Romantic Dining in Paris that you can afford


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News Art Cafe/Salad bar. An intimate respite from Montparnasse traffic (just around the corner from Avenue du Maine on Rue de l’Ouest) All you can eat salad bar with exotic ambiance, great music, and peace and quiet for a comfortable tete-a-tete.

What is a romantic restaurant? I’m writing this post in response to a recent e-mail. One reader said that ‘romantic restaurants’ were out of the question for her budget.

Quite honestly, one of the most ‘romantic’ meals I’ve ever had were two bologne sandwiches which we ate by candlelight in the cellar of the Vagabond Lodge in Aspen, Colorado. In case you haven’t yet figured this out – a little big of candlelight makes any cave or cellar look suddenly romantic, but the real catalyst is the person who happens to be sitting across the table from you.

You can book a table at the Jules Verne or the Tour d’Argent – and still the meal will fall short of being ‘romantic’ if you’re not with Mr. or Ms. Right. So, trust me on this one. There are PLENTY of inexpensive, romantic restaurants in Paris.

Some good places to start your search would be either in the Latin Quarter, Rue Mouffetard on the Left Bank or the Centre Pompidou pedestrian walkway on the Right Bank. Always keep your eyes peeled for the unobtruseive cul-de-sacs, or passages that hide leafy restaurants and cafes.

I’ve already mentioned one address in the Latin Quarter (Paros) which offers a 9 Euro dinner menu.
Sometimes you will find more affordable prices at ethnic restaurants such as Greek, Indian or North African cous-cous restaurants with plenty of ambiance.

You may also want to pop into a creperie along Rue de Montparnasse. The only negative in some of the creperies will be a lack of space to find a table ‘away from the crowd’. In that case, take a walk down Rue de la Gaite to some of the dead end offshoots where you’ll find some cozy restaurants like Cote Cour at #1, Impasse Gaite, or Indian restaurant Bassanti (also just off of 31, Rue de la Gaite) 3, Rue Larochelle.

When the weather is good, make your romantic meal a portable feast. Pack your candles in advance and take your picnic to the edge of the Seine, Place Dauphine, Les Arenes de Lutece, (Paris parks close at dusk) or the esplanade of Trocadero, overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

Latin Quarter
Metro: St. Michel
Metro: Odeon

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Rue Mouffetard
Metro: Maubert-Mutalite

Trocadero/Palais du Chaillot
Metro: Trocadero

Place Dauphine
(Parc Le Vert-Galant)
Metro: Cite

Here are some tips to keep your ‘romantic meal’ at an affordable price:

Stick to the ‘menus’ rather than buying items a la carte.
Ask for a carafe d’eau instead of bottled water.
Beware of the ‘supplements’ (the menu will indicate ‘Supp +3 Euros for example)

Look for restaurants that have their daily menu listed on a blackboard. Always go to the back of the ‘carte’ (the French word for ‘Menu’). The least expensive ‘menu’ is normally at the back of the ‘carte’.

For picnics, buy your ‘fixins’ at a supermarket chain such as Monoprix, Champion or Attac. Specialty ‘delis’ will be delicious but pricey. The big branches of Monoprix will also have deli sections. Avoid the smaller ‘epiceries’ grocery stores which will be twice as expensive.

If you decide to picnic at a park, choose one of the parks which allows areas for sitting on the grass. Your best bet is to head for the biggest parks – either Bois de Vincennes or Bois de Boulogne. Here you’ll find plenty of areas to have your ‘dejeuner sur l’herbe’.

If you decide to picnic along the Seine, just be sure not to fall in!

If you have trouble posting comments on this article, please e-mail me, and I will answer your questions!

Bassanti
at #31 Gaite turn-off
3 Rue Larochelle impasse
Tel. 01 40 47 05 00
Dinner menus at 15 and 25 Euros

Cote Cour
1 Impasse Gaite
Tel. 01 43 27 23 34
Reservations needed.
French cuisine.
Small & intimate (thus the need for reservations).

The News Art Cafe
14 Rue de L’Ouest 75014
Metro: Gaite
Tél : 01-43-27-77-77

Restoaparis.com’s ‘coup de choeur’ for romantic dining
La Rose de France
at where else – but Place Dauphine?
(Although the dinner menus here are a little bit more pricey (25-35 Euros), you can also come for lunch and try the ‘rapid’ menu at 15 Euros. Restoaparis website is a French language restaurant site, but all you need to do is keep alert for reviewers’ ‘coup de coeur’ i.e heartstruck – and you can’t go wrong.