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May 7, 2007 10:34 AM

Best way to make a reservation?!

We will be in Paris and the Riviera at the end of May/beginning of June. While I am still diligently working on my restaurant list, I'm starting to fear that my time is running out to get reservations!

Our hotel has not been responsive (yet) to my request for assistance. So...assuming we don't have help, how do you suggest we go about making our reservations (phone, email?)? I speak minimal French, but my comprehension (and writing, if I have to) is good.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thank you in advance...

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  1. It depends on what type of restaurant. I think telephone is the most efficient. In Paris, most restaurant will have someone who speak some English. In France, most star restaurants will have someone who speak English handling reservations. Of course many small restaurants do not have websites, therefore, telephone is your only option.
    Since you comprehend and can write some French, you will be able to negotiate a reservation even if they only speak French.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      I second the idea of just phoning the restos. Try not to do it during peak hours, but let's say at around 2:30 to 3 PM or around 7 PM (Paris time that is).
      Some places may ask you for a phone number in Paris (just give the one of your hotel) and that you reconfirm the reservation a day ahead or so.
      Also, make sure you give them a call, in case you should need to cancel a reservation.

      1. re: Dodo

        Thank you both so much for the advice! I was worried, however, that phoning would be the popular suggestion ;)

        I will do my best, though! Thanks again...

    2. Call...first say "Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?". They will say yes or "non".

      1. I've used this site with no problem-note that you will usually still need to confirm once you're in Paris:

        12 Replies
        1. re: David W

          Thank you again for the wonderful added comments.

          And David W, what an AMAZING website - thank you!! I can't believe this hasn't come up before on this board... I've only perused it for about 2 minutes, but at least I know how I will be spending my time over the course of the next week!

          Merci beaucup!

          1. re: David W

            that's quite an interesting list.... and several of my favorite places are nowhere to be found. to boot, Chez Jenny, the much maligned by chowhounds, IS on their list.

            Who is behind it? Inquiring minds want to know!

            1. re: ChefJune

              Yes, I'll admit that I was quite disappointed that some of my top picks (so far) weren't on the list... But the format is quite helpful, especially being an American :) Maybe that's why some of our top picks aren't on it?!

              I've never fretted quite so much about dinner reservations - anywhere! I have been "researching" this board for a LONG time now, and I feel like I've made no progress... In fact, I've "narrowed" it down to approximately 40 places - all of which I'd LOVE to try - and I feel crazed by my indecision! I haven't made ANY reservations yet, either, to boot! We have 5 dinners and about the same amount of lunches (in Paris) and about 5-6 of each for Nice and surrounding areas. I wish someone would just TELL me where to go for each meal!

              Any takers?! :)

              Seriously, though, everyone's feedback has been invaluable and has provided me many hours of entertainment!

              1. re: DKS1

                Since you've done so much research, my advice is just pick a few places, make reservations and enjoy yourself. Too much research can sometimes lead to too high of expectation that no restaurant can fulfill. Pick a variety of restaurants...tradtional bistro, modern chef owned bistro, contemporary Paris cooking such as Atelier de Rebuchon or Gaya or Senderen; perhaps a high end restaurant such as Taillevent or Le Meurice or Pierre Gagnaire if you are interested in what is very current. They all serve exceptional food with good service and don't worry about if what you've selected are the very very best.

                1. re: DKS1

                  In Nice I had an amazing clam linguine at the Castel restaurant on the beach in Old Nice. Drinks at Negresco with some foie gras were also a fun experience. I had a delicious roast rabbit at Safari on Cours Saleya. We stayed at Hotel Perouse in Nice and it was wonderful.
                  In Paris. I had a amazing eggs benedict at Angelina's. Delicious soffle at Restaurant Le Souffle..all in the 1st.

                2. re: ChefJune

                  I don't know who is behind the site-just like opentable, not all restaurants listed are places I would go, and not all I wish were there are on it...but for the one that you want, it saves a phone call.

                    1. re: David W

                      Another reservation question. The website for Violon d'Ingres states they only accept fax or phone reservation requests. I faxed them 2 weeks ago and have not received either a fax or email confirmation. This is for Sept. Can I expect a confirmation or is it not done? Or should I follow up?

                      1. re: parisbully

                        I reserved at Violon by email in December no problems. However, I sent a request for a June reservation last week by email and have no response either.

                        1. re: f2dat06

                          I faxed, emailed 3x to Violon/Fables and no reply. I am not sure why, but your best bet is just to call.

                          We finally did that and it's the easiest way to make a reservation. Honest!

                          1. re: notmartha

                            Do they speak English. We ate there two years ago and the waiter and Mr. Constant did. But wondering if the reservation taker spoke English. My French is just the basic Bonjour and Merci, etc.

                            1. re: parisbully

                              My husband made the reservation at Fables, not Violon (owned by same couple), but he spoke English. Just start with the standard 'parle vous anglais' and proceed in English when he replies with oui.

                              We were worried about the language barrier too, but turned out not to be a problem.

                3. I have been obsessed with my restaurant plans for our trip in July.

                  I was able to email my list to the hotel concierge, and they very graciously agreed to make the reservations for me. They said it was still too early to book, but they put it on their calender.

                  I also found that a Google search of the restaurants some times provided an email address that I hadn't previously found. I was then able to email a few of the restaurants directly.

                  Good luck!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: goldenmama

                    Thank you! I will indeed try to do that as well... Luckily, though, I just heard back from our hotel and it seems like they will be willing to help us out. Now it's just a matter of narrowing down the list to give them. I could only wish that THIS was always the reason for my stress!!