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Restaurants & Bars 7

Is there help for two less-than-adventurous eaters?

marianl | May 29, 2015 02:12 PM

Bonjour! We are visiting Paris 14-28 July, renting an apartment on rue Daguerre. We spent a slightly earlier-in-July 2 weeks in the same neighborhood last year (different apartment – unfortunately last year’s was not available), so we know the area as well as temporary residents who speak practically no French are likely to do. Last year’s visit was largely funded by our institution, as my partner was the recipient of a grant that focused on expatriate women writers in Paris. We had a lovely time following the trail of all of the usual suspects as well as many not-so-well known, taking photos of seemingly endless doorways & house numbers, and trying to look intellectual while sipping café at Le Sélect, etc. This year is just for fun.

I must confess that neither of us are foodies or even food nerds – we are sheepishly less-than-adventurous eaters who enjoy food that is authentic in some way, and eating in places that make us feel joyful or that are imbued with the soul of a place, whatever that might be. While we had some good food last year, our most memorable “meals” were the still-warm baguette we bought (and ate!) as we set out for the Bibliothèque, and tea with our French colleague at Café de la Mosquée. Our one “fancy” dinner - at the recommendation of a friend we went to Le Buisson Ardent - was fine ambience-wise, but neither of us remember what we ate. Especially since this year’s trip will not be driven by where Djuna Barnes had cocktails in 1926, we’d like to do better!

So, I turn to you for help – hoping I am not being too piggy -- with three questions:

1. Our neighborhood. It is our fond hope to find a place in our neighborhood (say, roughly, the triangle bounded by rue Froidevaux, ave du Maine & ave du General Leclerc) which, if we actually lived there, might become our “regular.” I think I’ve researched the board reasonably well & possibilities include Aux Enfants Gatés, Bistrot Augustin, Cornichon, l'Assiette, Cantine du Troquet Daguerre & Le Cette. Have you ideas about which is most likely to fit the bill (assuming they all are open – I haven’t checked)?

2. Operas. We have tickets to the opera (15 July, Wednesday, Palais Garnier) & dance (16 July, Thursday, Opéra Bastille), both to begin at 7:30. Last year we wandered unprepared after La bohème at Opéra Bastille, ending up with a depressing pizza somewhere we didn't know the name of even then. This year’s plan just needs to not detract from the overall experience, not be independently memorable! The options I’ve come up with are Swann et Vincent, Vilia & Bofinger for post-Bastille; Les Saisons (but it looks to be closed in July), Lazare, Les Jalles (which seems heavier than I would imagine wanting of a July evening), Goust & le Grand Café des Capucines for post-Garnier. Any recommendations or cautions? Would it be better, at least on one of these days, to instead make an early stop at Le Rubis or someplace similar?

3. “Fancy” meals. I have a super list from you folks of places that are great complements to other activities – when we’re already planning to be in a particular neighborhood or just want to be spontaneous (for example, Liza, Clown Bar & La Gazzetta have floated to the top for various reasons). But what I need help with is the post-ramble, apéro at home, change for dinner & go back out kind of place. Here’s my hopefully not too odd list – remember, we are your crazy American aunts who won’t eat brains or cuttlefish (one of us will eat lamb & veal, and the other will eat oysters, so we are not complete losses): AG, Chez Denise, Clamato, Heimat, Joséphine chez Dumonet, Le 122, Le Chemise, Le Taxi Jaune (are we too boring for it?), Les Climats, Au Passage. Any suggestions for alternates, or for narrowing the list to just a few?

Thank you so much for your time!

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