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Paris Without a Budget

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Me and my girlfriend will be going to Paris France for the first time in our lives this coming august and being that Paris is renowned for it's culinary achievement I really want to splurge on as fine a dinner as Paris has to offer at least once in my stay there.

The style of cuisine doesn't particularly matter to me so I'm open to any suggestions that can be offered.

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  1. There is no one best restaurant in Paris. My preference for contemporary food are Pierre Gagnaire and Arpege; for more traditional: L'Ambrosie and Alain Ducasse.

    1. Your problem will be to find a top table that is open in August. Much of Paris closes down for "Les Vacances" in August.

      Despite its loss of a star, I still vote for Taillevent for traditional food... but they're closed for almost the whole month.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Yes, I'm still very fond of Taillevent. It was a fantastic experience when I went last November. That much being said, I have heard very good things about Le Grand Vefour.

        1. re: LMGM

          I've heard those, as well. And being a history nut... it IS the oldest restaurant in Paris!

      2. I too would agree with Taillevent! However, why did you choose coming to Paris in August? It's kind of one of the worst times to come if you want to experience Paris at it's best.

        1. I lived in Paris for a year and went to all the top-rated restaurants. The most memorable meal I had was the tasting menu at Goumard-Prunier. At the time I had Patricia Wells' guide to eating in Paris. I suppose now it is rather outdated, but it might still be worth it to take a look at it.

          1. It is going to be quite simple. As others have said lots of Paris restaurants are closed in August (as are many local shops - butchers, bakers, real estate agents, dry cleaners etc). So you simply need to identify the few that are open and see if you can get in.

            My suggestion is to look at those in hotels - Le Cinq (Four Seasons). Alain Ducasse (Plaza Athenee) , Le Atelier Robochon (Hotel Pont Royal) and others. As they are part of big international hotels there is more chance they will stay open for August (but it is not guaranteed)

            Le Grand Vefour, Arpege, Taillivent, Gagnaire, L'Ambroise etc are al stand alone and are guaranteed to be closed.

            I suspect many people don't really appreciate what this actually means. Paris empties as those that can, head away for a month by the sea or in the country, thus most businesses that rely on local custom simply close as there are no customers to serve. Many many restaurants, bars and cafes simply shut down. Thus it is wise to double check all plans. The good news is there is a lot less traffic - the bad news is they do lots of road works as the streets are quite. However, not certain I would say it is a bad time to come to Paris - it is simply different.

            1. The restaurant at the Hotel Bristol is a favorite, and, as a hotel restaurant, is likely not to be closed. Enjoy wherever you go!

              1. Les Ambassadors at the Hotel Crillon wavers between two and three stars and features amazing food and elegance. With any top rated Paris restaurant, be prepared for a dinner tab that looks like college tuition. While visiting Paris in August has many disadvantages, hopefully the rioters will take the month off as well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leper

                  Visiting Paris for the very first time in the month of August is a plan you should probably rethink. Coming in August might be okay if you come to Paris regularly and don't have a list of "must do's" but otherwise, July and especially August is not the time to come, especially if you have a grand meal in mind. The odd restaurant that is open will be catering to foreign tourists exclusively, as the French really do go on vacation at the same time, so keep in mind that the ambience in the dining room will reflect that.

                  A much better time to come is early autumn if you can possibly manage it. Late September/early October is ideal. As for the Parisian "rioters", the famous Mark Twain quote "reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated" is instructive here...