Paris Stories and Tips


The Arcades near the Musee Picasso- Photo, Paris, France

On our first night, we went out searching for an informal restaurant preferably one favored by locals. As we had snacked, we weren’t so hungry and had time to admire the Christmas lights at the local government buildings and enjoy the holiday bustle of that major shopping street, Rue Berenger. Several blocks further south, just off the Rue Bretaigne, at 26 Rue Santonge we saw Pizza Tonino’s neon sign. Italian in Paris--why not?

The only tourists in this small half-filled restaurant on a rainy week night, we ordered from a 3 course menu that had 3 choices per course. My husband and I in rare duplication ordered the same choices- salad with shrimp and avocado, veal scallops with spaghetti and mushrooms and a dessert we both love, tarte Tatin, warm, caramelized apple enfolded a la crepe in this restaurant’s version of the classic sweet.

With a glass of house red and a lemon soda, the tab was a reasonable 35 euro, about $44U.S. at a time when our dollar hadn’t sunk against the euro. Low on atmosphere, with a take-out pizza side counter and the usual photos of Italian scenes dotting the walls, this was an unpretentious place (tel. # 01 42 72 25 25) to have good, simple food after which we could wend our way back to the apartment for early to bed in preparation for next day’s serious touring.

Hungry after our visit to the Musee Picasso, I brunched at Les Arcades Restaurant where I faced a mushroom omelet as big as its plate-the largest omelet I’ve ever encountered. My Waterloo-I couldn’t finish it. Dan had a yummy house pastry and we both had excellent coffee (officially this restaurant on pagesjaunes is a salon de the). On the street level in a plain 5-story building of mostly apartments,at 2 Place Thorigny (tel.# 01-42-77-32-05),this fueling stop cost 18 euro including TVA.

The best for last- our last night in the Marais we found Le Sablier at 4 Rue Dupetit Thouars (tel 0148873845). This heart-filled restaurant is the quintessential Mom-Pop little place you hesitate to recommend to too many others. A review of this find appears on the web site, so it has been discovered already. Behind its pink curtained entry door is the domain of Jean and Sophie, the names of the chef and his wife according to this review. Sophie with her heart-framed glasses was our efficient waitress, while, behind the open Dutch door, Jean produced his culinary masterpieces. Hearts abound even in the shape of the bread placed before you with your drinks. Photos of turn-of-the 19th century adorn the walls; natural wood beams and benches highlight the absence of plastic.

The chef excels in traditional French cooking of the type popularized by Julia Child whose books taught us HOW to cook when we were young and newly married.

What did we have? For appetizer, I had scallop salad with croutons; Dan had escargots. Fortune smiled on him for he had pork loin poached with pears,so simply delicious a combination that he’s prepared it at home several times since. I had boeuf rose, a thinly sliced beef dish; both our entrees were accompanied by pommes de terre sautés(lovely, crisp potatoes quick fried). Feeling happy at our discovery of this place, Dan ordered sancerre wine to accompany his meal. For dessert we both had tarte tatin; this version was topped with lots of heavy whipped cream and was a more traditional tarte Tatin-scrumptious pastry! We literally rolled out of this place after over an hour of leisurely dining. What was this feast’s total? The tab was 73.40 euro. What a way to leave the Marais--on a food high.

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