In thoughts of Paris, the first to come to mind will likely be visions of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.  Closely following will be the restaurants, the sidewalk cafes – the renown FOOD.  Then, unfounded but yet commonplace warnings about the very high price of Parisian restaurants and their snooty and uncooperative waiters.

Truthfully, I say that I have never experienced the legendary “rude French waiter” in any of my visits to the City of Lights.  I have, at times, run afoul of a higher price café than I had expected and planned for with the budget.  The former may well exist in some “tourist” restaurants; the latter would have been completely my faulty research.

But I must tell you: You can easily experience a wonderful Parisian evening in a quintessential café and not break your daily budget allotment.  Here is an example – Au Bougnat, just a short walk from the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris on Île de la Cité.  

All along the several short blocks of Rue d’Arcole from the Cathedrale to the River Seine there are sidewalk cafes inviting you to pause and enjoy what one would expect to be a lovely evening dining in traditional Parisian ‘al fresco’ style.  One would be quite disappointed.  The review site, Trip Advisor (, is filled with mild-to-outraged complaints of the Rue d’Arcole establishments.

But then, if you only knew — just a few steps (literally!) off that promenade you could find, indeed, the evening you had hoped for.  Au Bougnat has earned high marks and accolades from travelers and locals alike.  While only steps away from the touristy tables on the larger street, Au Bougnat has considerably fine cooking and presentation offered for pocket-friendly pricing in a petite and most comfortable ambiance.  (You can have a delectable set-meal in a range from Euro 25-35.  Or a bit more, if you wish ala carte and multiple courses.)  The host/hostess and servers all speak fluent English without being asked to do so, they being able to easily realize if you happen to be an English-speaking diner.  They are friendly, conversant, and indeed happy that you’ve chosen to stop-in.

I’ve eaten there a number of times and plan to do so on all future visits to the city.  This was my meal on my last visit there:  Salmon; Braised Beef Cheeks with Carrots (rustic and most satisfying flavors); Cheese selection; Double Espresso. The ‘star’ of the meal was the Blue Cheese – magnificent! See those in photos below. You can begin to imagine the flavor!

If you happen to find yourself in Paris someday and you are hungry, eat here! So wonderfully concocted, yet so easy on the pocketbook by Parisian standards.

Copyright 2020 Travels with Gay Papa

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