My French is also good enough to get by, and that has always been good enough for me :) Once things gets so far into a conversation, the people I’ve been talking to have always pretty much switched over to English. (I’m guessing you’re Flemmish ? How do you feel about speaking English ? It seems, from your posts, you’re at a really good level). Plus, with the Irish / Scottish / Canadian pubs, a lot of the clientele (and most of the barstaff) would be anglophone…which makes it easier (for me, at least) to strike up a conversation…I’ve heard of Coolin’s alright, I think it’s maybe the same one Alizee is talking about ? I’ve never been to it though – there are others I know better, in different parts of town, if you’re interested ?
I’ve always travelled solo to Paris, and I’ve never had any trouble going to the pub or dining solo. (For eating, The Great Canadian is my current favourite). Having said that, pretty much any cafe in the city will serve you up a great dinner….though the cafes right beside the ‘big’ tourist spots will be more expensive.
In Montmartre…Place du Tertre is surrounded by cafes, it looks pretty but they’d all be really expensive, I’m sure…there’s also Les Deux Moulins, where Amelie Poulain worked, on Rue Lepic. (It’s about 15 seconds away from the Moulin Rouge). If you’re going to be in town for Bastille Day, I’ve heard the steps of Sacre Coeur are a great spot when the fireworks go off ?
Good guess, I am Flemmish :) English is not really a problem (I work for the European HQ of a multinational and with all the different nationalities in the company it’s corporate policy to have email traffic and meetings in English, so…) but I can go to Irish pubs here too, I was looking for more ‘only in Paris’ things to do. However I haven’t been to a Canadian pub yet, I might check that one out (never had Canadian food or beer either).
I’ll probably go around the 21st of July (Belgian holiday), too late for Bastille day I’m afraid.