1ST ARR: Le Soufflé – an institution specialising in Soufflés both salé and sucré since 1961. You can get a 3 course meal for 35 euros pp. The Grand Marnier Soufflés are worth murdering for. Seriously. You can have a traditional menu if you’d rather than the Soufflé menu for 40 eurosr. Round the corner form the Ritz Hotel, Place Vendome, Madeleine, the Louvre, it is great value in a very pricey part of Paris. 36 rue Mont Thabor 75001 – Tél. : 01 42 60 27 19
3RD ARR: Le Cantine MERCI. : Check out this amazing store in the Marais district first called Merci. Paris’s latest concept shopping sensation, is housed in an elaborately reconfigured 19th-century fabric factory. Inside, three loft-like floors heave with furniture, jewellery, stationery, fashion, household products, childrenswear and a haberdashery. That’s not all. In a move that takes the trend for retailer responsibility to a new level, this most generous of general stores gives all its profits to charity.
Its Cantine sells Tarts, Salads, Soups. Smoothies, a Tea Room, Patisseries from 16 to35 € 111, boulevard Beaumarchais MÉTRO : Filles du Calvaire, Oberkampf & Saint-Sébastien-Froissart TÉL : +33 1 42 77 79 28
4TH ARR: Au Duc de Montmorency (at the Duke of Montmorency) A humble market-style bistro with great salads and meals and good wines for cheap-as. it is in the same street where the Oldest House in Paris – Nicolas Flamel’s House (the real live Alchemist of Harry Potter fame) was built in the 15th century. Last time I saw it the house was a Chinese restaurant.
Still a remarkable stone edifice with ancient 600 year old carvings all over it.
Go see it and then dine at the Duke’s restaurant at 46 rue de Montmorency, 3rd arrondissement +33 (0)1 42 72 18 10 Metro: Rambuteau or Arts et Metiers
4TH ARR: Best French Onion Soup – Au Pied de Cochon (Pig’s Trotter) near Les Halles in the 1st/4th arr.
Once the haunt of vendors from the HUGE wholesale food market Les Halles which moved outside Paris in the late 1960s, it now attracts revellers from the area’s increasingly hip bars. The onion soup (€8) is plenty of slowly caramelised onions in a meaty broth, topped with thick slices of baguette and a crusty coating of emmental. Or for heartier appetites follow this with one of the house specials involving pigs’ ears, tails or trotters. 6 rue Coquillière, 1st arrondissement, +33 1 40 13 77 00. Métro: Châtelet les Halles
4TH ARR Vins des Pyrenees. With the imposing Place des Vosges and its opulent palaces, stylish fashion boutiques and tempting antique stores, the Marais is one of the most seductive neighbourhoods of Paris where it is not always easy to find a reasonable bistrot. Tucked away down a sidestreet, though, not far from the infamous spot where Jim Morrison died, is Vins des Pyrenees. This used to be a wine depot and none of the decor was altered when it was transformed into a bistrot. the cooking here is classic French terroir. · 25 rue Beautreillis; +33 (0)1 4272 6494. Set lunch, €13.50 ; dinner, a la carte, €30-35 including house wine. Metro: St-Paul
9TH ARR: Chartier Bouillon. Well this has to be officially THE CHEAPEST restaurant in Paris. “Le Bouillon Chartier”, a cantine for the working classes serving up simple hot dishes comprised of meat and vegetables when it first opened in 1896. It is huge, untouched decor since the 1890’s, used in many film sets and bursting with enthusiastic tourists. No reservations it opens at 11.30 am till 10.30 pm non-stop service.
The dining room (seating over 300 people), has gregarious teasing male waiters wearing traditional black waistcoats and white aprons who scrawl your orders out furiously on the white paper tablecloths in front of your eyes. The menu is classic (beef bourguignon, sauerkraut, sea bream, etc.). Sides are as low as 2 Euros. Arrive early: this one’s very popular with tourists and locals. And do not go if you love good food. this is basic basic tucker only.
12TH ARR: Les Dingues (The Crazies) Ha! What a little secret. This is a rare find – an authentic neighbourhood bistrot oozing with Parisian character. There’s always a crowd of noisy regulars gathered at the bar. The chef has his tiny kitchen where he creates seriously delicious dishes like entrecote steak flambéd in cognac or ravioli poached in brie sauce, which are included on the very reasonably-priced set lunch and dinner menu. After lunch, discover the nearby Viaduc des Arts, an old viaduct converted into artisan ateliers and shops. · 17 rue de Rambouillet; +33 (0)1 4345 3538. Set lunch, €17 ; set dinner, €25 . Metro: Gare de Lyon
13TH ARR: Chez Gladines – I do love this little place. In a village in the middle of Paris, this outstanding bistrot is one of the best budget eateries in town. The cuisine is 100% Basque, and the place resembles a country inn. Hearty dishes like potatoes with ham and cantal cheese, enormous mixed salads, or cassoulet await. Two caveats: neither reservations nor credit cards are accepted, so arrive early and bring cash.Prices are cheap, portions enormous, and the house wine is very drinkable. · 5 rue des Cinq Diamants; +33 (0)1 4580 7010. Lunch, plat du jour €8 ; dinner a la carte, €15 . Metro: Place d’Italie
5TH ARR: (Latin Quarter) For dirt cheap go down rue de la Huchette – a medieval warren where the tourist restaurants abound and “Prix-Fixe” menus offer 3 courses for 15 euros. Great value but certainly not for anyone looking for atmosphere and good food!
However, one of my favourite little restaurants round the corner from here is called Le Petit Chatelet.
In medieval Paris there were two fortress prisons outside the only 2 gates into Paris. One was le Grand Chatelet (where the largest metro station is today) and the other was Le Petit Chatelet right by where this little gem is. It is situated smack dab next to the legendary Shakespeare & Co book shop on rue de la Bucherie (logs street) hailing once again from a bygone era when boatmen dumped their huge logs there that they brought by barge from Burgundy for Paris’s firewood.
Phone and book a table overlooking Notre Dame cathedral and the food is delicious. The owner looks like a lugubrious and slimmer Alfred Hitchcock – hopefully you’ll spot him. 9 Rue de la Bûcherie tel: +33 1 46 33 53 40
6TH ARR: Le Pre Verre is one of the hottest addresses in Paris with exceptionally reasonable prices and a fabulous selection of wines from all over France.
The lunch menu is one of the best deals in town, so reservations are essential. · 8 rue Thenard; +33 (0)1 4354 5947; Set lunch, €15.50; set dinner, €29.50. Metro: Cluny
6TH ARR: Polidor. This is a legendary Paris bistro where luminaries like Hemingway and Andre Gide once occupied the tables. The atmopshere is drippingly French. Open since the mid-19th century, this is one of the rare places in the overpriced Odeon area where one can find solid traditional cuisine that’s not exorbitant.
Polidor was used in that marvellous Woody Allen film Midnight In Paris. Having met Salvador Dali, Man Rey etc it turns into a laundrette after Gil walks out – you know the scene!
Lunch menus available for 9 or 18 Euros . Polidor’s homemade pumpkin soup, tarts and cakes are especially recommended. Credit cards not accepted. 41, rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris Tél : 01-43-26-95-34
6TH ARR; Les Editeurs. Near Odeon.
I love this place. It’s big, chic and atmospheric, terribly hip and great to take my travel groups to. An ex-printers, it is a bar, a restaurant, a tea room and a library! You can sit out the front and watch the peeps in le Carrefour d’ Odeon or you can wend upstairs and sit in a plush velvet chair near the window or the stairs. 4 Carrefour de l’Odeon Tel: 33 1 43 26 67 76 Metro: Odeon Open: Daily 8am to 2am
7TH ARR: Le Petit Troquet : This is a small Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in a small lane in the Paris 7th district that serves good quality food at incredible price. Lunch menu is only at 16 euro that include either Entree & Plat or Plat & Dessert. If you want the full menu of Entree, Plat & Dessert, it only cost you 23 euro. Good service and the waitress also speak good English. Never in Paris you can find such good food at this price. It’s a Must Try. 28, rue de l’Exposition, Paris, France (Eiffel Tower / Invalides / Palais-Bourbon) tel: 01 47 05 80 39
7TH ARR: Hard to get anything cheap over this way: but this little gem has reasonable prices excelling in traditional French cuisine . Chez Germaine is an intimate, romantic dining room of just 25 seats. Wonderful homemade terrines, tasty grillades of the day, and tempting desserts like papillon au chocolat. And Chez Germaine does not raise the set price menu in the evening. Remember that the bistrot is just by the chic Bon Marche department store, where foodies shouldn’t miss visiting their Grande Epicerie food hall, the Parisian equivalent of Fortnum & Mason. · 30 rue Pierre Leroux; +33 (0)1 4273 2834. Set lunch & dinner, €16.50 (£13). Metro: Vaneau