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Going to Paris for my 1st time in May - What do you think of my "food itinerary"?

Hi CHers:

After studying the France Boards for a couple of months now, I think I'm close to finalizing my "food itinerary." I'm going to Paris on May 9th for 1 week with my husband. It's a special trip b/c it will be our second honeymoon and I will be celebrating my birthday. I don't have reservations for all places just yet. I have a friend who lives in Paris who will be making them for me. I do have my dinner reservation at Taillevent all set. I emailed them in early March and was told that the only date availabe for dinner in the month of May was May 15. What luck since May 15 is our last night in Paris!

My food itinerary:

10/05/07 - Thursday
Lunch @ Chez Denise
Dinner @ Aux Lyonnais

11/05/07 - Friday
Dinner @ Au Fil de Saisons

12/05/07 - Saturday
Dinner at Le Souk
(I would like to try Chez Omar, but I they don't take reservations.)

13/05/07 - Sunday
Dinner @ Mon Vieil Ami

14/05/07 - Monday
Dinner @ Georges at The Pompidou
(I only want to eat at Georges if we can get a table by the window.)

15/05/07 - Tuesday
Dinner @ Taillevent
(Our last night in Paris and our big splurge!)

Back-up places in case I can't get dinner reservations at the places above. Also, places to consider for lunch.
- L'as Du Falafel
- Chez Omar
- Les Papilles
- Le Carre des Feuillants
- Le Cafe Constant
- Le Petite Pontoise

List of other "must try" places for snacks.
- Pierre Hermes for chocolates, pastries and croissants
- Lauduree for macarons
- Poilane for breads
- Berthillion for ice cream
- Crepes from street vendors
- Debauve and Gallais for caramels
- Various Street Markets, like Bastille Market and the Organic Market

I kept lunch open because I'm not sure what time we will be eating b/c I know we will be so busy visiting museums, shopping and such. Also, I think my husband and I can only handle one big meal a day.

One question - Do you think I will be missing out if I scheduled a tour of Versailles on Saturday morning? I was thinking that Sat. would be better over Sunday since there is the big Bastille Market on Sundays. I wanted to visit the market and buy fresh bread, pate, fruit, etc. for a Sunday picnic with my husband. Should I stick to Sat. morning or should I schedule it during the week?

Please let me know if I am missing anything or should change something. Thank you in advance.

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  1. If I'm going to Versailles / Fontainebleau, I always choose a Sunday. There's so little open in Paris on Sundays, that for me, that's the perfect choice. and fwiw, I like Fontainebleau much more than Versailles, altho both are must-sees at least once.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Thanks for your advice, Chef June. I had originally chosen Sunday as the day to go to Versailles, but then I would miss the famous farmer's markets in Paris. Is there one during the week or Sat. that you know about and would recommend going to?

      1. re: chamorrofoodie

        There are markets every day in one part of Paris or another. Every day on the rue Mouffetard, Friday, Sat and Sun on the Boulevard Raspail, but lots more, too. I'm sure other hounds will come through here with market info.

        1. re: chamorrofoodie

          I would stick with the plan of going to the Bastille market on Sunday. It is one of the bigger markets and better because of that. After the market find a nice Bistrot and enjoy a long lunch, before meandering back to your hotel. The shops in the Marais are open on Sunday and it is nice to stroll around (and next to the market - cut through Place de Voges").

          Georges has one of the oddest table allocation systems in the world. I took business colleagues there for dinner and I was not allowed to be seated until my whole party arrived. The bette tables are allocated first and thus we had a pretty average one as a result of waiting. The staff a beautiful and they know it. I believe you go to Georges to look at them rather than for them to serve you.
          Food is OK - all restaurants owned by the Costes Bros do things to a reasonable standard. However, it is international food not classic or even modern french fare (Caeser salad etc).

          1. re: PhilD

            Perhaps I should reconsider eating at Georges on Monday night. I was told it's a nice place to eat b/c of the views, but I would rather have good food over a good view. And I am not into the whole "scene" thing either. I get enough of that in NYC. Anyone have a restaurant recommendation for Monday night or should I just pick a place from my back-up list?

      2. The Bastille Market is great, get there early before it fills up with lookers. We went around 7:30 and it was perfect, just early locals buying stuff. They have great gifts to bring home, if you do that sort of thing: wonderful scarves, flavored salts, small bags of spices, lots of things for under 5 euros. Dinner: I have been to Paris a dozen times and always find new places. The last place was in the 7th, on Blvd. de La Tour Maubourg at Rue de L'universite, name is Le Chamarre. We loved it, great food, good service, wonderful single malt whiskey that you can't buy anywhere for a pre meal libation. For chocolate, if you are in the 7th, don't miss La Maison du Chocolate.

        2 Replies
        1. re: julieg

          I have heard so much about the Bastlle market & the Raspail, where exactly are they located??

          1. re: kittykatkid

            the Bastille market is on .

            The Bastille market is on Bd Richard Lenoir, starting on Pl. de la Bastille to r. Saint Sabin. The Raspail market is on Bd Raspail, between r. du Cherche Midi and r. de Rennes.

            3

        2. I forgot to say forget Versailles. I have been there twice and unless the gardens are in bloom it is over-hyped. But that's just me, probably. Too many people, it is a cattle call and it takes a whole day. There are so many other things to see in Paris central. Check out the small museums that are usually housed in neighborhoods. Like the Marmatton Museum. If you want a day trip out of the city, I would recommend Chartes. The cathedral is awesome and so is the town. An hour away on the train.

          4 Replies
          1. re: julieg

            Thanks for your comments, julieg. But I think I will still go to Versailles, just so I can say that I've been. I'm planning on going with a tour company and only going for a 1/2 day tour.

            1. re: chamorrofoodie

              Cham: I have taken the tour from that gathering spot on the rue Royale, and it's a very good tour. Be sure, as long as you're going, to also see Marie Antoinette's apartments, Le Petit Trianon, as they should be open from May through November. They are recently reopened after a very long time closed. I am looking forward to seeing them in November!

              1. re: ChefJune

                I'd recommend renting a bike & seeing her cottage and (to keep this chowish), buy some fresh squeezed orange juice from the cart. Then keep biking around the Grand Canal. Bring a little picnic in a backpack & then have lunch on the grounds!

              2. re: chamorrofoodie

                you can do both in one day, i did it last time we went to paris and i am planning to do it now in april with my wife, trains departs from gare montparnasse to chartres i believe since 7:00 am and you can be there in 1 hour, tour the beautiful and definitely worthy cathedral and then go back to versailles by noon and spend the rest of the day there, after that, you can go back in time to gare montparnasse and round the day at la cagouille wich is not far from there ( actually thats my plan jiji) greetings.

            2. how about L'Arpege or L'Astrance instead of Taillevent? unless you want to experience the space and history as much as the food (btw, they just lost a michelin star - demoted to 2).

              L'Epi Dupin bistro

              La Flute Gana boulangerie for croissants (esp. almond)

              Angelina for hot chocolate - thickest, darkest, richest you'll ever have. whipped cream a must

              Mariage Freres for tea

              grocery store - la Grande Epicerie

              Lavinia for wine

              have fun!

              3 Replies
              1. re: nuxvomica

                <(btw, they just lost a michelin star - demoted to 2).> Those stars are as political as they are anything else. Michelin always demotes smeone whenever they add one, because they don't "allow" more than 26 3-star restaurants in France in any given year! Taillevent is still, imo, the ultimate Paris experience. Arpege is lovely as long as you don't want to eat meat, imo.... and a WHOLE lot more expensive.. at least 400 Euros per head, last I noticed...

                1. re: nuxvomica

                  Mariage Freres is not to be missed!

                  1. re: aimeezing1

                    As Tea Salons go, I prefer La Maison de Trois Thé.

                2. If it is your first time in Paris, I would stick with Taillevent. It is a better representation of Paris fine dining than either Arpege or L'Astrance. Also eating at Chez Denise and Aux Lyonnais on the same day might be a bit much for the stomach.