Beaubourg, the Marais and the Bastille
Cafés and Bars
Café Beaubourg 43 rue St-Merri, 4e. A seat under the expansive, not to say expensive (€5 for a café crème), awnings of this stylish café, bearing the trademark sweeping lines of designer Christian de Portzamparc, is one of the best places for people-watching on the Pompidou Centre's piazza. M° Rambuteau/Hôtel-de-Ville. MonThurs & Sun 8am1am, Sat 8am2am.
Dame Tartine 2 rue Brisemiche, 4e. Overlooking the Stravinsky fountain, with pleasant outdoor seating under shady plane trees, this popular café serves particularly delicious open toasted sandwiches from €5, and does a menu enfant for €9.90. M° Rambuteau/Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily noon11.30pm.
Georges Centre Georges Pompidou, 4e. On the top floor of the Pompidou Centre, this trendy, ultra-minimalist café commands stunning views over the rooftops of Paris (smoking seats have the best views) and makes a stylish place for lunch or dinner. The FrenchAsian fusion cuisine is passable, though somewhat overpriced (club sandwiches for €12, prawn risotto €26), but then that's not really why you come. M° Rambuteau/Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily except Tues noonmidnight.
Le Petit Marcel 63 rue Rambuteau, 3e. Speckled tabletops, mirrors and Art Nouveau tiles, a cracked and faded ceiling and about eight square metres of drinking space. Friendly bar staff and "local" atmosphere. M° Rambuteau. MonSat till midnight.
Les Fous d'en Face 3 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 4e tel 01.48.87.03.75. Delightful little restaurant and wine bar serving wonderful marinated salmon and scallops. Midday menu €17, otherwise reckon on €27 upwards. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily 11.30am3pm & 7pmmidnight.
Le Grizzli 7 rue St-Martin, 4e tel 01.48.87.77.56. A characterful, bustling fin-de-siècle bistrot serving superb food with specialities from the Pyrenees such as cassoulet. Desserts include creamy apple tart with calvados. Figure on €44 à la carte, including half a bottle of wine. M° Châtelet. MonSat till 11pm.
Le Quincampe 78 rue Quincampoix, 3e tel 01.40.27.01.45. Mediterranean/Moroccan restaurant and salon dethé, with a snug atmosphere, high-quality food and delicious mint tea. You can eat around a real fire in the room at the back in winter. Tagines, pastilla and plat du jour €11. M° Étienne-Marcel/Rambuteau/RER Châtelet. Noon11pm, closed Mon, Sat lunch & Sun.
Au Vieux Molière Passage Molière, 157 rue Saint-Martin, 3e tel 01.42.78.37.87, www.vieuxmoliere.com. Hidden away down a characterful passage, this atmospheric restaurant has French chansons playing softly in the background. There's outdoor seating in summer, and the interior is elegant and comfortable, with deep-red velour seats and old photos and prints of literary figures. Fairly traditional food with some unusual twists typical dishes are garlic-roasted chicken and mullet in saffron sauce. Lunchtime formule €15.25, in the evening à la carte from €35. M° Étienne-Marcel/Rambuteau/RER Châtelet. Closed Sun lunch & Mon.
Cafés and Bars
Amnésia Café 42 Vieille-du-Temple, 4e. Forget your troubles over drinks and sandwiches in the alluring ambience of this low-lit, spacious café. Popular brunch served from noon to 5pm. Gets pretty wild at night; primarily gay, but straight-friendly. M° St-Paul. Daily 10am2am.
L'Apparemment Café 18 rue des Coutures-St-Gervais, 3e. Chic but cosy café resembling a series of comfortable sitting rooms, with quiet corners and deep sofas. Recommended are the "salades composées", which in this case you compose yourself by ticking off your chosen ingredients and handing your order to the waiter. Popular Sunday brunch until 4pm costs €14. M° St-Sébastien-Froissart. MonFri noon2am, Sat 4pm2am, Sun 12.30pmmidnight.
Bar Central 33 rue Vieille-du-Temple, cnr rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, 4e. One of the most enduring gay bars in the Marais, attracting a quieter, older, more laid-back clientele. M° St-Paul. MonFri 4pm2am, Sat & Sun 2pm2am.
Bar de Jarente 5 rue de Jarente, 4e. Tiny, old-fashioned café-bar off the pretty place du Marché Ste-Catherine, which remains nonchalantly indifferent to the shifting trends around it. M° St-Paul. Closed Sun & Mon.
Café Martini 11 rue du Pas-de-la-Mule, 4e. Just off place des Vosges, this airy and relaxing little café offers low prices and taped jazz in the background. Panini from €3.05, good cappuccino, and a demi is only €2.29. Hard to squeeze into, but you can always take the sandwiches away and picnic on the grass of the nearby place. M° St-Paul. Daily 8.30am2am.
Café des Psaumes 1416 rue des Rosiers, 4e. This bustling little place in the heart of the Jewish quarter has a wonderful wood and marble interior and serves up kosher falafel for €6 and more substantial plats from €10. M° St-Paul. MonThurs noon3.30pm & 6.3011.30pm, Fri noon2pm & Sun noon11.30pm; closed Sat.
L'Ébouillanté 6 rue des Barres, 4e. A two-floor café that spills onto a picturesque, cobbled street behind the church of St-Gervais in Nice weather. An extensive choice of drinks, from homemade hot chocolate to iced fruit cocktails. Soup of the day for €6.50 and Tunisian crèpes from €7, or indulge in their excellent chocolate cakes and tartes. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. TuesSun noon10pm, till 9pm in winter.
Feria Café 4 rue du Bourg Tibourg, 4e. Buzzing tapas bar with funky baroque decor. Tapas range from €5 to €12 and there's a good choice of cocktails, including caipirinha (€7.50), and sangria for €3.50. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily 9ammidnight. Happy hour 68pm.
The Lizard Lounge 18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 4e. Loud and lively, attractive, stone-walled bar on two levels; American-run and popular with young expats. Especially busy for Sunday brunch (around €15), featuring Bloody Marys. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily noon2am.
Le Loir dans la Théière 3 rue des Rosiers, 4e. Characterful, long-established salon de thé that has remained resolutely itself in this otherwise trend-conscious area. Sink into a battered sofa, feast on enormous portions of scrummy homemade cakes (€6), and ponder the antique toys and Alice-in-Wonderland murals. If you're here for lunch, try the excellent vegetarian quiches. M° Saint-Paul. MonFri 11am7pm, Sat & Sun 10am7pm.
Page 35 4 rue du Parc Royal, 3e tel 01.44.54.35.35. Just round the corner from the Picasso Museum, an arty café-restaurant run by friendly staff and specializing in savoury and sweet crêpes. Their €10.50 formule consisting of an entrée, crêpe and dessert is excellent value. The changing contemporary artworks on the wall are for sale. M° Saint-Paul/Chemin Vert. Open 11.30am3pm & 79.30pm; closed Tues eve & only till 8pm on Sun.
Le Pain Quotidien 18 rue des Archives, 4e. Trendy café-bakery with an air of a monks' refectory about it: plenty of natural wood, and diners have the option of sitting at a long, communal table d'hôte. It specializes in hearty breads, huge salads (around €10) and tartines (open sandwiches) and is especially popular for its delicious Saturday and Sunday brunch. Other branches at 18 pl du Marché-Saint-Honoré and 135 rue Mouffetard. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily 8am7pm.
Le Petit Fer à Cheval 30 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 4e. Very attractive small bistrot/bar with original fin-de siècle decor, including a marble-topped bar in the shape of a horseshoe (fer à cheval). It's a popular drinking spot, with agreeable wine, and you can snack on sandwiches or plats (around €11) in the little back room furnished with old wooden metro seats. M° St-Paul. MonFri 9am2am, Sat & Sun 11am2am; food served noonmidnight.
Le Quetzal 10 rue de la Verrerie, cnr rue Moussy, 4e. This fashionable and stylish gay bar, with space for dancing, takes the art of cruising to new heights. M° St-Paul. Daily 5pm5am.
7 Lézards 10 rue des Rosiers, 4e. Serves up tapas (€4.50) and pasta dishes (€7.50), along with an impressive line-up of international jazz musicians (schedule at www.jazzvalley.com/7lezards; concerts begin 9.30pm MonSat, 7.15pm Sun; around €10). No credit cards. M° St-Paul. Mon & Tues 6pmmidnight, WedSun noonmidnight.
La Tartine 24 rue de Rivoli, 4e. This bar à vins is the genuine 1900s article, though pretty run down now and staffed by gruff barmen. It still cuts across class boundaries in its clientele, though, and has a good selection of affordable wines, plus excellent cheese and saucisson with pain de campagne. M° St-Paul. Mon & WedSun till 10pm; closed Tues & Aug.
L'Ambroisie 9 pl des Vosges, 4e tel 01.42.78.51.45. Scoring 19 out of 20 in the gourmet's bible Gault et Millau and run by celebrity chef Bernard Pacaud, L'Ambroisie offers exquisite food in a magnificent dining room hung with tapestries. It'll put a serious dent in your budget though, with a meal costing upwards of €200. Book well in advance. M° Chemin-Vert/St-Paul. Till 10.15pm; closed Sun, Mon and Aug.
Aquarius 54 rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, 4e tel 01.48.87.48.71. Long-established vegetarian restaurant which also functions as a health-food store, New Age bookshop and salon de thé between lunch and dinner, when it serves some fine fruit tarts and cakes. Its lunch and dinner specialities are galettes, omelettes and assiette paysanne sautéed potatoes, mushrooms, warm goats' cheese and garlic croutons. It's not quite as austere as it once was alcohol is now on the menu, albeit mostly organic wines but it's still strictly no-smoking, and the decor is quite spare. Lunch and dinner menus around €10. M° St-Paul/Rambuteau. MonSat noon10pm; closed last fortnight in Aug.
Auberge de Jarente 7 rue Jarente, 4e tel 01.42.77.49.35. This hospitable and friendly Basque restaurant serves up first-class food at moderate prices: cassoulet, hare stew, magret de canard, and piperade ratatouille. Menus from €18. M° St-Paul. TuesSat noon2.30pm & 7.3010.30pm; closed Aug.
Au Bourgignon du Marais 52 rue François Miron, 4e tel 01.48.87.15.40. A warm, relaxed restaurant and cave à vins with tables outside in summer, serving excellent Burgundian cuisine with carefully selected wines to match. Reckon on €30 a head for three courses, excluding wine. Booking strongly advised. M° St-Paul. MonFri noon3pm & 811pm; closed two weeks in Aug.
Le Coude Fou 12 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 4e tel 01.42.77.15.16. A popular, relaxed wine bistrot, with wooden beams and brightly painted murals. The menu offers some unusual wines from all over France to accompany traditional and more adventurous dishes, like filet de cannette aux kumcoats and entrecôte au bleu d'Auvergne. Lunchtime formule €16, including a glass of wine; dinner set menu for €23. Booking advisable on weekends. M° Hôtel-de-Ville. Daily noon2.45pm & 7.30midnight.
L'Enoteca 25 rue Charles-V, 4e tel 01.42.78.91.44. A fashionable Italian bistrot à vins in an old Marais building. If you take your Italian wine seriously this is the place to come: the list runs to 22 pages and features over 400 varieties, with an ever-changing selection available by the glass. Food doesn't take a back seat either: choose from an array of antipasti, fresh pasta (€11) or more substantial dishes like stuffed courgettes (€15). Two-course lunchtime menu for €12 including a glass of wine. M° St-Paul. Open daily noon11.30pm; closed one week in Aug.
L'Excuse 14 rue Charles-V, 4e tel 01.42.77.98.97. The cuisine is nouvelle-ish, as refined and elegant as the very pretty decor. A good place for a quiet but stylish date. Menus €2429. M° St-Paul. Open noon2pm & 7.3010.30pm; closed Sun & first three weeks of Aug.
Jo Goldenberg's 7 rue des Rosiers, 4e. Dating back to the 1920s, this is the best-known Jewish restaurant in the capital. Some say standards have declined over the years, but it can still pull off decent borscht, blinis, zakouski and apfel strudel. Occasional live music, often violin and guitar playing jazz favourites, lends atmosphere. Daily changing plat du jour €13, carte around €35. M° St-Paul. Daily until 1.30am.
Piccolo Teatro 6 rue des Écouffes, 4e tel 01.42.72.17.79. Great vegetarian restaurant with low lighting, stone walls and wooden beams. The speciality is gratin: try for example the douceur et tendresse made of spinach, mint, mozzarella and gruyere. Midday menu at €8.20, evening €14.50. Best to book on weekends. M° St-Paul. TuesSun noon3pm & 7.1511pm; closed Aug.
Pitchi-Poï 7 rue Caron, cnr place du Marché-Ste-Catherine, 4e tel 01.42.77.46.15. A warm and homely restaurant with outdoor seating on one of the Marais' most attractive squares. The cuisine revolves around central European/Jewish dishes like tchoulent and salmon coulibiac. Don't leave without sampling one of the Polish flavoured vodkas the honey one goes down a treat. €21 lunch and dinner menu, childrens' menu €11.50. M° St-Paul. Daily 10ammidnight.
Le Ravaillac 10 rue du Roi-de-Sicile, 4e. Long-established Polish restaurant with warm, wood-beamed interior. Specialities include meat perushkis, beef stroganoff, and choucroute, plus a long list of vodkas. Excellent quality for the price €20 à la carte. M° St-Paul. Open noon3pm & 7.1511pm; closed Sun & Aug.
Le Rouge Gorge 8 rue St-Paul, 4e. Small, friendly restaurant à vins with bare stone walls and jazz or classical music playing in the background. Devoted to exploring a wide range of wines: one week it might be Corsica, the next Spain or the Loire, and the theme is taken up in the frequently changing menu. For three courses at lunchtime count on paying €22 and at dinner €28. Wine by the glass starts at €2.80; if you're taken by a particular vintage you can buy a bottle to take home. M° St-Paul. Open MonSat; closed last fortnight in Aug.
Thanksgiving 20 rue St-Paul, cnr rue Charles-V, 4e. Highly regarded restaurant serving Cajun and Louisiana cuisine, plus some regular American favourites. You can get it all here: gumbo, jambalaya, crabcakes, even spare ribs and bagels and lox. €35 menu. M° St-Paul. Open for dinner TuesSat 7.3010.30pm; Cajun brunch Sat noon3pm; traditional brunch Sun 11am4pm. Closed Aug.
Quartier du Temple
Cafés and Bars
Le Taxi Jaune 13 rue Chapon, 3e. An ordinary café made special by the odd poster, good taped rock and new-wave music, as well as interesting food. Daily changing plats for around €14. Offers the occasional concert. M° Arts-et-Métiers. MonSat until 11pm; closed Sat lunch & Sun.
Web Bar 32 rue de Picardie, 3e, www.webbar.fr. Paris's best cybercafé, on three levels in a converted industrial space, with around twenty terminals on a gallery level. A real culture zone: pick up a printed programme of the art exhibitions, short film screenings and other arty events or consult their website. Comfy couches to loll on and a resident DJ make it a good place to chill, and simple healthy food comes in generous portions (€9 for quiche with mountains of salad). M° République/Filles-du-Calvaire. MonFri 8.30am2am, Sat 11am2am, Sun 11ammidnight.
Chez Jenny 39 bd du Temple, 3e tel 01.44.54.39.00. Thirties Alsatian brasserie serving superb choucroute. Menu at €24, children's menu €11.50, carte around €35. M° République. Daily 11.30am1am.
Chez Nénesse 17 rue Saintonge, 3e tel 01.42.78.46.49. Steak in bilberry sauce and figs stuffed with cream of almonds are two of the unique delights on offer at this restaurant, along with homemade chips on Thursday lunchtimes. À la carte around €30. M° Filles-du-Calvaire. MonFri noon2pm & 810.30pm; closed Aug.
Chez Omar 47 Rue de Bretagne, 3e tel 01.42.72.36.26. Very popular North African couscous (€1120) restaurant in a nice old brasserie set with mirrors. Attracts a young crowd. No credit cards. M° Arts-et-Métiers. Daily except Sun lunch noon2.30pm & 711.30pm.
Cafés and Bars
Bar des Ferrailleurs 18 rue de Lappe, 11e. Dark and stylishly sinister, with rusting metal decor, an eccentric owner, fun wig-wearing bar staff and a relaxed and friendly crowd. M° Bastille. Daily 5pm2am.
Café de l'Industrie 16 rue St-Sabin, 11e. One of the best Bastille cafés, packed out every evening. Rugs on the floor around solid old wooden tables, mounted rhinoceros heads, old black-and-white photos on the walls and a young, unpretentious crowd enjoying the comfortable absence of minimalism. Plats du jour around €12. M° Bastille. Daily 10am2am.
Café des Phares 7 place de la Bastille (west side), 4e. Every Sunday at 11am a public philosophy debate is held in the back room here. The debates were pioneered by Nietsche specialist, Marc Sautet, and although he's no longer here, the sessions continue to attract large gatherings and have spawned a number of other café philos in the city. At other times the terrasse is a good spot for people-watching on the place de la Bastille. M° Bastille. Daily 7am4am.
La Fontaine 1 rue de Charonne, 11e. Don't be fooled by its "just another neighbourhood bar on the corner" look; this place is as trendy as the others even if it is a tad less self-conscious and expensive. M° Bastille. Daily 8.30am2am.
Grand Appétit 9 rue de la Cerisaie, 4e. Vegetarian meals for around €15 served by dedicated eco-veggies at the back of this unassuming shop. M° Bastille. MonFri noon2.30pm.
Havanita Café 11 rue de Lappe, 11e. Large, comfortable Cuban-style bar with battered old leather sofa. Cocktails from €7.50; happy hour till 8pm. M° Bastille. Daily 5pm2am.
Iguana 15 rue de la Roquette, cnr rue Daval, 11e. A place to be seen in. Decor of trellises, colonial fans, and a brushed bronze bar. The clientele studies recherché art reviews, and the coffee is excellent. M° Bastille. Daily 10am2am.
Pause Café 41 rue de Charonne, cnr rue Keller, 11e. More like "Pose Café" given its popularity with the quartier's young and fashionable who pack the pavement tables at lunch and aperitif time. Platsdu jour around €10. M° Ledru-Rollin. TuesSat 8am2am, Sun till 9pm.
SanZSanS 49 rue du Faubourg-St-Antoine, 11e. Gothic decor of red velvet, oil paintings and chandeliers, and a young crowd in the evening. Drinks reasonably priced; main courses for around €9. DJ every evening. M° Bastille. Daily 9am2am.
Le Temps des Cerises 31 rue de la Cerisaie, 4e. It's hard to say what's so appealing about this café, with its dirty yellow decor, old posters and prints of vieux Paris, save that the patronne knows most of the young, relaxed clientele. €11.50 menu. Not to be confused with the socialist worker's co-op of the same name in the 13e. M° Bastille. MonFri until 8pm; food at midday only; closed Aug.
Le Bar à Soupes 33 rue de Charonne, 11e. The exceedingly upbeat owner creates seven different soups each day, which run the gamut from Portugese haddock to a chilled tomato consommé laced with ginger. A good alternative to an excess of rich and heavy three-course meals. M° Bastille. MonSat noon3pm & 6.3011pm.
Blue Elephant 4345 rue de la Roquette, 11e tel 01.47.00.42.00. Superb Thai restaurant with dishes featuring liberal amounts of papaya, coconut milk and seafood. Figure on at least €40 per head. Booking essential. M° Bastille/Richard-Lenoir. Daily till midnight; closed Sat midday.
Boca Chica 58 rue de Charonne, 11e tel 01. 18.104.22.168. Popular tapas bar, with a colourful, arty decor. Two floors of indoor seating as well as an awning-covered alley. Fresh tapas (from €4.60), including tortillas, gratins, and sampler platters, and half-price beer and sangria during happy hour 47pm. M° Ledru-Rollin. Daily 8am2am.
Bofinger 7 rue de la Bastille, 3e tel 01.42.72.87.82. This popular fin-de-siècle brasserie, with its splendid, perfectly preserved, original decor, is frequented by Bastille Opera-goers and tourists. Specialities are sauerkraut and seafood. You'll get a better chance of sitting in the main dining room under the splendid glass coupole if you go for smoking rather than non-smoking. Three courses plus wine around €45. Le Petit Bofinger (tel 01.42.72.05.23; noon3pm & 7pmmidnight), opposite at no. 6, is under the same management, and serves lighter dishes, with plats du jour from €12. M° Bastille. Daily noon3pm, 6.30pm1am.
Le Capricorne 3 bd Richard Lenoir, 11e tel 01.47.00.25.00. A friendly, neighbourhood restaurant with a loyal following. The chef gets his ingredients direct from the market, so you can be sure everything is fresh and varied. The evening set menu at €16 is hard to beat for this area and features traditional dishes like pavé de boeuf, while plats du jour might include gratin de filet de dorade. There's an extensive wine list too. M° Bastille. TuesSat noon2pm & 7.1511pm.
Chez Paul 13 rue de Charonne, cnr rue de Lappe, 11e tel 01.47.00.34.57. Wonky corner building housing a small restaurant which preserves the faded colours and furnishings of an older Bastille, right down to the black-and-white tiles on the floor. The young customers who pack the place out, however, have a distinctly contemporary style. Food is traditional and affordable, the ambience very congenial. Mains from €10. Booking advised. M° Bastille. Daily noon2.30pm & 7.30pm12.30am.
Dame Jeanne 60 rue de Charonne, 11e tel 01.47.00.37.40. Not long opened and already a firm local favourite, this relaxed restaurant takes its food seriously it even offers cookery classes. The high-quality cuisine is built around well-prepared vegetables and delicately flavoured sauces. Mains are around €15 for the likes of parmentier de canard or skate with onion compote. The vegetarian set menu for €20 is especially recommended. Menuenfant €12. M° Ledru-Rollin. MonSat noon2pm & 7.3011pm. Closed three weeks in Aug.
Le Petit Keller 13 rue Keller, 11e tel 01.47.00.12.97. Colourful restaurant, with decorative tiled floor and art exhibitions on the walls, serving surprisingly affordable food. The decor may be modern but the food is traditional home-cooking dishes like rabbit with prunes, and very fresh vegetable-oriented starters. Menu €14. M° Ledru-Rollin. Open 8am2.30pm & 7.3011pm; closed Sat lunchtime & all day Sun.
Wok Restaurant 23 rue des Taillandiers, 11e. Part of the neighbourhood-wide wave of new restaurants with highly creative cuisine. Walk in, receive a bowl with rice or noodles, choose ultra-fresh vegetables, meat and fish from the buffet and head up to the open kitchen to let the chefs know what spices to add. Served in a pleasant, almost zen-like dining area. €14. M° Bastille. MonSat 7.30pmmidnight.
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