Combining a business trip with a weekend for myself, I tried a few restaurants in Paris:
Leon de Bruxelles -- This was the only place I could find late Saturday night where I wouldn't have to wait in line for ages. I was alone and didn't want to be out all night looking. It's a busy charmless place on the Champs Elysees. The thing here is mussels. I had the farmer's salad, a huge plate of chicken, chevre, hard-boiled egg, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, etc, for 14 euros. A small bottle of wine cost almost as much. Good for filling up but short on atmosphere.
La Fontaine de Mars - Dropped in without a reservation at 1:30 Sunday, and was seated upstairs. It's smaller and simpler than I expected. Several French families were there for Sunday lunch. Had roast chicken with rice and morels, it was delicious (25 euros). I am rarely conscious of every bite during a meal, but I wanted this one to go on forever. Only wish portions were larger. Hope to return.
Hediard - Place de la Madeleine. Work lunch. Utilitarian ambiance, speedy service. We each had bavette (steak) topped with caramelized onions, and shoestring potatoes. That and one bottle of water came to 60 euros. Yummy but clearly a business lunch/tourist kind of place.
Chez Andre - Rue Marbeuf. Bistro with zinc tables, closely packed tables, friendly service. Had the goat's cheese salad with walnuts and diced apples.
Didn't have time for Au Bon Accueil, but it's on the list for next time. The receptionist at my hotel
was surprised when I asked about it. "How do you know about it?"
General tips: It's pretty debatable whether restaurant prices are merited both in quality and amount of food, and I travel a lot in Europe. I found that prices were pretty evenly high regardless of the restaurant, though I didn't do the formule. Stock up on water and snacks before going to the airport. A small bottle of Vittel costs between 2.7 and 3.6 euros at Orly. On Sundays almost nothing is open. If you've come to shop, you may want to skip the weekend. Saturday was a madhouse at Galeries Lafayette, Sunday it was closed, Tuesday it was empty. A flimsy postcard at the Louvre costs 1 euro ($1.20). In general, salads cost about $15, and main courses $20 and up, at least that was my impression from the places I visited and the menus I saw. A lot of French people buy sandwiches or wraps at bakeries and at takeaway salad and sandwich bars, but even a wrap will set you back about $7.
Paris is great but the prices will kill you. Still, I hope to return to try some of the places mentioned on chowhound!