A day in Paris

Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 11:08 AM
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A day in Paris

My wife and I are taking the Eurostar from London to Paris as a breakaway trip from the others in our party and to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I know it will be fast paced (or as fast as we want it).

Can anyone recommend good quick restaurants (not American fast food) near the obvious tourist attractions (Notre Dame, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, etc.) or grocery stores were we could purchase the makings.

And if I may ask further, can you recommend any shops that you've been to. Maybe a place to buy wine or cigars? Can you buy wine and take it back or have it shipped?

Thank you in advance for your answers
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 11:47 AM
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For cigars - A la Civette @ 157 rue Saint Honory is right by the Louvre, & La Casa del Habano @ 169 boulevard Saint-Germain is on the Left Bank. The former is more formal, the later casual. Prices are the same at both.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:55 PM
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If you will be near Notre Dame, across the river and on the other side of the Hotel de Ville is a large department store (BHV) Bazzar of Hotel de Ville. There is a large selection of general merchandise.

You also might consider walking the couple streets on Ile St. Louis, the small island behind Notre Dame. There are a lot of little shops that might be of interest to you.

A couple of years ago I had a nice lunch at Auberge de la Reine Blanche and that is also on Ile St. Louis.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:03 PM
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There are also quite a few little restaurants on Ile St. Louis that I liked as well. Sgt. Recruiters, La Castafiore, Nos Ancestres and Au Gourmet d'Isle are all place I'd return to.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:14 PM
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Not far from the Eiffel Tower (about 10 minutes) is Rue Cler with lots of food purveyors--you could put a picnic together. The Champ de Mars park behind the Eiffel Tower is a good picnic spot.
In some Paris parks you are not allowed to sit or walk on the grass, but there are benches. You will want to provide your own paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, corkscrew, etc; food shops rarely provide them.

If you are going to the Louvre, I recommend ordering tickets in advance to bypass what is usually a very long line. On a one day visit, I'd skip the Louvre, but that's your decision.
I'd choose the Orsay museum instead, if you like the Impressionists. Or I'd not do a museum at all, and instead have a romantic leisurely lunch in a bistro. Le Vieux Bistro is quite near Notre Dame and gets rave reviews--I don't recall if they serve lunch, but if they do, I recommend based on past experience.

Elsewhere here on fodors.com you can find lots of destination info on Paris, including hints for short visits.
I also have a long file including some restaurants and shops; if you'd like to see it, email me at
[email protected]
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:22 PM
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Near Notre Dame - Le Vieux Bistro
Near the Tour Eiffel - Le Croq au Sel on the rue Ste-Dominique
A good place to buy wine is at any of the Nicolas stores throughout Paris.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:46 PM
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Hi tada,

If all you want is a place to pick up the makings of a picnic or a little bistro to have lunch and people watch - there is at least one on every street.

As Randy suggests, wander through the Ile St. Louis.

Also, you could go up by the Arc de Triomphe and "picnique" in the Parc Monceau.

An evening ride on a Bateau Mouche is also a lovely experience for an anniversary.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 07:46 AM
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Thank you all for the excellent ideas. We will be trying to finish our day with a sunset trip on Bateau Mouche. It will be fun and I will take all of your advice. Thanks again
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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Tada,

I agree with those who say skip the museums on a one day trip. We spent 3 days at the Louvre and it still wasn't enough time.

If I assume you're arriving early AM and leaving after sunset, here's what I would recommend. Head straight to the Eiffel Tower before lunch.

Then take a cab to the Place de Voges and have lunch on the veranda at the bistro there (can't remember the name). After lunch, wander through the old Marais and Jewish quarter. This is Old Paris...winding midieval streets, overhanging buildings, interesting vendors. (There are also wonderful falafel shops here, so you might want to skip the sit-down lunch and pick one up for a lunch-on-the-go.)

Late afternoon, cab to Notre Dame where you'll be near the site to catch your boat ride. If time allows, cross the bridge and wander Ile St. Louis...great shops here.

Have fun!
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 03:05 PM
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Well you seem to have lots of replies for restaurants, so I will address the wine issue. Bring back a bottle of French wine is a great way to bring back memories. I believe you are allowed to bring back 4 bottles without having to pay an import tax, although I have brought back more, declared them and the customs guys still waived me through! enjoy!
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 09:48 AM
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Thanks again for the replies. We will do one museum stop - the Louvre. Prepurchased tickets - just a quick dash in to see the Mona Lisa, will cover the rest on the next trip (hopefully!). Thank you all.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Tada,
Keep in mind that Mona is a small picture, behind glass and roped off.

You might want to spend a minute or two w/ the Venus de Milo and the Victoire de Samothrace.

I suggest skipping the Louvre unless you can give it a 1/2 day.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 11:46 AM
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If you want to see "Mona" go ahead, but it will be hard to get close
there's a bulletproof screen in front, and lots of tourists furiously snapping photos, most of which will end up with a large glare in the center where the flash bounces off the barrier
If you want to take a photo with a simple camera, don't use the flash.
Better yet, buy a postcard for a good shot.
If you have an extra five minutes, look at the other couple of paintings by Leonardo, quite near Mona. Virgin of the Rocks is my favorite, and more moving imo.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 12:05 PM
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Tada,

Keep in mind that "dashing into" the Louvre can take awhile. The line to pass through security at the pyramid can be maddening.

There's an underground entrance through the shops. I've been told it's much faster. Search around here for more info on that. Also, do your homework ahead of time...there are maps of the Louvre on the web. Otherwise, you'll spend precious time getting your bearings.

Personally, I was much more Wowed by the Victory and the Marly horses. Mona Lisa is small and there's always a huge crowd in front of the ropes. It was one of the least momentous experiences in the Louvre.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 12:23 PM
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I'm afraid I agree about skipping the Louvre. Mona will be a letdown (IMO). If you want to do one museum, pick a small one in a lovely setting like the Picasso or the Rodin. The Picasso is near Place des Vosges which you MUST see-very romantic.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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You didn't say what day your trip will be, but we found last week on a Weds night that we walked right up to the Mona Lisa. We practially had the Louvre to ourselves (granted it was Holy Week and possibly slow for that reason).
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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Well, I was taken aback by the other pieces in the Louvre that you all suggested we see. I would be willing to pass on the Louvre until another time when we could experience it more, but my wife insists on seeing the Mona Lisa. Seeing the Venus de Milo interests me. Anyway, we have already got tickets. Our day in Paris is May 28th, our exact 20th anniversary. We will use the underground (Richileaux?) entrance to avoid the lines and I have a map of the Louvre to get where we want to go quick.

The Mona Lisa sounds very touristy with the glass, thr ropes, the flash bulbs, etc., but I waited in line at the Smithsonian to see the Hope Diamond. It was less than thrilling. I'll try to limit our time to an hour or so - not enough time to do it justice, but enough to catch a glimpse and keep touring.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 05:43 PM
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If I recall correctly, Winged Victory is near the Mona Lisa. Check your museum guide when you enter and maybe you can see both....Victory is definitely worth it.

Have fun!
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Old Apr 29th, 2003, 05:24 AM
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I agree with all who suggest to skip the Louvre. If you're just going there to see the Mona Lisa, it's surprising how tiny the painting really is. And always there are alot of other tourists trying to view the painting too. It's better to spend time seeing or doing other things since you have just one day.
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