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100+ Tips on How to Prepare for & Enjoy Paris

Food you will enjoy

#Most cafés, bistros and restaurants in Paris keep specific lunch and dinner hours. When you find yourself hungry during the off-times - head for a wine bar! Wine bars are a great place to try some wine-by-the-glass and delicious homemade fare in a casual, convivial setting. Generally speaking they are open longer hours, so they make a perfect spot for food in between lunch and dinner hour when everything else is closed. My favorites? Taverne Henri IV (13 place du Pont-Neuf) or Willi's Wine Bar (13 Rue des Petits Champs) - both in the 1st, La Cremerie (9 rue des Quatre Vents) in the 5th and Le Baron Rouge (1 rue Théophile Roussel) in the 12th.
Robyn, USA

#I recommend the heavenly delicious food and drink at the Café St Regis on l'Ille St Louis, a short walk from Notre Dame. We were on this smaller island in the Seine with our two college age granddaughters for a week last year, we ate in many places, but this was hands down everyone's favorite for simple delicious food. The Cosmopolitans made by the female bartender were fantastic!
Frannie, Juno Beach, USA

#Are you a tea lover? Treat yourself to the widest selection of teas ever at Mariages Freres, in the Marais, not far from the Rue de Rivoli. 30 Rue du Rourg Tibourg, easily accessible from the Hote de Ville metro stop. Go for lunch. Go for brunch. Go for afternoon tea. A little pricey but if you want to treat yourself while in Paris, this is the place. Two other locations--13, rue des Grands-Augustins, 6th arr; 260, rue de Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 8th arr.
Sue, Niamey, Niger

#Wander far enough south on the rue Saint-Jacques (this is the historic pilgrimage route that once led all the way to Spain) and you'll find Le Thé des Brumes, a cozy one-room establishment with flickering candles on every table. Lunch is served all afternoon till 6:00 p.m. If it's a cold day you'll appreciate a gratin, a hot fish, meat or vegetable casserole topped with cheese and breadcrumbs. Or there are salads, quiche, or ravioli. Prices are lower here (36 to 58 francs), perhaps reflecting the out-of-the-way neighbourhood. The desserts are worth the walk, though. All are made by the owner from recipes contributed by her mother and friends. 340, rue Saint-Jacques, 5th Arrondissement
Karen, Washington, USA

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's more ideas for tea rooms. See:

#Are you a chocolate lover looking for sweets in Paris? We'll start with the right bank. The rue St. Honoré is home to two noted chocolatiers, conveniently located just a few blocks apart. The boutique and tearoom of master chocolatier Jean Paul Hevin is a must-visit. The unmistakable scent of rich, dark chocolate envelops you as you enter. Take the time to assess the remarkable selection of chocolates and luscious chocolate-based patisserie available here. Hevin's chocolates are the finest and his selections evolve constantly. The sweet tearoom upstairs is a lovely lunch spot for those women desiring sophisticated salads of all types. Still, this spot is even better in late afternoon when one can relax over a Mariage Frères tea or a chocolat chaud with one of the twenty-plus exquisite patisseries. Address: 231 rue St. Honoré.
Chef flipping pancakeSally, USA

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here lots more chocolate in Paris tips. Click here.

#Steak and fries restaurant in Paris. It's real name is Le Relais de Venise. However, most Parisians gave it the name of L'Entrecôte and refer to it as such. When you come in, no need to choose. After sitting down, the waitress will ask you: Saignant (rare)? Bien cuit (well done)?, as here the menu is always and has always been the same. Steak thinly sliced in an amazing sauce and served with delicate fries. Desserts are a dream -- all of them, and you get the chance to choose. Le Relais de Venise doesn't take reservations. It's located at 271, boulevard Pereire, right at the Porte Maillot.
Veronique, Toronto, Canada

#Best Falafal in Paris! It's called, L'As du Falafel. This is an institution. Rock stars, teenagers, politicians and old Jewish grandmothers agree this is THE place in Paris for falafel. The fast moving 'kippah' topped team slings grilled eggplant, tangy hummus, spicy pepper sauce and crispy fried chickpea fritters all day long. The dining room is constantly busy and humming with energy as eager diners wait their turn to sit down and devour their pita pocket. Meals are served on plastic plates with prices to match. Closed Friday night and Saturday. Address: 34 rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris.
Mary, Paris, France

EDITOR'S NOTE: Friends of Journeywoman living in Paris told us where they eat locally. To find out too: Click here.

Champagne bottle

#Although Paris is a great city to eat any time of day, Café Qui Parle is a fantastic place for brunch. It can be a lil' pricey during the week, but the traditional weekend brunch buffet is really great value. You can get a plentiful meal for about 15 euros. Try the homemade jams, French cheese plate, brouillés, and freshly pressed jus d'orange. Best of all it is set in the backdrop of the historic artistic quarter in Montmartre and a bit off the tourist grid on a quaint corner. You can opt for an outdoor table and do some people watching on a Sunday! Website: Address: 24 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 (best méro stops: Blanche or Caulaincourt)
Cristina, Canada

#I recommend Au Pain Quotidien. On weekends they serve breakfast until 5:00 PM in the afternoon. In Paris they have six locations including Le Marais, St-Honore and Victor Hugo. If you are a solo traveller, you will enjoy their communal table. The table is described like this on their website, 'Friends and strangers alike come together around our communal table to break bread and linger for a while.' Their breads are great, many of their products are organic and I enjoyed my time there very much. Go early to avoid the weekend lineups: Website:
Veronica, Toronto, Canada

Love pizza!

#I'd like to tell you about Pizza la Gourmandise on 28 rue Augereau in Paris. This tiny pizzeria owned by two Tunisian brothers is close to the Eiffel Tower and welcomes the world as warmly as it does the locals. The specialty: pizza with crispy hand tossed crust and yummy choice of toppings as well as several couscous dishes, none priced to make you wince. Unpretentious food served and prepared by unpretentious people, Pizza la Gournandise will not disappoint travelers who want a place not in the guidebooks and to which they are sure to return.
Kay, Edmonton, Alberta

#My daughter and I found an inexpensive, popular restaurant called Cafe Med, in Paris, France. It's located at 77 Rue St. Louis-en-Llle, in the 4th, near Notre Dame Cathedral. It has about 12 tables, and each time we go there, it's the same lady serving everyone. For 13 euros or 19 euros (prices may have gone up since then), you can get a three course meal consisting of salad, main course and then dessert. The food is excellent and the ambiance is restive and interesting after a day of touring. Alas, the price does not include wine, but you can order it separately. If you eat earlier and miss the busier times of the evening the wait to get inside is not too long. We are going to Paris again this September and I can hardly wait to eat at this cafe again!
Suzanne, Kelowna, Canada


Bonus! Save money in this Paris café...

I'm an American living in Paris for three months. I learned about Café Convival (in the 18th arrondissment) from my girlfriend who lives here permanently and knows about the little out of the way places that are moderately priced.

Café Convival is open for lunch on week days only. It's run by Katrine and her daughter and their specialty is quiche and salad (5.50 euro). In a word, yum! I had 2 pieces of quiche (1 would have been enough) with greens, a creamy desert of sour cream and chocolate bits, plus an espresso. Everything is home-made. It was out of this world. All for 9 Euro.

The quiche is the real deal. No fillers. The deserts are beautifully displayed and you help yourself. The coffee is made as you order it. The menu is quite extensive. Now, if you're in a hurry, forget it. There are only the two women, they do everything, and the place is crowded. If you need an extra napkin, get it yourself. I absolutely love, love, loved the experience, and almost hate to tell anyone about it. There are plants outside the door, it has a wonderful 'down home' atmosphere, and I walked out with a smile. Guess where I'm going for lunch tomorrow? Address: 82 Joseph de Maistre.
M. Terry Terrell, Boston, USA


General advice

#Wear your most comfortable walking shoes and defy the fashionistas.
Cate, Ottawa, Canada

#We had a wonderful time in Paris. My son said to just try to speak French. When you do the Parisians just can't do enough for you. He was absolutely right. Our cereal box French served us very well.
Marilyn, Lacombe, USA

Paris Info

#Best tip from me to all of you? Restaurants can be expensive so many times I picked up ready made meals at Marks and Spencer. They were fresh, absolutely delicious and inexpensive. I strongly recommend this option to anyone needing to save an Euro or two.
Evelyn, Ottawa, Canada

#I usually spend one to three months in Paris every year! I rent an apartment in a different area every year so that I can experience the different lifestyles of each area. Renting an apartment is a lot less expensive than staying in a hotel. So far, I've lived in the 6th, the 5th, the 11th and the 14th, and this year I'm going to live in the 9th (I use the rental agencies Families Abroad, New York and Vacation in Paris, New Jersey). I do more walking than taking public transportation, because by experiencing getting lost, I've made discoveries that I probably never would have seen. There are many small, beautiful churches that are not included in travel books and architectural sites that would be missed otherwise. If you get lost, all you have to do is find the nearest metro stop. P.S. If you're into classical music, many of the churches in Paris have free concerts, on Sunday, including the American church. You can make a donation, after the concert.
Rose, San Francisco, USA

#My hint is that Paris city bus number 69 that travels east/west in the city can be fun. Grab a window seat. This is a great inexpensive way to relax, rest your feet and see the sights.
Karen, Solon, USA

#ALWAYS greet a Parisan with "Bonjour" and end with "Merci" if someone has helped you even if this is all the French you speak Parisans will be kind and helpful with any information or directions you might need. Don't give the obvious greeting you may well be out of luck before you start. Knowing a few words in the language of the country you are in, even if you do not speak them well, shows effort on your part to be friendly and be part of your surroundings. More often then not you will be greeted in kind.
Valerie, Richmond, Canada

#One idea is to stray off the beaten path and wander around the area of the Sorbonne while stopping into the very interesting Cluny Museum that focuses on medieval artifacts. (2) If your time is pressed, go to the Louvre an hour or so before closing to avoid long lines. (3) Be sure to catch the Eiffel Tower light up at dusk (7:00 PM in March).
Vivian, Seattle, USA

#Try pizza in Paris! I was very surprised at how delicious it is - fresh ingredients and lots of basil. An surprising thing is the egg that is in the middle of the pie!
Margaret, Kodiak,USA

#Several years ago, my husband and I rented a small apartment in a 15th century building on a tiny street in the Marais. The apartment was small but convenient, while retaining the historic sense of the building. We found the Marais a perfect place to stay. We walked almost everywhere and were just one block from the Metro when we chose to go further. What we liked most was that the majority of people we encountered in our neighborhood were Parisians, not tourists. My best travel memory is of two hours I spent in a small dress shop around the corner from our apartment. The clerk (who spoke no English), the other two customers (who spoke some English) and I (who spoke only a tiny bit of French) helped each other select clothes, provided feedback on what looked best, laughed and hugged as we settled on our purchases. Each time I wear that special outfit I'm transported to that tiny shop on the Rue des Rosiers. My advice? Find some time to see the real Paris and her citizens. They're probably right around the corner.
Deb, Prescott, USA

EDITOR'S NOTE: What should I wear? Over the years we've received many tips from many woman of assorted ages. Read through this list and create your own packing list based on what feels good for you.

Bon Voyage everybody!


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