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Our Favorite Paris Bistros

Many of the finest restaurants in the world can be found in Paris. But if you are looking for French food without the fanfare and high prices, look to a Paris bistro, or as the French spell it, Bistrots. The following Paris bistrots are just some of the favorites of a few of our Europe Up Close writers. There are many, many more fabulous bistros in Paris, and we want to hear about them. Do you have a bistrot to add to our “Favorite Paris Bistros List”? Leave a comment below or tweet us.

Astier – Joan and Neil Malling

chef-cuisine_AstierOne of our favorite Paris bistros is Astier. Lively atmosphere, helpful staff, great selection of bistro fare, incredible cheese tray, and a reasonable prix fixe menu (low 30’s).  Reservations highly recommended.
44 rue J.P. Timbaud
Paris 75011

Tel: 01-43 57 16 35
Metro: Parmentier
11th Arrondissement

La ContrescarpeJen Westmoreland Bouchard
For a classic French bistro experience, head to La Contrescarpe , near Place de la Contrescarpe at the top of Rue Mouffetard’s hill and around the corner. The fare is fresh and authentic, and the location- at the top of Rue Mouffetard, the street with the best food shops in Paris- is inspiring.
57 , Rue Lacépède
75005 Paris, France
5th Arrondissement

Les Fêtes Galantes – Marilyn McFarlane
les_fetes_galantesThis little spot in the 5th is offbeat, to say the least. The décor of Les Fetes Galantes is quirky: tacked-up photos of friends and family, long strands of green vines and colored lights, and a wall covered with bras (yes, underwear, donated by fans of the chef). The menu prices are amazingly low, and the food is terrific. It’s prepared by Bibi, an Egyptian who puts his own touch to traditional French dishes, and served by his vivacious wife Isabelle.  The place is cozy, with space for only 26.  It’s one of the best bargains in Paris.
Closed Sunday
17, rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique
Tel: 01 43 26 10 40
Métro: Cardinal-Lemoine, Maubert Mutualité
5th arrondisement

Le Petit Prince – Carla Scott
Located across the street from Notre Dame in the Latin Quarter, Le Petit Prince is never empty but always filled with locals from the Sorbonne as well as international tourists. The food is fantastic and cheap,especially for lunch! 14  Euros for a two course meal with a carafe of wine! Great place to people watch and they have large pitchers of Sangria and free olives, nuts and bread at happy hour.
12 12 rue Lanneau
Metro: Maubert-Mutualité
5th Arrondissement

Café de Flore – Anne-Sophie Redisch
Cafe_de_FloreOriginally from the late 1880s, Café de Flore is a Paris landmark and a favourite hangout for artists for most of the 20th century. Located on Boulevard Saint-Germain, it’s perhaps most famous for being the watering hole of the existentialists in the mid-20th century. During the German occupation, this was the second home to renown philosophers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. As Sartre put it: …nous étions au Flore chez nous. They breakfasted, worked, lunched, talked, dined and entertained here from morning till night.

As in most Paris bistrots, it’s perfectly fine to sit by yourself. I especially like the covered outdoor section on a rainy day, having coffee (or lovely hot grog in winter) and watching Parisians hurrying past.

While they, at times, get a bit of flak for their service, over the years I’ve experienced nothing but nice, friendly waiters; letting me sit for hours and hours with a single glass of citron pressé, reading a book. When not busy, they’ve even offered great conversation. All those decades of philosophical debate must have permeated the woodwork, it’s one of my favourite hang-outs for inspiration.

Café de Flore is an excellent place to stop for champagne after shopping in fashionable Saint-Germain-des-Prés. On a more abstemious note, my 8-year-old adores their Croque monsieur.
26 Rue Saint-Benoît
75006 Paris, France
Tel: 01 45 44 33 40

6th Arrondissement

Le Colimacon Vine bar and Restaurant
– Brigitte Aflalo Calderon
Le_ColimaconThe winding staircase is one of the charms of this little Paris bistrot where you’ll discover good wines and regional dishes. Every week, 10 new dishes appear on the Le Colimacon menu, all inspired by the chef’s imagination and classics from regional French gastronomy. Foie-gras hamburger, sliced Breast of Duck with carmelized apples, Pastilla surprise, etc.  Very warm atmosphere. Owners strive to make you feel at home
44 rue Vieille du Temple
4th arrondissement

Cote Place – Brigitte Alfalo Calderon
Open 7 days a week from 11h to midnight, this bistro and wine bar is connected to the Ma Bourgogne restaurant, located on the  opposite corner at place des Vosges . It serves traditional Burgundian cuisine:  snails, saucisson from Beaujolais, steak tartare, delicious Tarte Tatin and selected home made déserts, like fondant au chocolat. Patrons can count on a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and an excellent wine selection from Burgundy and other French regions,
2 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
Le Marais
Tél: 01 42 71 27 40
Metro: Bourse
3rd arrondissement



Jen Laceda

Monday 8th of February 2010

Thanks for the tips! I haven't heard of these bistros before but I am glad to have insiders' picks!

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