five nights in paris with my thirteen year old daughter
I am going to take my daughter to Paris this January for her thirteenth birthday--a sort of daddy/daughter road trip. I will take her to the usual must see's, but I would like to take her to one dinner that she will remember forever. I was a chef for many years and worked in Europe (not France) so I take a different look at dining than most. However, this dinner is for my daughter to experience. We're staying in the 7th. From what I understand, this will require a second mortgage these days. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!
What fun! What a lucky girl! If she is accustomed to 'grown-up' dining, and dressing up for dinner, and making it the evening, then I suggest one of the following for an experience to remember:
Alaine Ducasse au Plaza-Athenee'
I took my niece to Michel Roux's le Gavrouche in London when she was four. She was the only child in the restaurant and the staff was initially horrified seeing a young child sitting to dinner, as were other early dining patrons. She loved the big girl experience seated on a velvet pillow; she even drank her milk (chateau de moo)from crystal stemware, and enjoyed a dinner of quail with lentils, a petite filet mignon with a demi glace and tourned root vegetables, and a perfectly made ice cream. I found out how much she enjoyed petit fours as she managed to cherry pick the tray and devour all her favourites.
By the time the evening was over, she had won over every French server in the room, and received very gracious "European kisses (one on each cheek)" from each of them.
If your experience with your daughter is anything like mine was with my niece you are in for an experience yourself. One that will last a lifetime. Have a wonderful time!
I'd take her to Lasserre. They have 2 stars, great service wonderful food, and the roof opens to admit the stars! I imagine she'll be dumb-struck! It's not the best dining in Paris, but one of the best overall experiences.
I'd take her to Le Pre Catalan. She will feel like a princess. Arriving there in a taxi through the woods is like approaching a special, hidden surprise. The beautiful interior is like a palace. If the weather is cold, the fireplace will be going. If the weather is warm, you can enjoy the garden. And of course, the food is stellar.
If you are looking for something less extravagant, I'd seek out a place that serves food from the French Alps (fondue and such). It's so fun to share this kind of meal. I've had this kind of cuisine when I've been in that region of France on business trips to the area around Geneva, but never in Paris and I don't know a Parisian restaurant to recommend that specializes in that kind of food. But if the idea appeals, I'm sure others on the board can make a suggestion.
I agree, Laduree is a must! and Fouquet's on the Champs Elyssee has wonderful hot chocolate, and a stellar people watching scene from the window seats!
OTOH, when I was 13, I would have appreciated any "adult" restaurant.
Also, try to find out whether the Napoleon III apartments are open in the Louvre. I'll bet she'd love to see those opulent rooms!
Take her to the one-star Les Ormes, on the rue Surcouf, in the 7eme. Had a great meal there last Saturday. It's a small, warm, and cheery place (yet with a touch of old-fashioned elegance), and the owner and his wife (très charmante) will certainly devote themselves to your daughter.
Would you consider taking your daughter to a 3star lunch experience instead?
I'm thinking that personally, as a 38yo adult, I realy enjoyed leaving Taillevent at 3:45pm (after starting lunch at 12:15) and being able to walk. A late dinner might be a bit too heavy for a youngster. Lunch tasting menus can be had for E70-140, which is much more approachable than the E250pp dinner at Alain Ducasse.