[Paris] Early May affordable recommendations


I know there are other topics on the subject so feel free to redirect me to any relevant discussion!

My gf and I are staying in Le Marais close to the Arts et Métiers tube stop for her birthday for 4 days in early may, from the tuesday to the saturday.

She doesn’t want things to be too fancy, and I don’t want to break the bank as I already have booked Pantagruel for her bday night.

My parents will also be in town coincidentally during the weekend and my mum managed to book at Septime, so that’s where we’ll go the day after.

Now I’m looking for 2 quality - maybe regional places to eat at for the other 2 nights unaccounted for. We’re leaving lunches for on-the-go and casual places that we’ll find on the spot - although I’d love recommendations for the areas we’ll be in each day too.

Day 1 :

  • Lunch : I am looking for a lunch place near our Airbnb (Arts et Métiers). I was thinking galettes bretonnes to make my gf discover what a good one is! But looks like Café Breizh is already full for bookings that day, any other places I could go?
  • Dinner : Also looking for something for 2, maybe a traditional bistro. We’re planning on walking around notre-dame and le quartier latin during that afternoon so it could be in that area, it could also be back around Le Marais.

Day 2 :

  • Lunch: We’ll be in between le musée de l’orangerie or musée d’orsay and going towards the Tour Eiffel, so anything that isn’t out of the way for those works.
  • Dinner : Considering we’re doing Pantagruel the day after, followed by Septime, we won’t need fancy (well I would but Madame doesn’t)
    I’m quite open to a good french brasserie or maybe a fish/seafood place? Location wise doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s relatively accessible to where we stay by metro or walking.

Day 3 (her birthday) :

  • We’ll be in the louvre all day, so I’ve briefly looked at the places to eat there, which would you guys recommend?
  • Dinner : Pantagruel (booked)

Day 4 :

  • Lunch : We’ll be heading to montmartre in the early afternoon, so maybe a nice place in montmartre would work! Otherwise we’ll be in the centre pompidou in the morning.
  • Dinner : Septime (booked)

Finally, does anybody have some good recommendations in Le Marais for some nice cocktails for something like a last drink before calling it a night? I’ve seen the Cambridge Public house online (ironic considering we’re coming from Cambridge), anything else? We’re looking for places that aren’t too loud or clubby.



Since you’ve mentioned in the introductory post you’re half French. Is there any specific dish you particularly want to eat?

I’m thinking of Polissons if you’re around Montmarte, I don’t know if that fits in your budget. If not, there is always Bouillon Pigalle. Coq & Fils on Montmarte has a 18€ dish of the day, which is usually a chicken dish: poule au pot, bouchée à la reine… Eels, half way between Montmarte and Beaubourg has a 29€ lunch menu with 2 courses.

I gotta say the idea of a hachis Parmentier has been stewing in my mind for a while!

As mentioned I also would like to have some good crêpes/galettes at some point.

And apart from that I have a sweet tooth, so we’ll be getting some pastries every day (religieuse au café is my all time favourite, but we want to get some other classics like millefeuille, tarte aux fraises, probably a Paris-brest etc…).

EDIT : I also love sole meunière, and have only been able to eat one in my 5 years in the UK. So if a place that does do that would be great (and without paying a ton by the 100g for example).


I’ve looked up Montmartre options quite a lot as this would have been our backup plan if we didn’t get Septime (Coq & Fils was in the running, I would have loved a poulet de Bresse since my parents are in that day).

I’ve seen Polissons, don’t think the budget is an issue, but maybe a tad too refined for what we’re looking for lunch - although reading your review made me remember that I showed Jouvence to my gf and she loved it (she wanted to go there for her bday, but we’ve now booked Pantagruel) - so I might very much book that for day 1 or day 2 dinner!


Have you checked Breizh Café Abbesses in 18th ?

For crêpes in walking distance of Arts-et-Métiers, I’m a big fan of Crêperie Gigi on rue Corderie in the very trendy Haut Marais/ upper 3rd. It has a slightly modern take on crêpes but all very good. And the immediate area is charming.

It’s also next door to Ilot wine bar that specializes in oysters and seafood small plates.

I’ll provide more suggestions later but I’ve got a meeting to go to now.




Arnaud Larher 53 Rue Caulaincourt
Lemon tart, macarons, éclair and religieuse are all good.

Marais (Centre Pompidou, Hotel de Ville)

Michalak 16 Rue de la Verrerie
Religieuses and citrus tarts are fantastic

Yann Couvreur 23bis Rue des Rosiers
Tarte aux fraises, Fraisier

Aux Merveilleux de Fred 24 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe
Merveilleux - very light meringues, addictive

Pain du sucre 14 Rue Rambuteau

Stohrer 51 Rue Montorgueil
They are much better now than a few years back. It’s the place if you want to find the classics

Arts et Métiers

Conticini 31 Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth
Millefeuille, Paris-Brest, Saint-Honoré

If you’re around Louvre, maybe you can go and try La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet, personally, my feelings is mixed, some very good and some just ok, and the price is €€€. But he is one of the hottest pastry chef, so why not. Expect a waiting line.

How about Bisou.? You can communicate to bartenders and they try to whip you something according to your preference.

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I second Parn on Gigi, having just eaten there last week. It’s open Tues-Sun 12h-17h30 but no reservations, so come early or late.

Additionally, near the Marais there’s now a Breizh Café on the rue de Montorgueil (officially the address is rue des Petits Carreaux), very close to the Arts et Métiers station.

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I am a big fan of Bisou. I actually did a review about it from my last trip in 2019. I apologize for some of the formatting. I have been going in and making changes, but it is slow going given that my day job is so hectic.

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That sounds great, thanks to the two of you.

I love letting bartenders run wild with cocktails but haven’t do so in a while, and it’s 10min walk from our place!

That’s also great as we probably won’t be having lunch before about 2pm. I’ll definitely go for the classic complète. Feel like crêpes are a good start to a Paris holiday!

I have seen the breizh café but bookings aren’t available for that day on their website (although I assume a few tables are available for walk-ins especially for late lunch).

Ok this is amazing thank you.

Fraisier is my favourite cake, I usually try to eat one on my birthday but it’s in the middle of November, not the best for fresh strawberries! I think most of these places are within walking distance from our airbnb, and the Montmartre place will be great for an afternoon snack.

Hopefully the walking will balance out the eating out for lunch, afternoon snacks and fancy dinners.

B.O.U.L.O.M is situated at the foot of Montmarte - 181 rue Ordener, not exactly the glamorous part of the 18th. This place serves brunch style, many traditional French dishes, paté, tarts, beef tartare, cheese, desserts. Good if you want to try everything. A no no if you dislike buffet style.

Re cocktail bars, I always enjoy the rooftop bar at Hotel National des Arts-et-Métiers on rue St Martin. I think it reopens sometime in May (or maybe even earlier) but not sure exactly when. But mostly uncovered and so depends on the weather.

And speaking of rooftop bars, the one at Hotel Rochechouart on the boulevard Clichy/ Rochechouart in Montmartre is fab and comes with a sensational view of Sacré Coeur. Also weather dependent. New-ish so not yet a big blip on the tourist radar. https://www.hotelrochechouart.com/rooftop-bar

In bad weather, the partially enclosed and covered pano-view rooftop bar at Terrass Hotel on rue Jacques de Maistre @ rue Abbesses in the far less touristy and more genuinely charming part of Montmartre is a better bet. https://www.terrass-hotel.com/en/restaurant/rooftop-bar

I’m also a huge fan of the bar at Maison Souquet on rue Bruxelles near métro Blanche in Montmartre. Styled like a Belle-Epoque bordello (without the prozzies). Not exactly cheap though and maybe better for a special occasion. https://www.maisonsouquet.com/fr/bar-salons/

Closer to Arts-et-Métiers, the bar-restaurant Istr on rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth does cocktails and shellfish. One of my favourite places in the upper 3rd (but my list of favourites here is a long one) because of the vibe, food, and very Parisian clientele. https://www.istr.paris/

Although you are looking for trad pastry standards which are very easy to find in Paris, I suggest a look-see at the awesome Bontemps patisserie on rue Bretagne market street in the upper 3rd to see if anything appeals (I for one find almost everything there appealing). My #1 pâstisserie in all of Paris at the moment. They do the standards (usually with a riff) as well as more creative confections, and the added bonus of a very pleasant salon de thé for eating there. https://www.facebook.com/bontempspatisserie/

Since it’s so close to you, the historic (dating from 17th century) covered market Marché des Enfants Rouges on rue Bretagne could provide some very enjoyable, casual eating options. In addition to the usual fruit/ veg stands, it also has 6 or 7 mini-restos and deli-counters (Japanese, trad French, crêpes, modern French, Italian, Moroccan, etc), counter seating at some of the delis, communal tables here and there or, in good weather, takeaway for a picnic in the charming Square du Temple park just across the street. But not at weekends when the Marche des Enfants Rouges can be unpleasantly crowded with the trendier sort of Parisian.

I wouldn’t fixate on Breizh Café for your crêpes. Certainly, it’s very good for a chain restaurant and has a high tourist profile but, like any crêperie, is not really a destination. In the 3rd, I for one much prefer Gigi on rue Corderie because of its more local vibe, more charming and interesting location (great for a little exploration before or after), much more personable staff, and range of crêpes from creative to trad standards. Admittedly, I’m a local and an enthusiastic “flâneur”/urban explorer and have far different patterns and preferences than the typical tourist.

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I am spoiled for choice (I’m not used to that anymore living in England for 5 years :grimacing:) thanks everyone for the suggestions!

Any ideas of where to get a good but not overpriced sole meunière and where to go for hachis Parmentier? (Although I don’t think I’ve ever had hachis Parmentier in a restaurant before as this would be more of a home dish)

I had seen bontemps, and was thinking of going there for brunch on our last day (Saturday morning).

I’m also a massive sucker for rooftops so I’ll look into the two hotels linked!!

You can try Chez Georges, 1 rue du mail. The dish is around 40 something euro. Sole isn’t a cheap fish, and I think it’s something you can attempt at home, if you like cooking.

I’m aware! It’s both hard to find a proper sôle here in the UK and I’m too lazy to prepare it properly! Although the way it’s going I’ll definitely want to cook one for myself soon.

Thanks, we’ve booked l’Auberge Pyrenees Cevennes which also seems to have one on the menu for our Day 2 Evening - but open to any other ideas :slight_smile:

Fresh sole has become a very expensive fish and, in France, is very seasonal. May is the end of the season (at least according to the chart that many fishmongers display in their shops). The last time I saw sole meunière on a menu was a few weeks ago as the “poisson du jour” at 44€ and it was the most expensive item on the menu by far. The restaurant was Au Petit Tonneau in the 7th… and hallelujah, it fits in with your Orsay/ Orangerie/ Tour Eiffel day. It’s also on the menu of Jaïs on the same street as Au Petit Tonneau but at, gasp, 62€. I do remember seeing it on the menu at Au Pied de Cochon in Les Halles (maybe 45 to 50€ “selon arrivage”) but I was only there for a post-clubbing late-night platter of oysters and didn’t try the sole. If you going to a restaurant for a particular dish like sole, ring the resto to make sure that it is still on the menu that day. https://www.le-jais.fr/

Since you are staying in an AirB&B, I’d get hachis parmentier at your nearest Picard surgélés shop and eat it at home. The quality of Picard frozen food is surprisingly good and better than the hachis parmentier (usually not made in-house but bought in bulk from Metro cash-&-carry or some other industrial food supplier) that you find at the many tourist restaurants that have it on the menu.

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