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Design the Ultimate Parisian Culinary Week (subtitle: Help a Desperate Husband)

i am 10 minutes into planning a week of dining in paris with my wife starting new year's day. she's under the impression i've been planning it for weeks. i know, i know, i should have started sooner.

but with the contrition out on the table, we arrive from munich early monday 1/1, and fly out of cdg mid-day saturday 1/6. we are staying in the 8th.

the challenge (ok, let's call it what it is - me begging for help): design the perfect parisian dining week.

lunch and dinner for monday-friday - and breakfasts too if that makes it more fun. i'm looking at this as kind of a 'what if this were your last week alive' deal: what would those places be?

we don't mind expensive or inexpensive, as long as it's great, isn't touristy, and is memorable. in other words, the 'wow' places. and we don't need to spend the whole time in starred locales - great food and character trumps stars in my book. my french is ok at best but i can survive. (my wife's cute so maybe that will help us not be abused for non-fluency?)

i've gathered the names that seem to pop up repeatedly from most of the paris threads here: taillevent, hiramatsu, chez l'ami jean, les bouquinistes, willy's wine bar, etc - but the list is 50 names long!

so what are the some of your collective top 10 places to fill these 5 lunches and 5 dinners with?

any help appreciated. not sure what incentive i can offer aside from the bemusement of saving my a**, but open to suggestion...

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  1. I'm going for a long weekend in February. This is just three days, and it includes the problematic Sunday, but here's our plan.

    Saturday (arrive 0700 and can't check in until 1200 - ugh)
    Lunch - Fish La Boisonnerie
    Dinner - Au Fil de Saisons

    Lunch - Le Soleil (at the Flea Market)
    Dinner - Haven't decided. Considering Le Petite Pontoise, Parc aux Cerfs, Les Philosophes

    Lunch - Taillevent (already reserved!)
    Dinner - Le Comptoir

    If we were staying longer, or not over a weekend, other places we would be considering would include Dominique Bouchet, Table de Joel Robuchon, Au Lyonnais, L'Oulette

    1. I went to Paris for a week earlier this year, and below is a blog post I wrote up on where we ate:


      None were those big name places like Taillevent etc. Rather, they were more neighbourhood-y restaurants, some of which I'd gone to multiple times when I used to live there, some newer recommendations. None over 50 euros/person, including wine. Reservations recommended for all places - I usually called the day of or day before, and was fine. I'm fluent in French, but my friend wasn't, and even when I didn't translate for her (when talking to waiters, etc), she was fine. Every meal was great. I would highly recommend everywhere we ate.

      Unfortunately, no breakfast places, because I don't eat breakfast (I know! Bad!). If anything, we bought baguettes from the bakery across the street, brought them back to the apartment we'd rented, and snacked on them. Hrm, looking back on my post, apparently no lunch places are listed (save a crepe place), so I don't know what we did for lunch. I know we ate lunch though. Ah, looking back in my notes - we had lunch at Le Sancerre and le Nemrod.

      Enjoy! You'll have fun! And make sure to go to Berthillon!

      1. -- L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon for lunch...one of the most memorable meals of our trip and it's easier to get in at lunch (prices are the same either way). Get the tasting menu then sit back and relax as they serve you 9 courses of amazing food.

        -- Go to Laduree either for lunch or afternoon tea. Gorgeous setting and your wife will think you're amazing for thinking of it. (I'm a woman, so I should know!) :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: wyf4lyf

          GO to Laduree! Yes, yes, yes, and get hot chocolate. Amazing stuff.

        2. Breakfasts are not a big deal for Parisians so it's difficult to find a big meal except at some of the grander hotels. My favorite (once a trip) is a hot chocolate and croissant at Les Deux Magots. It's fun just to watch the other munchers and enjoy the delicious, thick hot chocolate.

          1. I've mentioned it elsewhere on these boards, but I love to breakfast at Cafe Mouffetard in the 5th (on the rue Mouffetard). They make their own croissants and brioche, and both are extraordinary.

            I'm just guessing that you will have a hard time trying to reserve dinner at a 3-star (or even 2's) at this late date, but I'd try, anyway. Altho lunch will be an easier res to obtain, and not as pricy for the same great food.

            In the 8th, you won't want to miss a visit to Fauchon, the legendary gourmet shop, or Maison du Chocolat for their outrageous macarons au chocolat and truffles.

            1. hey, thx for all the info, guys. i am posting from our cozy hotel in vienna, and asa i get my international sim card i will make inroads on several of these for next week. i really appreciate the responses and help. happy holidays to all!

              1. I don't think anyone mentioned this, but a stroll through the Galeries Lafayette food halls is lots of fun. It's much more enjoyable to me now than Fauchon which has changed greatly over the years. And if you want to take home some very good Herbes de Provence, it's very cheap at any of the Monoprix shops.

                1. I was in Paris recently and four of my best meals were at:

                  Ze Kitchen Galerie
                  Chez Denise
                  Chez l'Ami Jean
                  L'Atelier JR

                  1. No-one has mentioned the roast chicken at l'Ami Louis. So I'll throw in a quick cheer for a very fun and funky spot, even if it's inclined to be a bit touristy (ever since Johnny Apple threw his 70th birthday bash there, and it was written up in the New Yorker).

                    Bon chance!

                    - Sean

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sean Dell

                      Yes - I was going to mention it if no one else did - but I'll second Sean Dell's recommendation - the terrine de foie gras is wonderful - we managed to get through the three slabs, helped by a half bottle of Sauterne, and still had main courses - I remember the lamb chops being wonderful, and of course, the Pommes Anna - which I think are called Pommes L'Ami Louis there. See if your hotel can get you a reservation - if not, we showed up anyway on a Sunday night at this exact time of year and managed to get a table (though the wait went from 15 minutes to 45 when Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon came in looking for a table just after us - we all went to wait at a very divey Moroccan bar around the corner until our tables were ready). But - do have the cab wait until you are assured of a table - not an easy neighborhood in which to find one. I also second/whatever the Laduree recommendation. Although it has been years, we've enjoyed dinner at Le Vieux Bistro, near Notre Dame - wonderful Tartin Tatin and I can still see the smile on my husband's face when the huge bowl of creme fraiche arrived with it. Enjoy!

                    2. I am in Paris right now.

                      If you can get a reservation at Taillevant for lunch, do so. It'll be well worth it! It's worth trying to get into a 3 star. There are always cancellations.

                      Also, an option for breakfast would be Laudree -- the location in the 7th is a lot quieter than the one on Royale. My personal choice for the best tarte citrons in the city also.

                      A great value and most delicious down home italian can be had at Chez Enzo on Rue Dragon in the 7th (just below St Germain du Pres)

                      And then lastly, Lavinia (near LaFayette) wine store. You can take a bottle(s) from the retail store and eat upstairs -- order the meat & cheese platter and enjoy.

                      If you're looking for another breakfast option, and your wife has a sweet tooth, Angelina's opens at 8:30 and does a classic chocolat chaud. Don't go if you can't go early though, it's a bit of scene later in the day.

                      Wepler -- great place for oysters, scallops and Champers.

                      1. I loved jacinthe's blog! I also second Le Gamin. Great canard with honey sauce. And also one of the first places I had eaten. I recommend the Michelin Guide and I also recommend the blog The Girl that ate everything, and www.parisist.com. I was disappointed with the cold and weird seating on the counter at L'Atelier Robuchon and rather recommend that eatery in the great Modern Museum Palais de Tokyo, which is open till midnight. Wonderful atmo. Alkso the one on top of the Centre Pompidou. I also like the Bistro across from Le Tour d'Argent, on the same side of the Seine and just a few houses down to the right of it when you stand in front of Le Tour..Dont go there, much too expensive and not worth it. I love Caviar Kaspia for the russian elegant atmo and the chic decor. For breakfast I like Le Pain Quotidien on the Place de St. Honore. Dont go to Willys Winebar, used to be good years ago. Go to Chez Georges on the Rue de Mail. Enjoy..Good guide books are Access Paris and Time out Paris and the Walks thru Paris. Dont forget to walk across the small bridge from the Marais, the 4th, to the Ile St. Louis. Go to the winebar at the tip of the Place near the Pont and Notre Dame, sorry forgot the name. I always just walk to all these places when I am for a wek in Paris. In the Rue des Cloitre des Notre Dame, very hidden in the middle of a tourist area, is another great typical french resto, where they serve potatoe gratin, dauphinoise, in small copper pots. Delicious..Enjoy, you are very lucky! Emily