posted by Beausoleil 11:51 Archived in France Tagged children paris france kids travel_with_children travel_with_kids Comments (1)

Must-See Sights in Paris

Everyone asks what you must see in Paris. It is different for everyone but here are some of our favorites.


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Place des Vosges in Paris

Place des Vosges in Paris

The first question most people ask is what are the must-see places in Paris. This, of course, varies according to your interests. Here are some of the things we particularly enjoy and you may want to think about visiting some of them.

Place Igor Stravinsky near the Pompidou Center

Place Igor Stravinsky near the Pompidou Center

Place du Tertre, Montmartre in Paris

Place du Tertre, Montmartre in Paris

Must-See in Paris (for the two of us and perhaps for you)

Place des Vosges, the most beautiful square in Paris (4th arrondissement)
Place Igor Stravinsky with the Stravinsky Fountain and the Pompidou Center
Place du Tertre with tourist mania, cafés and street artists
Parks: Jardin des Tuileries and the Luxembourg Gardens are gorgeous public gardens
Museums: the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Rodin, the Picasso, the Cluny or Musée du Moyen Age. Many other museums according to your interests.
Churches: Notre Dame, St. Sulpice, Sacre Coeur and St. Pierre in Montmartre, Ste. Chapelle with gorgeous stained glass
The Eiffel Tower
The Arc de Triomphe
Take a BatoBus ride on the Seine
Eat Berthillon ice cream on Ile St. Louis

Some useful web sites for the above:
The Louvre web site in English
Musée d'Orsay web site in English
Rodin Museum web site in English
Picasso Museum web site in English
Cluny Museum web site in English
Eiffel Tower web site in English
Arc de Triomphe web site in English (not listed as a secure web site)
Ste. Chapelle web site in English
Batobus web site
Paris Museum Pass web site
Paris L'Open HOHO Bus Tour web site
Paris BigBus HOHO Bus Tour web site (Check both sites.)

023d5_Pl_Igor_Stravinsky.jpg

To do all this without getting lost, consider getting Paris Pratique par arrondissement a map booklet of all Paris. It has streets, sights, gardens and parks listed along with all the subway, train and bus lines and is fully indexed. Invaluable and available at FNAC, news stands, tabacs and lately at tourist souvenir shops. It also makes a great souvenir when you get home. (You can order it ahead from amazon.com but be sure it is an edition 2021 or later because some of the Metro lines have changed and you want to be sure you have the correct ending stations on your map.)

The Tuileries Gardens with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The Tuileries Gardens with the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Some people do not enjoy museums or like to keep them at a minimum and Paris is famous for its museums. However, if you want to visit Paris and skip the museums entirely, it is possible to spend a glorious holiday and never set foot in a museum. One time in Paris we didn't go to one museum (unusual for us). There is a lot to do without entering a museum. My favorite place in Paris is the Tuileries Gardens and we never miss that. The Luxembourg Gardens are equally fun and completely different. Here's a list of non-museum things to do.

(1) Tuileries Gardens (summer fair with Ferris wheel, carousel, etc.)
(2) Ste. Chapelle (gorgeous stained glass; go on a sunny day)
(3) Luxembourg Gardens (people and fun)
(4) Notre Dame Cathedral & the great park behind it
(5) Batobus ride on the Seine (use it for transportation one day)
(6) Eiffel Tower and area (you can get the Batobus here for a river tour)
(7) A show at the Geode by the Museum of Science and Industry in Parc Villette
(8) Ile St. Louis and some Berthillon ice cream (closed in August)
(9) Latin Quarter walk
(10) Place des Vosges and walk in the Marais
(11) Place Igor Stravinsky with its cafes and fountains. Fun and charming
(12) The very touristy Place du Tertre up by Sacre Coeur is noisy and fun

Notre Dame Cathedral from the Batobus stop

Notre Dame Cathedral from the Batobus stop


Sacre Coeur through the clock in the Musée d'Orsay

Sacre Coeur through the clock in the Musée d'Orsay


There are also many marvelous churches, shops, parks you can enjoy. Even though you don't like museums, you might enjoy the Musee d'Orsay. It's a bit different from your ordinary museum. The building itself is wonderful. It's a converted train station and has great views of Sacre Coeur through the huge clock upstairs. They also have a terrific restaurant.

Posted by Beausoleil 12:42 Archived in France Tagged paris sights must-see_sights Comments (2)

Avoiding lines at the Louvre

There is always a long line at the Pyramid Entrance; Use another entrance. It's easy. (Most of the time)


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Pei Pyramid at the Louvre Museum

Pei Pyramid at the Louvre Museum

This started as an answer to someone in the Forum so I'm answering a direct question. He was asking how we get into the Louvre without waiting in long lines and started by asking if you could buy tickets in advance.

First, yes, you can buy advance tickets. You may have to queue online to get these tickets and the online tickets are now the only ones guaranteeing you entrance. Update 2019: Honestly, it was so crowded the last time we visited Paris that we just skipped the Louvre. There are lots of other excellent museums and we'd seen it many times. It his is your only chance, buy online ahead and be ready to wait even with the ticket. Advance tickets for the Louvre Museum

We never are quite sure when we want to go so we don't buy advance tickets but if you know you want to go at a particular time, that would be very easy.

We have always used the Lion's Gate and never found a line. I notice they have recently reserved that for Groups with booking confirmation so it's not an option now. The Louvre notoriously changes rules for the different entrances so if you aren't going for six months or so, I'd check their web site to see if that has changed. UPDATE 2019: The Louvre attendance has gone up 31% and they have cut staff. The staff is understandably upset about this. Last Wednesday they had to close the museum because of staff complaints. It reopened Thursday. We had been there the week before and discovered all entrances except the Pyramid were closed due to lack of staff. Needless to say, the line at the Pyramid was even longer than usual and we did not bother to wait. Either buy your tickets ahead of time for a shorter line or save the Louvre for a future trip when they solve their staffing problems. Do check the web site before you go. Entrances, hours and prices for the Louvre Museum

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Place du Carrousel at the Louvre

Place du Carrousel at the Louvre

As I mentioned in my first post here, don't use the entrance at the Pyramid. There is always a long line there. There are other entrances. If you are outside and by the large triumphal arch (Place du Carrousel), look on either side of the huge arch and you'll see a low cement wall. Walk over to it and you will discover stairs going down underneath the Place du Carrousel. Go down and find another, much less crowded entrance to the Louvre. There is also the entrance off the downstairs shopping mall and another at Passage Richelieu. The Passage Richelieu was once the tour group entrance but that seems to have moved to the Lion's Gate. As I say, they change the group entrances occasionally so check before you go. The Lion's Gate is most difficult to find so the least used which is why we have always used it. Here is an interactive floor plan that shows you where the different entrances are. Interactive Floor Plan of the Louvre Museum

I just clicked on the Interactive Floor Plan of the Louvre Museum I posted above and noticed that the two entrances on either side of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel are not shown on the Louvre map. Trust me, they are there. They're very hard to see because it is a low cement wall (on either side of the arch) and it goes down so there is nothing to indicate anything is actually there unless you walk over to the top of the steps and then you can see the Louvre sign at the bottom. The first time we tried to find it, we failed and walked right past. I've actually never seen the one one the south side of the arch because we've used the one on the north side. Entering the Louvre from the Metro is also usually pretty fast. Don't go up to street level; enter the museum from where you exit the Metro train. There are signs.

*****

Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas

Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas


Going through the shopping center is also an easy entrance and there is a nice museum store there. Here's the link to a map through the shopping center to the museum entrance: Carrousel du Louvre map

The shopping center entrance is at 99, rue de Rivoli and the link to the map also tells you how to get there by various means. If you want to do some real Paris shopping, this is a great shopping center and is particularly pretty at Christmas.

Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas

Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas


The Louvre Museum Store in the Carrousel du Louvre

The Louvre Museum Store in the Carrousel du Louvre


Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas

Carrousel du Louvre shopping center at Christmas


Louvre Entrances that are hard to find

Louvre Entrances that are hard to find

Posted by Beausoleil 14:01 Archived in France Tagged museums shopping louvre Comments (9)

Restaurants in Paris

What to expect - Budgeting - Favorite Restaurants and some others (At the end, you'll find addresses and links to a few nice restaurants)


View Dordogne and Occitanie & Around France and through Switzerland 1998 & Provence 2014 & Pays de la Loire & Bordeaux, Basque country and the Dordogne 2017 & Around France with Jean 2000 on Beausoleil's travel map.

Café Le St. Germain near our Metro stop

Café Le St. Germain near our Metro stop

Service is different in France.

Restaurants in France are required to post their menus outside so you don't have to worry about sitting down and discovering you can't afford anything on the menu. The French cruise the menus. You can do that too. Look until you find what you want to eat at a price you like. Try not to go in, sit down and then decide you don't want to stay. That just isn't done and there is no need since the menu is posted outside.

If you want to eat, sit at a table set for a meal or wait to be seated. If you just want a coffee or other drink, choose a table that is not set for a meal. If you order only a drink at a table set for a meal, expect to be asked (politely) to move. It's the same in and out.

Check below for some restaurants we've enjoyed in Paris.

*****

Le Petite Hostellerie on rue de la Harpe

Le Petite Hostellerie on rue de la Harpe

Most waiters in France are very professional and very proud of doing an excellent job no matter what the prices are in the restaurant.

On the other hand, don't expect French waiters to introduce themselves to you when they arrive at your table. "Hi, I'm Jacques. I'll be your server today." It just won't happen. They will take your order. You will receive your order. No one will come back (when your mouth is full) and ask if everything is okay. They expect you to have enough sense to tell them If something is wrong. If there is, tell them and they will fix it. You will not see them again unless you call them. They think it is intrusive to interrupt your meal so they leave you alone to enjoy i t . . . nearly forever unless you realize you won't get the bill until you ask for it. What many people regard as poor service is just a cultural difference. They will not try to hurry you. The table is yours until you ask for the check. If you don't ask for the check, you can sit there all night. Funny!

If there is a problem with your order, tell the waiter as soon as possible so he can take care of it. We've always found them to be very helpful and sympathetic.

*****



Le Cabanon de la Butte in Montmartre

Le Cabanon de la Butte in Montmartre

A menu in France is called a carte. The word Menu refers to a selection of courses at a fixed price that are listed on the carte. There are usually two or three choices at different prices. When you order, you simply ask for the 15 euro Menu. If there is a choice of appetizers or any other courses, the waiter will ask your preferences, but the cheaper the Menu, the fewer your choices will be. If you like the fixed choices, it's a great bargain and one we often use. (Sometimes the fixed price offer is called a Formula or Special du Jour instead of a Menu.)

If you don't order a Menu, you order a la Carte (or off the menu card) and it can be more expensive depending on how many courses you choose and their price but you are free to order anything on the menu.

Fun Story: Once in Brittany we walked into a little country restaurant and without thinking asked for the menu. After a decent interval, the waitress brought out a starter. We were quite surprised as we expected a printed menu to make our choice, i.e. the carte. This was followed in due time by a wonderful roasted chicken dish and a lovely tart. We noticed most of the people in the little restaurant were eating the same thing and that they all knew each other. Our waitress didn't speak English; she wasn't used to dealing with tourists as all the patrons were local and to her, the menu that we asked for was the "Special Menu" of the day. They didn't have a choice of menus at different prices. Each day there was a special and that was your choice unless you ordered a la carte. Fortunately, we loved the meal... and quickly realized we were back in France!

Pain et Chocolat, near the Eiffel Tower

Pain et Chocolat, near the Eiffel Tower

How do you budget for food in Paris?

On the Forum, people ask how much to budget for food when planning trips. We just returned from a month in Paris and found excellent meals at 10.90 euros; however, once we paid 45 euros (didn't return there) for a meal. Interestingly the 10.90 euro meals tasted a lot better than the 45 euro meal and we returned there often. [This particular trip was in 2014 so the prices will be higher today. Check web sites.]

My husband (who paid the bills) says on that trip, our average price per meal was 25 to 35 dollars. He thinks in dollars and I think in euros but you will be paying in euros so check the exchange rate near the time you are going. (You can usually find a Menu du Jour or Formula in the range of 12 euros up to 35 to 45 euros.) There are also places with fixed price menus of 10.90 euros and the one near where we stayed was fabulous. We loved it. Good food; good service; good price. It was our go-to café when we didn't have other plans. We tried all their daily specials and they were all good. In fact, we ate there nine different times over the month.

We usually get the fixed price menu, either a starter and main course or a main course and dessert. If you want three courses, it will cost more. If you don't want the fixed price menu, it will cost more. The fixed price menu usually does not include your drink. We usually get a glass or small pitcher of wine with each meal. You may also ask for a "carafe d'eau" or bottle of tap water for free and no one will think you strange. On our last trip (a few months ago), this was being brought to the table automatically and was chilled. France is changing . . .

The restaurants post their menus outside or in the window so you can check the menu before you enter. If you don't see something you will enjoy eating at a price you are willing to pay, walk on to the next restaurant. The French do this and you can join them. My husband loves cruising menus.

Boulangerie les Deux Frères in Montmartre

Boulangerie les Deux Frères in Montmartre

Can you eat for less than this? Yes, of course. Walk a few blocks from tourist sites and prices go down. Street food is nearly always good and in Paris you have a lot of different choices. Most boulangeries (bakeries) have a few deli-type items like pizza or sandwiches and most epiceries (grocery stores) will have some deli items. Any charcuterie (deli) will have many picnic-worthy items. You can find a park bench nearly everywhere in Paris and join the Parisians having their own picnics. There are crepe stands and sandwich vendors . . . all very reasonable. Ethnic restaurants can often be less expensive if you are feeling adventurous. You can spend a little or a lot in Paris. It's your choice.

*****

Restaurants we have enjoyed over the years

La Bastide d'Opio, our favorite Paris restaurant

La Bastide d'Opio, our favorite Paris restaurant

La Bastide d'Opio - A bit of Provence in Paris and our very favorite restaurant (unfortunately, now closed)

We've eaten in this little restaurant many times and every time it has been a wonderful experience. It's tucked away on rue Guisarde in the St. Germain district (6th arrondissement). We first discovered it when staying nearby at Hotel Clement but since then we make a point of getting there at least once on each trip to Paris. Once when we were spending a month in Paris, La Bastide d'Opio was our Sunday dinner restaurant since it was close to St. Sulpice where we enjoy the church with an organ recital after the service.

The decor reminds us of Provence, as it is supposed to, and the ambience is pure Provence including a very good wait staff. It is all warm woods, Provencal fabrics, the soft sound of crickets (recorded) and an upstairs room for the overflow crowd. There is always an overflow crowd.

La Bastide d'Opio, our favorite Paris restaurant

La Bastide d'Opio, our favorite Paris restaurant


I love the eggplant starter and my favorite main dish is the rabbit stewed with olives. However, the last time my husband and I had duck and it was melt-in-the-mouth fabulous. The most fun experience was with our youngest daughter who ordered the marinated beef brochettes. The shish-kabob arrived hanging on a stand suspended above her plate. We had a good laugh, grabbed our cameras and took pictures. She wrestled it onto her plate and reported it was delicious. Our older daughter got a pasta dish and loved it but often we have pasta at home so I've never tried it there. I usually skip dessert but once when one daughter was with us, we ordered two chocolate cakes with chocolate filling and a crême brulée that were all excellent. I've had dessert a few times now and it's always been very good. [The brochettes are no longer served on a skewer since a child poked himself in the eye while playing with one once. Child and eye are okay; skewers are not. I had an unskewered brochette on a recent trip and it tasted excellent but wasn't nearly as much fun!]

The menu is moderately priced and everything we've tried has been excellent. It does change with the seasons but it should.

*****

Restaurant La Bonne Excuse in Paris

Restaurant La Bonne Excuse in Paris

La Bonne Excuse - A wonderful new restaurant in Paris

We found this new restaurant down the street from our apartment and love it. We planned to go to another restaurant (across the street) and accidentally walked into La Bonne Excuse without looking at the name and made a reservation for our 50th anniversary dinner. That evening we walked down and entered to discover while chatting with the waitress that we were in La Bonne Excuse, a new restaurant. The welcome had been so warm and we had checked the menu before reserving and knew we could get what we wanted for dinner so didn't worry about it.

As it turned out, the service was fantastic, the food was delicious and they even brought our desserts out with sparklers for our anniversary. It was the perfect anniversary experience. We couldn't have done better if we had planned it. Serendipity . . .

Lamb with my vegetable choice

Lamb with my vegetable choice

They serve traditional French cuisine but with a modern twist and all their food is organic. It is a bit more than we usually pay for a dinner but it was a special night and it was truly worth the cost.

For our anniversary, I ordered the saddle of lamb but asked for the vegetables that came with the pork. I saw the waitress discussing this with the chef and he came out to discuss it with me. He didn't feel the vegetables with the pork would be suitable with the lamb so he asked me what vegetables I like and asked me to trust him. I was very glad I did. The succulent lamb came out with a melange of my favorite vegetables covered in edible flower petals. It not only tasted great; it was beautiful.

My husband did get the pork and loved his vegetables but I could see why they wouldn't have gone with my lamb. Both meals were excellent, fork-tender meat. I don't even remember what we had for dessert, just that it came out with lit sparklers. It was a complete surprise and great fun. Everyone in the restaurant wished us a Happy 50th annniversary and that was fun too.

This is a chef who cares about what he serves but is still flexible.

Interestingly, we returned 18 months later. We were in Paris and had such great memories that we decided to splurge and go to La Bonne Excuse again. They recognized us when we walked in which was a complete surprise. It felt like coming home and the food was equally good the second time. It has now become one of our two favorite restaurants in Paris and while we can't afford it often, we try to eat there at least once on each trip.

Address: 48 rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: Near the Musee d'Orsay on rue de Verneuil
Other Contact: la.bonne.excuse@free.fr
Phone: +33 (0)1 4261 5021
Price: US$31-40

Website: La Bonne Excuse web site

*****

Brasserie Lipp

Brasserie Lipp

Brasserie Lipp: Yes, it's touristy, but it's also literary!

There are three famous cafés near the Church of St. German des Pres, the Deux Magots, the Café Flore and Brasserie Lipp. All are mentioned in literature and connected to the marvelous era when Hemingway was in Paris. We decided to ignore the fact that they are considered tourist traps and eat in one of them just to say we'd been there. If you can't have fun being a tourist in Paris, why go there?

We couldn't find the posted menu at Deux Magots and it was very crowded. Café Flore was crowded beyond all belief so we headed across the street to Brasserie Lipp where the afternoon coffee crowd had left and the evening dinner crowd hadn't arrived and got a table (after making sure we could afford it). It was a cold, rainy November night and the outside menu tempted us inside with fondue . . . comfort food if ever there was comfort food.

The waiter was very nice and seated us in the back near a table of German businessmen, a French family and a lone French woman. We were subsequently joined by another French woman with what appeared to be her grandson or young nephew. It was warm and quiet and the waiters were friendly and efficient.

We had an excellent dinner, very well served, for more than we usually spend, but we decided it was worth it. The lighting in the restaurant is subdued and the three waiters in our section obviously enjoyed their work. It was warm and friendly and worth every penny we paid. When we left several hours later, we noticed the cafe was completely full so If you don't have a reservation, go early, 7ish perhaps.

Prices: Special du Jour from 22 to 29 euros; plats (main course) from 18 euros
Phone: +33 (0)1 4548-5391
Address: 151 Boulevard Saint Germain, 75006 Paris, near St. Germain des Pres
Directions: Just down the street from St. Germain des Pres church and on the opposite side of the street
Click here to check their menu: Brasserie Lipp web site

*****

Café de L'Empire in Paris

Café de L'Empire in Paris

Café de l’Empire

We spent the month of June in Paris and rented an apartment. Fortunately for us, there was a marvelous little neighborhood restaurant a block from us and we managed to eat there nine times during the month. It was that good.

The kitchen is open so, with the right table, you can watch the chef. The wait staff were unfailingly friendly and we noticed all the local shopkeepers and workers eat there daily. After our third visit, the manager waved to us when we walked by on the street.

What brought us back, however, was the food. They had a daily special for 10.90 euros and it was always excellent. I tried them all and loved them all.

Favorite Dish: Here are some of my Journal entries for days we ate there. The first time we had just landed in Paris and I was determined to have confit de canard so we walked around to all the nearby restaurants and checked menus and prices. The menus I liked were way out of our price range so we retreated to L'Empire because they had the confit I wanted and the price was ridiculously low compared to the other places nearby. It was fabulous! We were so glad we found it. Here are some of my Journal entries:

"It was very late for lunch, almost the two o’clock witching hour so we walked back to our apartment and left hats and things before walking quickly to L’Empire a block away. Ed got the chicken I had had the other day and I got the daily special, pintade (guinea fowl), and both meals were perfection. I got the chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert and Ed got an amazing combination of prunes, ice-cream and passion fruit. This little café is a delight. Meals were 10.90 euros each . . . unbelievable."

". . . we walked down to Café L’Empire for another great meal. The daily special was pork with couscous . . . an odd combination but delicious. Portions were so generous neither of us could finish our meal and we skipped dessert."

"She gave us the English menu but we have it memorized so didn’t even notice. We both had the excellent chicken and got the nougat ice cream with very dark chocolate sauce. It was great, as usual." (I will note here that I have trouble reading English menus so we always ask for the French menu so we know what we are getting since they don't always translate them accurately into English. That's why I mentioned the English menu here, but if you need an English menu, obviously, they have one.)

Address: 17 rue de Bac, 75007 Paris
Directions: On the corner of rue de Bac and rue de Verneuil
Phone: +33 (0)1 4015 9118
Price: US$11-20
Website: Café de L'Empire web site

*****

Au Lys D'Argent on the Ile St. Louis

Au Lys D'Argent on the Ile St. Louis

Au Lys d’Argent Salon de Thé

This was another of our happy accidents. We were looking for a restaurant I had chosen near Notre Dame and simply couldn't find it. We wandered over to the Ile St. Louis and while I was looking at menus, my husband spotted Au Lys d’Argent Salon de Thé. He found me and we walked around to Au Lys d'Argent and entered. It's small but very homey inside. There were a few regulars who had their own seats and then a few tourists who wandered in. In theory it is a salon de thé and creperie but neither of us likes crepes so we ordered from the menu.

We both had a hot goat cheese salad, quiche Lorraine and Berthillon's ice cream for 10.90 euros each. Honestly, we were very surprised at the price on the Ile St. Louis. This is prime tourist territory and the prices usually reflect that. The best part was the charming waitress and the delicious food. We felt like we were eating in someone's home.We both decided this is a real find and we'll be back.

^^^^^

Au Lys D'Argent on the Ile St. Louis

Au Lys D'Argent on the Ile St. Louis


Address: 90 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île, 75004 Paris
Directions: Cross Pont St. Louis and take the second right onto Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île
Phone: +33 (0)1 4633 5613
Price: US$11-20
Website: (no web site but you can do a search for photos)

*****

*****

*****

Le Petite Hostellerie on rue de la Harpe

Le Petite Hostellerie on rue de la Harpe

La Petite Hostellerie

This is a tiny hotel in the Latin Quarter with a restaurant on the ground floor. We noticed it because it was a cold, rainy November night and we wanted a nice warm cheese fondue. When we walked past this place which looks quintessentially French, we saw fondue on the menu and it looked very warm and friendly inside. We went in and it was filled with locals and a few tourists. Several people were singles and obviously had their own tables and knew the wait staff. It was warm and friendly and the fondue was excellent. We later met our waitress on the street and she remembered us and stopped and chatted. I can see why people return. UPDATE: I've read this restaurant has changed hands and reviews were mixed. We walked by a couple weeks ago and they have added tables outside that looked nice but it wasn't time to eat so we didn't check the food. We'll check it next time we're in Paris and give another update . . . or send me your opinion. Further UPDATE: We revisited the restaurant on our last trip to Paris and it has been redecorated and appears much cleaner but the food didn't seem any better for the change. It was adequate but we've found much nicer restaurants in the same price range so if you are in the area, it's adequate but certainly not worth a trip out of the way to eat there. We were visiting the Cluny Museum up the street (a favorite) so it was a good place for lunch.

The first time we had the cheese fondue which was on special that night. We returned two nights later and ordered from the carte. I don't remember what we each ordered but I do remember it wasn't as good as the special. The last time we ate there I had lamb and my husband had a pork filet. It was all okay but not outstanding. The desserts were excellent but it's hard to get a bad dessert in Paris. I suspect if you go here that you should order the special rather than just ordering from the menu. That's what the locals did and they seemed to keep returning so that must be the trick. It's not a bad policy for any restaurant but especially in the lower price ranges. They can't afford to disappoint their regular customers and these are the people who nearly always order the special.

Address: 35 rue de la Harpe
Directions: It's about halfway down rue de la Harpe on the east side of the street with a new green awning.
Phone: +33 1 4634-3950
Price: US$11-20
Website: (no web site but you can do a search for photos)

*****

Pizza del Castello in Vincennes across from the Château

Pizza del Castello in Vincennes across from the Château

Pizza del Castello

We took the #1 Metro line to the very end which is the Chateau de Vincennes and happily explored the huge, medieval chateau all morning. By the time we climbed up and down all those stairs, we were hungry. We left the chateau by the Metro entrance and turned left down ave. de Paris past an array of restaurants. We carefully checked menus for selections and prices and kept walking. At the corner of ave. de Paris and rue Robert Giraudineau we found what we wanted. Something different. We had been eating French food twice daily for a while and it was time for a change. We looked at the menu at Pizza del Castello and cheerfully entered. It was busy but not frantic and the waiters were pure Italian.

We weren't quite up to a pizza so ordered the daily menu which was excellent. We had a lot of fun watching the pizza chef (yes, they have a pizza chef) making the pizzas and putting them in the wood-fired oven. It is not gourmet cuisine and it certainly is not French cuisine, but if you want a change for a meal, this is perfect. It is also very convenient for the Chateau de Vincennes (across the street) and the Parc Floral de Paris if you intend a visit there. Our meals were excellent and I must admit the pizzas looked and smelled fantastic. Must admit I forgot to take any photos so here is a Google Map photo. Do check the restaurant web site because the pictures are absolutely what you will see.

Address: 26 ave. de Paris
Directions: Directly across from the statue of St. Louis in front of the Chateau de Vincennes
Phone: +33 (0)1 4328 3357
Website:Pizza del Castello web site

*****

Le Lutetia Cafe, Ile St. Louis - Paris

Le Lutetia Cafe, Ile St. Louis - Paris

Le Lutetia on the Ile St. Louis

We found Le Lutetia on our second trip to France. We arrived, foolishly picked up our leased Peugeot (took 2 trips to learn not to get the car until leaving the city), checked into our hotel after parking illegally, walked off our jet lag and decided we needed food. We were staying near Place des Vosges that year and as we walked toward the Ile de la Cité, we found Le Lutetia on a corner facing the Seine on the Ile St. Louis . . . idyllic. It was a lovely July day and the menu was perfect. Service was pleasant and prompt, the food delicious and the view of the Seine magnificent. We've eaten here three times on three different trips, one including our adult daughters. We thoroughly enjoyed it each time. The food has been good and the service excellent. The views are outstanding. You can't beat the location. We will return, I'm sure. (As a post script, yes, we've returned several times.)

My journal entry for our first visit states, "We had salmon with noodles and I had a Greek salad. Great lunch."Of course since it's on the Ile St. Louis, one of their dessert offerings is Berthillon's ice cream. I would eat there just for the ice cream. It is fabulous . . . and if you're in Paris in August, Berthillon's is on vacation and you have to get the ice cream at a local restaurant. Berthillon's don't have a web site so all I can suggest is use a search engine for reviews.

Address: 33, quai Bourbon 75004 Paris
Directions: Ile St. Louis in Paris, Corner of rue de Bellay and Quai de Bourbon
Phone: +33 (0)1 4051-8030
Website: Le Lutetia Restaurant web site

*****

Le Nemours at Place Colette

Le Nemours at Place Colette

Café Nemours

Right on Place Colette at the Palais Royal-Louvre metro station (the bubbly one), this cafe-brasserie is a great place to stop for a coffee . . . or a meal. Our hotel was just around the corner so we walked over for a celebratory kir when we arrived back in Paris after being gone a month. That day there was a full string orchestra playing on the square so we sat, drank and enjoyed. Another morning we decided to skip breakfast at our hotel and visit Le Nemours for breakfast. Not only was it excellent, it cost less than the hotel breakfast and we had the fun of watching all Paris go to work . . . while we vacationed.

View from Café le Nemours

View from Café le Nemours

They make a nice kir, an excellent coffee and hot chocolate and their breakfasts are wonderful. The wait staff is very considerate and realize you are there for both food and the never-ending show walking through Place Colette either to the Louvre or the Palais Royal Gardens. If you want something, they are there. If you want to be left alone, they leave you alone to enjoy yourselves. They have the usual croque madame and croque monsieur, quiches, pastries, salads and probably many other things and their prices are amazingly reasonable considering the location. If you want a light lunch . . . or late supper, it's a great place to go because the Place Colette is always busy and fun. One December day we stopped for a quiche and Croque Monsieur on our way to the train for Strasbourg. It's more fun when it's warmer and you can sit outside and enjoy the constant parade of interesting people and I'm always fascinated by the very gaudy Metro station at Place Colette.

Address: 2 Place Colette, Paris 75001
Directions: It's right behind the Palais Royal-Louvre metro station on Place Colette.
Email: lenemours@wanadoo.fr
Phone: +33 (0)1 4261 3414
Price: US$10-20
Website: Café Le Nemours web site

*****

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

Le Grand Colbert

This lovely restaurant is hidden away in the 2nd arrondissement just off the first. It's in the area behind the Palais Royal Gardens and near the lovely galleries Colbert and Vivienne. It has the typical Paris bistro-type store front. You walk in and are transported back to Belle Epoque Paris with wood paneling and lots of mirrors and brass light fixtures. It is just beautiful.The wait staff were attentive and polite and all seemed to truly enjoy their job . . . and it was crowded. It was our last night in Paris on our latest trip and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't wait to return and take our daughters to dinner there.

My journal entry for the meal: So sad, our last night in Paris for a while. We went to Le Grand Colbert, 2 rue Vivienne for a marvelous dinner. It is Belle Epoque Paris with an excellent wait staff, excellent food and ambience to die for. We both got magret de canard cooked to perfection and since we were stuffed, I simply got two boules of ice cream for dessert . . . café and chocolat and they were intense! Just a lovely last night in Paris. There are no people in the restaurant in the photos here because we opened the place. We like to eat early so it was 7ish. By the time we left a few hours later, it was completely full so if you eat at a normal hour, make a reservation.

*****

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

Address: 2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris
Directions: Directly behind (north) the Palais Royal Gardens. I suspect you can get in via the Galerie Colbert but we entered from rue Vivienne
Email: info@legrandcolbert.fr
Phone: +33 (0)1 4286 8788
Price: US$11-20
Website: Le Grand Colbert web site

*****

Street market near La Corniche Restaurant

Street market near La Corniche Restaurant

La Corniche

We were exploring the Parc Monceau with our daughters and started looking for lunch. It was May 1st which is Labor Day in France and many places were closed. We rounded a corner and saw this Tunisian restaurant open. All of us enjoy couscous so we decided to see what it was like in Paris. The welcome was warm and friendly. Nearly all the patrons were large families there for their holiday dinner. The waiter explained all the menu offerings to us and the four of us managed to agree on our orders. Then the fun began. It is all served family style so we got tastes of everything . . . and there was a LOT. We couldn't begin to finish it all, but we had a great time trying. It is not far from the Arc de Triomphe and would be worth the short walk. (Restaurant closed on Sunday.)

Here is my journal entry for lunch: We walked back to blvd. de Courcelles where we found Restaurant La Corniche and had a really fun meal in a friendly neighborhood restaurant serving couscous specialties. We ordered family style and got crudités to start . . . all served in individual dishes. Then they brought out a huge platter of couscous, another huge platter of chicken brochettes, sausages and vegetables, a bowl of garbanzos in sauce, a separate large bowl of sauce and a small pot of a rich spicy sauce as seasoning. It was all very good . . . so good we were too full for dessert. We decided Tunisian cuisine in Paris is a very good thing.

Address: 77 blvd. de Courcelles
Directions: on blvd. de Courcelles near Parc Monceau and St. Andre Nevsky Russian Orthodox cathedral
Email: http://www.harissa.com/D_bouffe/
Phone: +33 (0)1 4227-3897
Website: La Corniche web site

*****

View from Café le Saint-Médard

View from Café le Saint-Médard

Le Café Saint-Médard

We arrived in Paris after a very long flight (from California) and it wasn't late enough to check into our hotel. We stopped at the hotel and left our luggage with them and started out to find lunch as near as possible to the hotel since we were tired. We rounded a corner onto Rue Censier and spotted a pleasant café at the end of the block. Lunch! We checked the menu and were happy with it. There is a nice variety of choices. You can eat outside and there is a lovely fountain at the foot of Rue Mouffetard and you can watch people coming and going from the very colorful and active market there. Service was excellent and the location couldn't be better. Prices are reasonable. It's also a good place to stop for a glass of wine or a coffee in the afternoon.

We both had an open-face Toscana Tarte and salad and it was lovely. Our young waiter was fun, friendly and helpful. The passing crowd of shoppers going to the Rue Mouffetard Market was great fun and there were people sitting on the nearby fountain eating sandwiches and talking. They offer croques, omelettes and quiches and a vast array of salads along with a regular menu. This is not gourmet fare, just good Paris cooking for a lovely lunch, especially handy if you are shopping at the adjoining market. Take time to visit St. Médard Church across the street while in the area.

Address: 53 rue Censier, 75005 Paris
Directions: At the foot of the Rue Mouffetard Market at Rue Censier and the fountain
Phone: +33 (0)1 4331-3299
Website: Café le Saint-Médard web site

There are a dozen restaurants reviewed here which gives you a good start. When looking for restaurants, and we are looking for restaurants with good food that won't break our budget, we ask people we meet during the day where they like to eat. The secret here is to ask where they actually eat, not what they recommend. If you ask for recommendations, you usually get a popular tourist spot. If you ask where they actually eat instead, you will find some very nice, small neighborhood restaurants. And then there is serendipity . . . .

Tips

Posted by Beausoleil 16:14 Archived in France Comments (7)

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