The French hold their Sundays sacred: A recent government measure to keep stores open on the traditional day of rest was met with a considerable uproar from labor unions and the Catholic Church, among others, and so many restaurants are closed on Sunday that finding a good place to eat is tough. A few spots, however, are perfect for this difficult day. Le Stella has all the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, serving up terrific oysters and grilled sole, while Le Vaudeville offers sepia-toned atmosphere and solid Gallic grub, notably the grilled salt cod. It’s a trek to get to Au Boeuf Couronné—one of the last steakhouses in La Villette, the former slaughterhouse quarter—but the viande and the potato side dishes there are superb. In the Latin Quarter the market-driven menu at the bistro Christophe focuses on dishes like a trio of Basque pork and lemon mille-feuille. Fogón specializes in Spanish paella and tapas, while the tiny Au Coin des Gourmets is a beau-monde favorite for Indo-Chinese dishes like the 12-vegetable spring rolls and crêpes Saigonnaise. Astier is fun for its lively crowd, excellent wine list, legendary cheese tray, and fifties film-noir atmosphere, and at Ambassade d’Auvergne the stuffed cabbage and aligot (whipped potatoes, cheese curd, and garlic) make great cold-weather fare. As for roast chicken, the ultimate Sunday night comfort food, it’s all about Le Père Claude or La Rôtisserie du Beaujolais.
Ambassade d’Auvergne, dinner, $40; 22 Rue du Grenier-St.-Lazare; 33-1/42-72-31-22. Astier $ dinner, $40; 44 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud; 33-1/43-57-16-35. Au Boeuf Couronné, dinner, $45; 188 Av. Jean-Jaurès; 33-1/42-39-44-44. Au Coin des Gourmets $ dinner, $50; 5 Rue Dante; 33-1/43-26-12-92. Christophe $ dinner, $70; 8 Rue Descartes; 33-1/43-26-72-49. Fogón $ dinner, $60; 45 Quai des Grands-Augustins; 33-1/43-54-31-33. La Rôtisserie du Beaujolais $ dinner, $60; 19 Quai de la Tournelle; 33-1/43-54-17-47. Le Père Claude, dinner, $70; 51 Av. de la Motte-Picquet; 33-1/47-34-03-05. Le Stella, dinner, $70; 133 Av. Victor Hugo; 33-1/56-90-56-00. Le Vaudeville, dinner, $40; 29 Rue Vivienne; 33-1/40-20-04-62.
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.