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menachem Nov 21st, 2012 08:59 AM

@ Doppio: I live on and off in Rotterdam and in Paris, and while it is a wonderful city, I use it much as I use any other city. So occasionally, if I need a quick coffee, or fancy french fries or whatever, yes, I'll stop at MacDo. Also if I want to grab something quick before heading to NL on Thalys on friday afternoons. There's Quick, the french version of MacDonald's and it's nearly as ubiquitous but frankly, MacDo has better decor and looks cleaner. Quick's burgers are vile, so I never go there. And lots of Parisians agree with me :)

menachem Nov 21st, 2012 09:20 AM

I think it's been mentioned already, but if you're looking for a good street atlas you can actually use comfortably without having to fold out a huge map, use this one:

There's a huge FNAC at Forum des Halles where you can pick one up.

Also, for me, but it's a personal thing, I know, I always find eating out to have lunch much easier and more enjoyable than doing the same thing for dinner. There's lots of places where you can go and just order their "formule" and it will be more than half decent: an entree, main dish and dessert, and sometimes coffee after the meal. Also a good bet are salons de thé, like

the locations are always nice and it's just more easy going than dinner, which is often more ceremonial.

but please consider this for your quintessential parisian dinner occasion:

their formules are very good value and it's great "bourgeois" french cooking.

a place I find absolutely enchanting every time I go there is the salon de the and restaurant of the grand mosque:

during winter they cover their courtyard and heat it, but their restaurant is also nice. there are guided tours to the mosque itself, but the salon de the is already a great experience.

don't go for their couscous though, it's not that good. for that go to:

and I forgot to mention the entire canal st martin and wonderful hotel du nord.

FrenchMystiqueTours Nov 21st, 2012 10:25 AM

Just saw a McDonald's commercial on TV and they've introduced their new Bagel Burger here in France! :)

passionfruitdrink37 Nov 21st, 2012 10:25 AM

Using that gayot website you linked, menachem, I found this Cojean thing, which sounds interesting. Has anyone ever eaten there?

denisea Nov 21st, 2012 10:49 AM

Can I just say that I don't go to McDonald's in Paris, or anywhere else, because I don't like chains and I don't want to waste MCCalories on that kind of food, especially in Paris. I don't care who is in there,(fat or skinny, French or American) I just don't want to go there. If you remember, I am married to Mr Starbucks and am forced to visit Starbucks while in Paris (under protest, of course)!

Don't know your food budget PFD, but Citrus Etoile is a great spot with a very reasonable (IMO) prix fixe if you are looking for a nicer meal one day.

menachem Nov 21st, 2012 01:07 PM

@PFD, you can well try them out. Their food is at least fresh. I have only ever eaten one of their soups, but the rest of their menu seems ok. It's a convenient turn up and eat kind of place with a little more style and consciousness than most places. You'll find that there are more such places now. Everyone is discovering ethical and light eating it seems.

And they have places everywhere and are opening more regularly:

I think Cojean Washington is nearest your hotel. Seems like an excellent choice for an "if all else fails" fallback option.

One other place I forgot is The Frog & Rosbif, which is an excellent English Pub chain, with its own brewery and great bar food. The ur-frog is at Rue St Denis (not the seedy street it was years ago, but still a bit louche, even today) and well worth a visit, also during the day. Famous for its brunches on sunday morning. If my son (now 15) is an especially somber mood, I take him there so he can order their great burgers, and I settle for the eggs benedict, all wonderfully done.

passionfruitdrink37 Nov 21st, 2012 01:54 PM

Thanks so much! My budget for food depends, I guess. I mean, I would prefer to stay on the cheaper side, I'm not rich. But once or twice, I wouldn't mind splurging for a great meal at a renowned restaurent. Has anyone got any advice on how to tell an expensive restaurent from a cheaper one? I'm afriad of walking into a place and then realizing I cannot afford it. I don't want to embarrass myself by just walking out of the place after being given a price. Also, ii am a bit anxious about how much money I spend. For those of you used to travelling, is 50 dollars a day a reasonable budget?

amer_can Nov 21st, 2012 02:52 PM

Most all places in France have their menu outside as far as I remember..Often this menu is also in English. And lots of local cafes/restaurants have outstanding food available so you won't have to search out expensive places. We found that asking the waiter what he would recc. did the job for us for great and mod.$ food. $50 dollars will probaly be ok if you stick to some picnicing, groc/deli shopping and local menu items..not No. Amer. ones..No Starbucks. Mid day menus are better than later and don't go for ala carte..It will add up fast. Tap water will do and watch out in case bread/snacks appear on your table as you may be charged for them. Return them immed. if you find out there is a charge because even if you don't eat them you will get nicked. 365 plus comments..I'm sure your head is spinniing.. go and leave all your cares and woes home.Keep your sense of humor, sense of adventure,sense of awe and wonder, patience for drawbacks and have a wonderful time!!!

Leely2 Nov 21st, 2012 03:29 PM

This was a surprisingly untouristy bistro in the ultra-touristy part of Montmartre (well, not as touristy as the Place de Tertre, but nearly) that I would recommend if you plan to visit Sacre Coeur and want lunch or dinner around there.

I had the "noix d’entrecôte snackée," and it was very satisfying. My friend had the onions stuffed with oxtail, quite good. And my mom had chicken something or other.

In any case, I would put this in the moderately priced category, and they offer salads and eggs, etc. Relaxed atmosphere and service. We went our first night in Paris last May, and it was a good choice for a semi-jetlagged arrival dinner.

Other than this, I tend to go big for meals in Paris, which probably involve more commitment than you free-spirited youths want.

Kurosawa Nov 21st, 2012 03:56 PM

passionfruitdrink37, you can definitely survive on 50 dollars. There are prix fixe specials at many restaurants that are 15-25 euro and offer a complete meal, many times very good. It is definitely worth it to splurge on food in Paris, because you get what you pay for even more than anywhere else. In other words, it is better to pay a bit more and get much better French food, than to pinch pennies and eat at McDonalds you has been pointed out above. You'll find that the food at restaurants and in grocery stores is fresh and less processed, IMHO.

Nikki Nov 21st, 2012 03:58 PM

In France you are not charged for bread in restaurants, nor for any extras placed on your table as an «amuse bouche». It is different in some other places, such as Portugal, where you do get charged for the appetizers you find on your table, even if you didn't order them.

In France, the law requires restaurants to post their menus with prices outside, so there should be no unpleasant surprises.

Doppio Nov 21st, 2012 03:59 PM

What's going on with your cousin? Is she doing any planning and research, or is she leaving it all up to you?

Leely2 Nov 21st, 2012 04:34 PM

Oh, sorry, passionfruit, I hadn't seen your last post with the 50 CAD budget. You should look for places with a set menu at lunch or at dinner. Lunch will be a better value, usually, and perhaps you can mostly snack at dinnertime or go to a cafe or wine bar for dinner.

For example, you can go to Café des Musées (usually need to reserve) and have their 13E lunch menu. I've been twice, first time was 5+ years ago, and the food is quite good, service can be harried/hurried but that's part of the deal there.

Anyway, I don't expect you will seek particular restaurants out, but if you want to save money, try to order the daily menu rather than a la carte: fewer choices but better prices.

passionfruitdrink37 Nov 21st, 2012 04:36 PM

She's too busy to, she said. Not that I mind; this trip is a dream come true for me.

menachem Nov 21st, 2012 09:21 PM

I do agree with Leely2 though: your lunch can be much more elaborate on a budget, and in real restaurants, than you dinner can be. Lunch "formules" are often of much better value, and can be had almost anywhere. Don't be afraid to check out menu prices outside a restautant or cafe. Also consider that places in very touristy areas or on large boulevards etc and in the "popular" arrondissements will be more expensive. Sometimes it pays off to simply turn the corner into a sidestreet. And often it's surprising what small neighbourhood cafes and tabacs will come up with for lunch.

@PFD: being the "expert" on this trip, will mean your cousin will look upon you as her tour director. She'll be helpless, you'll know everything. Perhaps you can make her a file with your research, and perhaps you can research the area around your hotel a little bit, so you'll have the general "amenities" mapped out, also for her, such as where the local monoprix is etc. Establish a "regular" place to sit and have coffee or a snack early on and go to that place all the time as a "base". That way, if you want to have some time off and to yourself, you can just agree to meet at such and such a time "at the cafe" and she too will know where to go.

denisea Nov 22nd, 2012 10:30 AM

Always check the menu outside before you go in, no surprises that way. We also had a wonderful lunch at L'Orangerie on Ile St Louis.

I have to say that your cousin sounds like a selfish brat. Sorry. She's too busy to do research but from your past posts she sounds quick to criticize. I don't know why you are traveling with her.. I like the above idea to establish a base to meet at. i hope that you will go ahead with your dream Paris trip regardless of what she wants to do.

You will find plenty of food options in all price ranges. Don't worry but again avoid places right near the top attractions as they tend to be pricey and lower quality food. If you want to take a look at La Fourchette, you should be able to get an idea of prices and you can reserve a table for many places on their site.

passionfruitdrink37 Nov 22nd, 2012 11:02 AM

Quite honestly, I would much rather go alone. But my mother wasn't fond of the idea, so I asked my cousin to come along. This may not paint me in the best light, but going alone would have been fantastic. Travelling with others, I feel, will hold me back. But, my mom's super protective(a trend in the family) and would not have taken well to me going alone.

Also, I've heard tipping waiters in restaurents isn't required. What have been your experiences with this?

kerouac Nov 22nd, 2012 11:09 AM

You can go alone on your next trip.

All menus and prices must be posted outside of restaurants -- it's the law.

Tips are not required, but many people round up to the nearest euro when paying in cash. If they are paying by card, no tip at all.

passionfruitdrink37 Nov 22nd, 2012 01:48 PM

Alright, thanks for that!

menachem Nov 23rd, 2012 08:52 PM

However, do expect to pay different prices dependent on where you choose to sit in a cafe or brasserie for coffee: standing at the bar is cheapest, then the prices go up slightly: sitting in the glass enclosed terrace with a view on the street makes your coffee a little more expensive.

on the other hand, no one will bat an eyelid if you sit for hours with one cup of coffee, people watching, writing a bit, talking.

Also, being a waiter is a serious occupation in France and waiters are mostly super efficient at what they do and fast. But they may not be smiling all the time at you and latching on to you so you will tip them, because tipping isn't part of their salary, it's an extra. Sometimes people construe this as rudeness but I'm always grateful for fast, neutrally executed, good service almost everywhere I go.

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