Paris newbie needs advice for honeymoon
I have been reading many of the posts and have found them to be very helpfull. I am staying at the Marriott Champs-Elysees. I was wondering first, do most restaurants and bistros include tips and taxes on the bill or is tipping expected in addition to the cost? I have heard different answers to that question and wanted to know the real answer.
Also, I believe that I am in the "heart of Paris" but not exactly sure. Am I close to many nice restaurants including affordable bistros or am I smack dab in the middle of the most touristy area in Paris where the food is mediocre and you pay WAY too much for it? I want authentic french food. What would be some recommendations? Lastly, what is one thing that I just cannot miss on my trip? Thank you for any help I receive.
Please think about staying in another location as you are not going to be in the heart of romantic Paris. The 6th would be wonderful, maybe in a Relais on rue Christine where you would find a million great restaurants just steps away from your hotel.
The tips are already included in the bill, and you do not need to add to that amount unless you want to say an extra thank you.
I'd recommend Christian constant's place- Cafe Constant- this is near his Michelin-star resto (sorry don't have an address but i can get it for you). Great affordable food and if you hang around long enough he'll come and have his meal there- we met and smoked a cigar, had wine and he signed a book for my husband. we had TOO much fun - one thing I really noticed is that the chef's have a *you're my guest* vibe, as opposed to the celebrity chef *you're lucky to be in my presence* vibe. oh oh- I just remembered another place, Bistro Breteuil..you gotta try that- awesome prix fix.
In France, and everywhere else in Europe I have been, the price printed on the menu is the price you pay and includes tax and service. Leave more if you like but not required.
The Champs Elysses area (1st & 8th Arr.) is in fact the home of some of the most elegant restaurants in Paris (Guy Savoy, Taillevent, Lasserre, Ledoyen, and the list goes on). These are also quite expensive but offer an unparalled dining experience.
I agree that the scenery in the 4th, 5th and 6th is more of what is typically envisioned when one thinks of Paris and I would change to a hotel in one of those areas.
My recommendation is to get a Michelin Red Guide and use it to choose your restaurants. It has entries for bistros up to the best of restaurants. It is very reliable in my opinion.
What is not to be missed: Eat at at least one place in the Red Guide that has at least one star beside its name (actually printed as something that looks like an asterisk in the Guide). Eating at a Michelin star restaurant is a revelation in dining.
I appreciate the advice on getting a new hotel however, the room is free to me and will certainly be staying there. It is not even an option to change. As for dining advice, I really appreciate it.
Spend a lot of time in the Marais, even if it now reminds me of the way Soho in New York has changed so radically in fifteen years. You'll hear a lot of English spoken, but you'll also see real Paris, and eat and drink if lovely little places, including Mariage Freres, the tea shop mentioned earlier, and one of my fav restaurants, Ma Bourgogne, on the N/E corner of Place des Vosges.
Same goes for St Germain. Cross from the Marais via Isle St Louis (again, quite touristy, but that's largely because of Notre Dame). St Germain has everything you could ask for, from coffee in les Deux Magots, to higher end restaurants, which are listed elsewhere on the Paris board.
Paris is incredibly romantic, and manages to absorb its tourists better than any other city I know.