Dining w/pregnant wife in paris on a budget? Any recommendations?
My wife and I are heading over on the 17th for 5 days in Paris, but we're on a budget and she's 25 weeks pregnant. We've been before, but this time we're going back to hit the museums sans crowds, and enjoy our last trip alone. My french is rusty, but we'd like to hit 2-3 good restaurants while we're there, specifically some in the sub-60e/person range.
So here are my questions:
1. Have any of you been to Paris while pregnant (or with anyone who was), and are there specific restaurants you'd recommend given all the dietary restrictions?
2. Do you know if the milk that is served in most places is pasteurized milk? And secondly, is UHT milk the same thing as pasteurizing?
3. We're staying at the Vendome, so anything in the 1e (but off the Champs) or in the 2e-4e would be great and easily within distance for us.
4. We're arriving on a Thurs morning, so should we try to get our hotel to help us make reservations prior to arriving or just sort it out when we arrive?
Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
As a longtime Parisian, I had my baby in Paris and most of my friends have had their kids here too. I think we all ate and drank normally throughout our pregnancies although I did abstain from my beloved steak tartare, sushi and oysters. Unless you go to a farm, you can bet that the milk will be pasteurized or --horrors-- UHT. So, all in all, the only thing you might have to keep an eye on is the raw milk cheese. Honestly I never heard of the raw veggies/salad thing. Never. But that might date back some time when tap water was not always safe to drink. Enjoy your trip.
Thanks for the replies so far! The biggest dietary concerns were the raw vegetables/salad, which we'd never heard of until we started searching this board, so we might adopt a similar policy and just eat judiciously.
We're hoping to eat at A la Biche au Bois and possible either Chez Denise or Chez Clovis another night. Sounds like they're pretty popular so we might try and make reservations ahead of time, just in case.
Just across the Pont Nuef is a Guy Savoy place, Les Bouquinistes-especially their bargain lunch deal-3 courses for 28 Euros, including a glass of wine and espresso, and you pick from the menu. It's a beautiful, light-filled room, as a bonus.
I was pregnant in Paris with my first child, but I'm not sure what dietary restrictions you are worried about (assuming she doesn't suffer from gestational diabetes or the like). As posted already, raw milk cheese is something to avoid, and you can ask if you aren't sure. The wine will certainly be tempting, but there are plenty of French people who have given up drinking and your wife will do fine if she justs asks for mineral water (de l'eau minerale).
I travelled extensively when I was pregnant and I discovered that what pregnancy-related food restrictions are a cultural phenomenon, and not medically consistent. In France, for example, pregnant women are not supposed to eat raw vegetables. I ignored the local guidance and had plenty of salad. On the other side of the world, in Japan, I was taken to a lavish business dinner that included special sushi which I politely (and reluctantly) refused on the grounds that I was pregnant. My Japanese colleagues found this quite strange, as pregnant women in Japan don't abstain from sushi. Thus encouraged, and not wanting to insult my hosts, I indulged (and it was heavenly).
I don't know the answer to your question about UHT milk.
Near your hotel, there are loads and loads of good places. A few that come to mind:
Fauchon (deli of French delicacies + wines + bakery)
La Ferme St. Hubert (cheese)
Au Lyonnais (dining)
Unless you are planning to eat in starred restaurants or very popular places, you can make reservations upon arrival.
We visited Paris while I was pregnant, about 8 years ago. I'm not sure what dietary restrictions you're concerned about. The only food that I stayed away from was cheeses made from raw milk (lait cru) (that's unpasteurized milk). (Oh, and coffee, but I've repressed that memory.) The French were much more familiar with this "prohibition" than I was - as you can't get lait cru cheese in the U.S., it doesn't really come up as a subject. But I was obviously pregnant, and I remember several people warning me not to eat lait cru cheese (including at a street market). If you're in doubt as to whether a cheese is lait cru, just ask. (I also didn't eat sushi when I was pregnant, but that's not something I eat in Paris anyway!)
I don't think I drank milk while on vacation (though I drank plenty at home, and still do) - for me, I didn't think that depriving the fetus of milk/calcium for 9 days would effect it in any way. My kid's turned out pretty well so far! But I THINK most milk, even in France, is pasteurized. I think it's just those cheeses that are an issue.
On getting reservations ahead of time, I prefer to do so, as I'm obsessive in collecting restaurant info ahead of time and don't want to be searching for restaurants for dinner. But you can can by without doing so, easily. Or once you're there, you can ask your hotel to call for you. On Sundays, however, many restaurants are closed, so I would recommend you getting reservations in advance for Sunday to avoid having to search too much for something that's open.