5.7 Le Bistrot Valois, 1 bis, place de Valois in the 1st (across from Le Lulli), 01,42.61.35.04, closed Sundays, was described in A Nous Paris as a cantine for the Ministry of Culture 50 feet away, and Backstory: an old friend of mine works there and when hired as the third person in the Hollande government was given a choice of two offices - a big, huge suite facing the Rue de Valois or a teeny, tiny telephone box facing the Gardens of the Palais Royal - guess what? Anyway, a cantine for the artsy bunch sounded good for me and my culturati friend who sings operas you've never heard of, restores houses you cannot afford and teaches MIT and Harvard graduate students stuff too esoteric to be mentioned in polite society.
I got there first and from my welcome you'd have thought I was the Minister of Culture (it's a she by the way); hearty hellos and welcomes and "let's move the table so you have more room, M. Talbott." My friend, in training for his trip to India next week, ordered two entrees, the first smashed avocados with terrific ecrevisses and I the classic gratinated onion soup that I thought used onions that were too sweet when cooked and skimped on the melted cheese. The bread (Poliane supposedly, but we know what that means) both in the soup and on the table looked terrific but was not up to what our fellow Cantabrigian, Appolonia, can turn out.
The polymath's salad with dried tomatoes arrived and he was most happy; I, having asked "Is the liver thick?" was told "No," "Thin?", "No", "So between?" "Yes." OK. And it was, but with a great burnt exterior and pink interior that made the day.
Having informed me that this was his breakfast, my pal needed some fruit, so he ordered a pear tart that we both thought was most excellent.
With one small bottled water (I told you, he's in training for India), the equivalent of a bottle of wine and two coffees, our bill was 84.15 E.
Go? Now when I'm asked where to go after or between visiting the Louvre, I've got two places - this and Le Lulli (and maybe Balm next door which looks cool.)