Paris Stories and Tips

Food Les-Halles

The Louvre's Richelieu snack bar Photo, Paris, France

Still associated with food, though the amazing food-supply central market that was located near St-Eustache, Paris’s second-largest church, moved to the suburbs in the 1960’s, this area has several restaurants per block. We chose L’Epicerie at 30, Rue Montorgueil (tel. # 01 40284978) for a Sunday-night splurge dinner. Mostly half-full when we arrived around 7pm, by the time we left around 8:30pm, it was almost full, with mostly locals and some tourists. At least six restaurants exist on this side of the street just north of Chatelet Les-Halles.

My husband had a very good warm potato soup, and we split a foie gras appetizer. This was the first time I’ve eaten foie gras, and it’s definitely something I could come to adore: smooth, velvety, and soothing comfort food. For entrée, Dan chose onglet echalote, a steak with shallots, and I had filet boeuf. The sauce with the shallots was excellent, slightly piquant, and both steaks were thin and fork-tender. For dessert I enjoyed Ile Flottante and he had his favorite - crème brulee, a very good version, he said. He also enjoyed a glass of house port (3.50€). The tab was a modest 63.10€ before tip; we noted that the TVA was a not-modest 19.6% of the bill. Do figure this tax in your mind when selecting entrées, even in modest bistros.

Afterwards, we walked off some of the splurge by proceeding north on Montorgueil, where pre-Christmas shopping was going on till 9pm. We admired the fact that Christmas decorations on shopping streets noted it was the holiday season, but that these decorations didn’t shout with Santa Clauses and Rudolphs. Lights tended to be white festoons above the streets. However, we noted multicolored decorations on nearby streets of restaurants (Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Tiquetonne in particular) that looked quite touristy and were packed with patrons.

For the remaining nights, we bought takeaway at a traiteur two stores away from our apartment (touring the Louvre and Orsay is exhausting). Both times, the obliging proprietor nuked our food; the apartment did have a microwave, which I used to heat a quickie instant coffee in the mornings. We lunched at the Louvre at the Cafeteria De La Pyramide (tab was 22.70€ for a substantial lunch of two quiches with soft drinks, water, and coffee); at the Café De La Pyramide, near the Richelieu’s entry point, we stopped for water and Sprite, at 4.10€, a bit pricey. With seven eating places, the Louvre assures that visitors won’t starve, but its amenities are NOT budget.

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