I will give a hearty “amen” to arianej’s response…especially Rick Steves’ tour book. (I don’t even look at other tour books anymore.) He delivers extremely solid info and money-saving pointers.
I will add a few additional tidbits from my trip since I was in Paris when this thread was originally written. I, too, was at Cafe du Marche on Rue Cler (thanks, Rick Steves) and we had a wonderful experience. My friends raved about their meal of duck. I had roasted chicken with hearty mashed potatoes. Our waiter was extremely helpful. He even joked around with us when we stated that one person in our party would have another Heineken for dessert. His response, “…with chocolate sauce?” I did have the pear tarte for dessert which was EXCELLENT!
Another bistro that I recommend is Chez Denise in the Les Halles area. I first saw this bistro on Anthony Bourdaine’s show, “No Reservations”. Get reservations because it is worth it! The meal was fantastic and the restaurant atmosphere is authentically charming. I tried escargots for the first time which were extremely good. A friend and I split the 1-kg order of Cote de Boeuf which was wonderful…complete with marrow bones. My friend made the statement that he would eat at Chez Denise three times on his next trip. I spent about 55-Euro for appetizer, entree, wine, and the rum cake.
Oh, the bread! This cannot be emphasized enough. France has fabulous bread which I find to be the most difficult thing to leave behind.