[Paris] Early May affordable recommendations

In this case, it will be better to bring an ice bag, and carry some cheese home as well. Time in Paris is too precious.

I like your post clubbing diet :joy:

Yeah I think we’ll pass on the hachis Parmentier, unless we’re not feeling well one night.

Hi guys,

Just came back from the trip on Sunday and I’m thinking of doing quick reports of our Paris experience in this thread as I have the time.

Here’s what we ended up doing:

  • Tuesday Lunch : Crêperie Gigi
  • Tuesday Dinner : Jouvence
  • Tuesday snack : Boulangerie off Les Halles
  • Wednesday Lunch : Bistrot de Paris
  • Wednesday Dinner : Auberge Pyrénnées Cevennes
  • Thursday Lunch : Cafe Richelieu / Angelina @ Le Louvre
  • Thursday Dinner : Pantagruel
  • Friday lunch : Coq & Fils
  • Friday Dinner : Septime
  • Saturday lunch : Bread & Roses
  • Saturday snack : Fou de Patisserie Seine

Summary : Food was oh so much better than my day to day in the UK as expected. We had way too much to eat. I’ll also try to spread the menu degustation experiences more because two 3+ hour dinners in a row was a lot, although thankfully the atmosphere in Septime and Pantagruel were very different to each other.

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Crêperie Gigi - 4 Rue de la Corderie in Le Marais

We arrived at about 2pm, sun was out, we sat on the terrace.

The 13.50 formule for any crêpe + salad + a glass of cider was great. This ended up being the cheapest lunch of our stay - maybe the best.

We had two crêpes completes, which were great. Then we shared a homemade salted caramel crêpe which was extremely tasty, the crêpe was very thin. It means you feel like you could eat 4, but makes them great too.


Thanks for the recommendation this was just a perfect start! We ended up paying 37.50 for 2 formules, a lemonade and that sweet crepe.

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Jouvence - 172 Bis Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 12th Arrondissement

This is a bib Michelin place. We had the 3 course menu for 38 euros each to which I had a few glasses of white that was recommended by the waitress / sommelière.

I think this might have been the best amuse-bouche and dessert we had in Paris.

Amuse bouche was a haddock bite with wild garlic and a double zaatar cream.

Starters were not the best for us as the choices were white or green asparagus as well as crispy tail of beef. I had the quickly grilled white asparagus with parmesan cream. Which considering it’s not an ingredient I love was good.

We had the same main, a sea bream with different ways to cook carrots and a sabayon. When you had a bite of fish, with the sabayon and carrots all in one, it was wonderful.

Finally for dessert I had the warm madeleines with a light orange cream and praline. This was just divine, that I forgot to take a photo until half way through eating them. My gf had a chocolate tart/barquette dessert which was a bit too chocolaty for me but that she loved.

I think considering the price of the menu, this was probably was the best value of quality of food to price we had. It also gave us a glimpse of the prevalence of Asparagus in menus at this time of year :smiley: as it would make a comeback everyday from now.

I’ll stop here for now, but will continue to do these as I have time.

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Bravo. Chapeau, Grégoire ! Crêperie Gigi is certainly “une valeur sure" and a great example of a crêperie favoured by Parisians rather than guidebook favourites in the tourist zones. Did you have time to explore the neighbourhood, one of best hangout areas for the trendier sort of under-40 locals ? But often too crowded at weekends. ( I point this out for others, not you)

I haven’t been to Jouvence since pre-Covid and am glad of the reminder of its excellence. But the Faubourg-St-Antoine and most of the 11th is such good restaurant territory and so much to explore that it is easy to become a restaurant slut.

Like most Parisians, trad food gives me food fatigue and a sense of déjà-vu very quickly and I marvel how tourists can eat so much of it. How did you fare with Bistrot de Paris and Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes for lunch and dinner on the same day ?

We are outliers in our love of Romain Tischenko’s startling (what I called) herb and acid “what the xxxx are we eating” plates. I marveled at their deliciousness and my inability to divine how they were composed. Not contrived, not precious, never overworked. Just pristine ingredients gently handled by a madman. And served by his sweetly sly brother Maxime. How I miss them both.

Sure, they are now next door at Cave au Michel, but the ardoise and ambiance are not the same.

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“When you had a bite of fish, with the sabayon and carrots all in one, it was wonderful.”

Just to emphasize to others, this is how all French food should be eaten. Americans especially seem prone to eat—and judge-- one element at a time and therefore miss the concert of flavours that the chef intended. Of course, the peculiar changing-hands cut-and-stab way Americans commonly use cutlery makes it more difficult to get all the flavours in one bite.

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I wish we did! We ended up walking down to the seine and towards Notre Dame after that lunch.

I assumed we’d have time to go for a drink one evening but - I’ll blame my girlfriend on this one - we didn’t in the end (not for lack of trying!)

The double traditional on Wednesday was rough for my stomach. I’ll post a quick report later today but we arrived late for lunch from le Musée d’Orsay and I was starving, meaning I overdid it (and because it was actually very good) and was then not ready for the food served at the auberge in the evening. Will definitely mix the genres a bit more next time.

The interesting thing was measuring the ratio of tourists to Parisians in places we’ve been in, it felt like Jouvence was the least touristy one overall.

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Bistrot de Paris - 33 Rue de Lille 75007

Picked this place as we were going to be in Le Musée de l’Orangerie followed by Musée d’Orsay that day. When we only started the Musée d’Orsay at 12, we called them to say we’d be late (around 2pm instead of 1:30pm). I think we were the last in for lunch.

I was keen to show my girlfriend what traditional bistro food is - and I was starving. So, we ordered rillettes and harengs pommes à l’huile to share.

The rillettes pot they brought was probably ~400-500g, and for the harengs, they bring the big dish and bowl in which the harengs and the potato salad are in and just let you have as much as you want.

They also brought some little radishes with butter, which reminded me of having those with salt and butter with my grandma and my mum when I was little.
IMG_6474.HEIC

This is what my plate looked like mid-way through the starters.

Next I got a confit de canard with mashed potatoes, my girlfriend got salmon with chips.


Confit was good, mashed potato was wonderful - I think the British don’t know you can actually add butter in mashed potatoes to make it good. Funnily enough I had mashed potato on our way back to London and that made me instantly regret the way the French do them.

I had a taste of the salmon and the lemon butter sauce complimented the well cooked salmon super well too. We also joked that the size of this salmon fillet is more than what get sold as 2 fillets in British supermarkets (easily over 300g).

Not that we were still hungry, but I had seen the mousse au chocolat on the menu and being eaten at the table next to us. Mousse au chocolat was my favourite dessert as a child, but is very hard to get right both in texture and taste. So, we ordered it. Turns out it’s a massive bowl for 2. We only managed to eat half. The taste was exactly the way I liked it, sweet (but not too sweet?) and the texture was also really good. It had formed a skin on top and the bottom was nice and loose.


We liked the place, the inside is nice and looks like an old bistro (mirrors everywhere), the waiters are old bistro waiters who are both friendly, efficient and slightly insane.

I don’t think this place is particularly unique, but couldn’t really fault it. Pricing was fairly high, but quantities were massive.

I think we ended up paying ~105 euros for this with glasses of wine along the way. Which was actually nearly the same as Jouvence the day before.

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Depends on recipes, some they have milk added as well, not only butter.

I admire how much meals you had in such a short period of time. Usually when traveling, I can have 1 refined meal each day, the other meal should be more simple and lighter food, and skipped breakfast.

Yeah it was a lot, I also didn’t mention my daily morning trips of a different boulangerie each day to try their viennoiseries (well and might have gotten some pastries as well under the excuse of making my girlfriend try them).

That probably explains why my stomach was struggling throughout :grimacing:

Auberge Pyrénées-Cevennes - 106 Rue de la Folie Méricourt 75011

Looking back at it, the only “bad” experience of the trip. We had a booking for 8:45pm, so as we come in, the restaurant is bustling and is pretty much full.

As I had a massive lunch and some stomach issues, I already had the sensation of being full when we got there, so that didn’t help my mood too much.

Their dinner menu is a bit weird, basically most dishes are on a menu that is going to be way cheaper than a la carte. The issue is at night, you can only get a 3 course menu. Since there was no way I could eat 3 courses, we decided to go for mains and then share a dessert. Which ended up being maybe 5-10 euros cheaper than if we had both had 3 courses.

We got to order a good 20 minutes after coming in. I got the Sole meunière and my girlfriend got the sausage “couteau” with mashed potatoes.

The food arrived one hour later.

Meaning we didn’t actually have anything to eat until 5 past 10. Now, I know this can be explained by a sole taking a while to prepare, but still could have done with some warning.

The sole was okay, it was well prepped. It still had a bunch of its eggs (which I know some people like, I definitely don’t). And the sauce was good. But weirdly enough I had a sole in Birmingham last August and that was much better than this (and 35£ instead of 49 euros).

My girlfriends sausage then looked very different than the same sausage dish we had seen served whilst waiting for an hour. The one sausage was broken in two compared to having 2 good looking sausages on all the other plate (did they run out?). She didn’t love her dish either.

Finally, we decided to share a Millefeuille, which was fine. A very traditional not very good looking restaurant millefeuille, with its pâte feuilleté and the cream in the middle, but definitely wasn’t that noteworthy.

When paying the bill, I did ask the waiter if something had happened with service that evening. A question that he took quite badly - by saying well we had chosen mains and the sole takes a while. He did afterwards admit that it was just the 2 waiters for a full restaurant - with only 3 in the kitchen.

So, I feel like we didn’t have the right dishes, as the cassoulet and blanquette did look good (we had a lot of time to have a look) as well as the soufflés for dessert and might have gotten unlucky on the day, but overall by far the worst experience we had over the trip.

Maybe everything would have been different if I had felt good and we had gone for the set menu but that’s impossible to tell.

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Sorry about your bad experience. You should have pointed that out instantly when the dish arrived. Normally for a restaurant running out of food, they should ask what you would like for replacement, cutting portion size and charging the same price is not acceptable.

Not a good sign.

Understaff for a big restaurant. I don’t think it would have changed anything if you have ordered a menu, probably even longer wait.

Look at the brighter side, meaning you can find better and cheaper in UK.

Thanks for your flags, given the restaurant has bib gourmet, don’t know it’s an isolated event or persistently.

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It’s an anomaly to find such a relic trad resto in the otherwise bobo/ trendy/ hip 11th. But that doesn’t mean that the food is remarkable.

What was the rest of the clientele like ? I’m big on vibe and the demographics has a big impact on that.

Many trad restos in Paris are one-dish wonders and that’s the case with Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes… cassoulet, cassoulet, cassoulet. Admittedly, I haven’t been in years and stopped going when the original very regional menu became identikit trad, retaining only the cassoulet as an echo of its origins.

And yes, 3 in the kitchen is fine if all you want is cassoulet but can be disastrous for anything else. I tend to avoid restos with large menus precisely because of these risks if the kitchen team is too small or too inefficient.

It’s not usually a matter of bad service because French waiters are well-trained and tend to be ultra-efficient, and a pair should be able to handle a dining room the size of Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes. The snags happen in the output from the under-staffed kitchen trying to cope with a much too large menu.

Just FYI, my grandmother makes terrific sole meunière. It only takes her 15 minutes. Of course she sometimes spends half a day doing the rounds of the fishmongers until she finds a fish to her liking.

Was the Brum sole the same size ? When I lived in England, I noticed that servings of restaurant fish (excluding the increasingly rare local chippie) were often smaller than what I was used to in Paris. Especially salmon and sole.

@pilgrim. You will be disappointed in the new team at Le Galopin… much more “straight” bistronomie without Tischenko’s magical touch. But still quite good.

In central Paris, it’s rare to find a restaurant where locals outnumber tourists or even account for a quarter of the clientèle. But half the tourists in Paris are from the French provinces and suburbs of Paris, and so hearing French being spoken at neighbouring tables convinces many foreigners that they are dining among locals.

As you probably discovered for yourself, Septime is in effect an almost entirely tourist restaurant. Which, because of its location way outside the very deep tourist rut, is a bit surprising. A triumph of PR and guidebook cred, I suspect.

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Good heads up. But we were disappointed on our last visit.

It’s quite amazing the rate at which the Paris restaurant scene is evolving/changing. The pandemic doesn’t seem to have slowed it down at all, and may well have accelerated it.

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