This may be a myth or a figment of my imagination.
But consider this: A small coffee and a pain au chocolate purchased at a kiosk in a Paris gare for a couple of Euros seemed wonderful to me. The chocolate inside the flaky dough was just right and the coffee tasted vaguely of cinnamon. You can recreate these goodies at home: Buy cinnamon coffee and practice your pain au chocolate. It will be fun!
The croque madame I'd ordered the night before was heavenly. The waiter was a bit snooty, but we figured he was acting out a role for the crazy Americans who ordered what a friend calls the "French equivalent of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich" at a neighborhood bistro.
(Really, we had no bad meals. It's part hunger, part being in a country where food is expected to be good.)
A word on waiters: We've found them to be mostly pleasant, including one who cobbled together a Salade Niçoise for us at closing time on a holiday. We've eaten at cafés across the Left Bank and encountered kindness everywhere. A young woman at Café Campo on Rue de l'Hopital in the 13th struggled to translate an unfamiliar dish for us. A young waiter in the 7th was charming as he took our orders. Our next stay will be within feet of his café and we hope to find the same friendly service next time we eat there.
Next trip: We brave the Right Bank.