If you haven’t had a chance to read Our Guide to Paris-Where We Eat (Part 1), please be sure you do! As promised, we have some additional favorites described below!
Les Deux Magots (http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php)
6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 75006 Paris, France
Unfortunately, these days, Les Deux Magots gets a bad rap for being touristy and overpriced. Being one of Hemingway’s old haunts, this beautiful cafe gets a lot of traffic. We recommend coming here on a warm summer evening and grabbing a table outside on the sidewalk. It is the perfect place to grab a beverage and watch the people stroll down the Boulevard Saint Germain. You may even want to bring a journal and something to write with. While the well-dressed waiters hustle around you, it is difficult not to get swept up in the nostalgia of it all. This is where the great literary geniuses came to meet, and perhaps, creativity still lingers in the air here. Aspiring writers, this is your place. You never know just how magically inspirational a place like this can be.
Le Champ de Mars (http://www.bistrotlechampdemars.com/web/)
45 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007 Paris, France
There is a story behind our fondness for Le Champ de Mars. While most might consider this place your typical Parisian cafe, we like to call it the “engagement cafe” which, for us, makes it way less typical and significantly more important. No, we didn’t get engaged here, but we did eat here just prior to Paul getting down on one knee beneath the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t exactly Paul’s idea of a romantic dinner nor was it part of his plan.
You see, Paul had this wonderful idea to take me to an amazing little French restaurant called Chez Agnes for our pre-engagement dinner. Paul, his mom, and his nephew had met the talented Agnes on a prior visit to Paris, a chance encounter they’ve always considered to be one of their best memories of Paris. At the time, they were staying at the Londres Eiffel Hotel next door, and in an effort to find something to eat one evening, they randomly gave Chez Agnes a try. To this day, I still hear the stories of how incredible the food was, and most importantly, how good Agnes treated them.
Chez Agnes was a one-woman operation, with Agnes in complete control of everything, from greeting customers at the door, to cooking and serving, to taking care of all of the numerous responsibilities that come with running a restaurant. It is unfathomable to think she could do it all, but with just a few tables, she fluttered from dining room to kitchen with ease, making you feel like you were comfortably eating inside her home.
It was all part of Paul’s plan: woo me with good French cooking and then ask the ultimate question. However, when we arrived to Chez Agnes on that particular evening, the restaurant was closed, and Paul had to resort to Plan B. The only problem was, there wasn’t a Plan B. So we strolled around the corner and walked right into Le Champ de Mars.
Paul insisted we eat at this particular cafe because it was only a few feet from the Eiffel Tower. After all, he was on a schedule that I wasn’t aware of. He convinced me that a girl can’t come to Paris without having steak frites, and since that happened to be on the menu of Le Champ de Mars, it was a perfect choice for dinner. We ordered up two plates of steak and fries and this became Plan B for our pre-engagement dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy and Paul only got up to go to the bathroom and check on the ring in his pocket about 10 times. Of course, I thought he was sick. I mean, anyone who has to go to the bathroom that many times must have something wrong with them.
We often stop at Le Champ de Mars when we are in the area of the Eiffel Tower. It is a good place to grab a cup of espresso and watch the people go by. The food is your average cafe food, but the salads are good and the fries are crispy.
Eventually I did get to eat at Chez Agnes. It was phenomenal. Luckily, I had the chance to eat there twice because after we left, her restaurant closed its doors. I’m sorry to say that we’ll probably never find a food experience quite as unique as that one ever again.
51 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris, France
Sorza is a small Italian restaurant located on the beautiful Ile Saint Louis. If you’ve never been to Paris, Ile Saint Louis is an adorable little island just steps away from Notre Dame Cathedral. It used to be a great place to go to escape from the tourist frenzy, but on some of our most recent visits, we’ve noticed more and more people crowding the streets.
We discovered Sorza on my first trip to Paris when we were both craving some pasta and needed a break from the traditional French food we were constantly consuming. It is a cozy and modern place with tables available near the windows. The menu is simple with small salads, pasta, risotto, ravioli, and some meat and fish dishes. The salad with poached egg (there’s that poached egg again) is delicious, and the parmesan risotto is packed with flavor. Trust us, you can always count on a solid meal at Sorza and we make it a point to go there at least once every time we are in Paris. Don’t forget to get some Berthillon sorbet on your way out! Apricot is my favorite!
The Bombardier (http://www.bombardierpub.fr)
2 Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris 5e arrondissement, France
The Bombardier is a traditional Engish pub located on a rather famous curve in the road just steps away from the Pantheon. That curve in the road is where Owen Wilson gets picked up by the old car in the movie Midnight in Paris. Watch the movie and Owen is always facing towards The Bombardier. However, in the film, The Bombardier does not exist. Hollywood magic removed it. I guess they didn’t have English pubs in Paris in the 1920’s?
While most people are drawn to this area to see the Pantheon, we come here for The Bombardier. I just love the curry here! It is beyond delicious served on a bed of fluffy white rice with a basket of fresh French bread. You can also get other pub food like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and the traditional Sunday roast.
It is also a great place to take a rest from speaking French considering everyone working here speaks English. My French is awful. I often put a Spanish accent on everything I say, or mix it with Spanish completely. I try to speak French, but I get easily frustrated and I often depend on Paul to communicate in restaurants. That’s okay though, I can get him around Spain without a problem. Paul gets us by in France, I get us by in Spain, and we both know just enough Italian to survive in Italy. Paul and I are a good team.
Strangely, we discovered The Bombardier while traveling south of Paris in Lyon. We just happened to walk into an English pub one day because, basically, Paul thought it looked like a neat place to walk into. I gave Paul quite a hard time about this considering we were in a French city visiting an English pub. It was a good choice though since the bartender was interesting to talk to and he, fortunately, told us about The Bombardier in Paris. When we came back to Paris a few days later, we went on a Hemingway walking tour, and as the tour guide walked us around the Midnight in Paris bend in the road and explained the significance, our eyes landed on The Bombardier. There it was! It was meant to be! We walked right into it!
Next up: Our Guide to Paris-What We Do
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