Everyone on a trip to Paris is in search of restaurants that serve great food at decent prices. Before Guillaume Plisson of Calista Privilege started his Paris touring company, he worked as a chef. Here are some of Plisson’s favorite restaurants in popular Paris neighborhoods.
Where to Eat in the 7th Arrondissement
The Eiffel Tower is in the 7th arrondissement, so you’ll be spending a lot of time in this neighborhood. Luckily, there are some non-tourist trap places that serve up authentic French food.
These three restaurants are on the rue Saint-Dominique:
Don’t be put off by the simple decor, just wait till you taste the food. A great meal – appetizer, entree, and dessert – can be had for E23 (wine not included). Run by well-known chef/owner Christian Constant and a great young chef, Eduardo Jacinto Avelar, this typical French brasserie has a seasonal menu that changes according to the best products available at the markets.
Les Fables de la Fontaine
This stylish bistro specializes in fish dishes and Basque Country cuisine from the southwest region of France. Expect mid-range prices for very high-quality food: a weekday lunch menu – appetizer, daily special, dessert, and a glass of wine – costs E30. The owners – maitre d’ David Bottreau and chef Sebastien Grave – first met while working for the famed Christian Constant.
La Fontaine de Mars
This is the classic Parisian bistro of your dreams. Hearty meals such as foie gras, duck, and cassoulet have been served on this very spot since 1908. Jacques and Christiane Boudon are the current owners keeping the tradition alive. The plat du jour (daily special) will run you about E20. Otherwise, lunch and dinner – appetizer, main course, dessert – will be around E55 (without drinks). For a wonderful culinary experience, try the Burgundy snails. Unconvinced? President Obama has dined here.
Though Paris has its share of great piano lounges, a hotel piano bar tends to be more relaxed. While you’re there for the music and the sophisticated ambiance, it’s also a way to check out these grand hotels. Maybe you’ll be inspired to book a room at one of them on your next trip to Paris.
B.A. Bar at Hotel Bel-Ami
The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is great for nightlife. The Hotel Bel-Ami piano bar evenings are every night except Sundays, 6pm to 10pm. On the first Thursday of every month, there’s a special jazz evening, Soirees Bazz, in this lobby bar from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.
Bar du Lutetia at Hotel Lutetia
This Art Deco hotel is a Left Bank landmark. The Lutetia bar has been attracting the glitterati since 1910. Today, they still come for the specialty cocktails and piano music every evening from 7pm. Then, on Wednesdays through Saturdays, there are “Lute-Jazz” performances to enjoy from 10:15pm till closing.
Piano Bar at Hotel de Banville
Treat yourself to an aperitif and an evening of jazz standards and French classics at this Art Deco-style hotel, named for the poet Theodore de Banville. On Tuesday evenings (8pm-11pm), the lovely Marianne Moreau – accompanied by musicians Franck Monbaylet on piano and Frederic Kakon on guitar – turns the lobby into a lively, jazz piano bar.
The Duke’s Bar at Hotel Westminster
The Duke’s Bar has the air of a posh British club. On weeknights, pianist Jean-Luc enlivens the cocktail hour (6:30pm to 9:30pm). And Thursdays through Saturdays, a jazz singer adds a bit of pizzazz from 10pm onwards.
Le Bar at Hotel de Crillon
If you’ve always dreamed of staying at the renowned Hotel de Crillon, you can start with an evening at the bar where pianists Bernard and Joel liven up the atmosphere from 9:30pm to 1am. (The music plays on during the hotel’s current restoration.)