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Jul 16, 2007 09:24 PM

Solo dining in Paris

As part of a longer trip, I'll be in Paris for 10 days. Most of the time there I'll be alone. I've been to Paris before, but with others. Any tips for dining solo in Paris? Places to go? I'm in my mid-forties, adventurous, and staying in the Marais.

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  1. I've been to Paris many times by myself, and a few times with companions. I can't think of anywhere I wouldn't dine alone. I don't find the stigma of "a woman dining alone" anywhere in France as I often do in the US.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Totally agree with Chef June. Maybe, you want to rule out places that are too sad --like l'Ambroisie -- , but that mostly depends on your mood.

      Unless the "mid-forties, adventurous, staying in le Marais" indication actually means that you are looking for a place to meet people? If so, well, most coffess open in August will do the trick and... well email me directly if that's what it is about, I can't write everything on public forums! ;-)

      1. re: ChefJune

        I completly agree with Chef June. I wish I could remember some of the names of the wonderful bistros and restaurants I dined in alone in Paris when I traveled there for about 8 days. But I never once felt like people were staring at me or not giving me good service because I was alone. Quite the contrary....most of the male waiters were more then attentive :)

        I think because there is such an emphasis on people watching and enjoying your surrondings Paris is made for the single diner. Any of the sidewalk cafes or bistros with lots of windows did just fine by me.

        The only thing I was aware of was not to travel alone in unpopulated areas or what my guidebook called the sketchy part of town. But that's true for any city in the world.

        The Parisians will treat you like a queen when you are there!

        1. re: Elyssa

          I agree with Elyssa about the male waiters!

          I've been to Paris twice by myself and had no problems eating alone in bistros and cafes. In fact, the majority of the time, the people sitting next to me started up conversations with me. Girls my age, older couples, guys my age, older men, older women, etc. More often than that, they'd invite me to dine with them.

      2. Thanks for the input thus far. I have also traveled alone quite extensively and don't feel it is a stigma (but instead pretty freeing). Souphie was right in that I was looking more for places to meet people....

        11 Replies
        1. re: suzeeq

          I don't know if it is still true, but I read a few years ago, that Paris has more people living alone than anywhere else in the world. I have been going to Paris, yearly for about 15 years and most of the time on my own. The way to meet people in Paris is to talk to them. I have had many lovely experiences with people I met at restaurants. Also, there is that Sunday dinner at Jim ---? his name escapes me. It sounds like a terrific experience. There is a place called the Moose Bar (Canadian) which is alot of fun. I have had some wonderful evenings or days at Jacques Melac's Wine Bar--very fun.

          Pinxo is good when you are alone. There is a counter where you can sit and watch the chefs cook and chat with them and any other patrons at the counter.

          L'Cave au Moelle is always busy and it has communal tables and lovely food. You go down into the cellar to chose your wine. Many lively evenings have been passed there.

          Go have fun--Paris is often better alone.

          I'll look up that Sunday Dinner info and post it later if no one else does.

          1. re: faijay

            Thanks, faijay, great info, which I will definitely put to good use. I especially like the idea of the two bars...always a good time! The Sunday dinners are with Jim Haynes, I believe.

            1. re: suzeeq

              Also le Marais where you stay is a great place to meet people, if you want to meet gay persons. In the square between rue de Rivoli, rue de Bretagne, rue Beaubourg and rue vieille du temple is the specifically gay neighborhood of Paris. Contacts tend to be easy. Also a great place for shopping and dining.

              In summer, next to Science Po or the Sorbonne, there are students of all ages preparing the september exams. People are also often alone and relaxed, the Parisian who are here in August ususally had professional reasons to stay in Paris.

              Not sure also what your language abilities are, If you want to meet english-speaking persons, there are a number of american bars and english pubs, often opened during the summer.

            2. re: faijay

              Faijay - I've googled extgensively - cannot find L'Cave au Moelle - do you happen to have a website? Any help is appreciated - thanks :)

              1. re: faijay

                Faijay - I just found it - LA CAVE DE L'OS A MOELLE in the 15th - does that sound right?

                1. re: jdubwhit

                  yes (if I may respond for him/her)

              2. re: suzeeq

                So has anyone been to the Jim Haynes dinner party? I am going to Paris in 3 weeks alone and am so intrigued by this dinner party.....but skeptical about going alone.
                I'm mid-40's, speak french and live adventures. Advice?

                1. re: jdubwhit

                  I have been to his parties twice (once was on this last New Year's Eve). I think its a great idea for a single person, and speaking French is not necessary. (Everyone converses in English; that's one of the "rules".) In fact, on New Year's Eve I was sort-of alone: DH was sidelined with a major stomach problem that evening, and my 19 year old son accompanied me...and then ditched me as soon as we got to the party to hang out with the musicians.....I had no problem meeting people and even got an invitation for a place to stay the next time I'm in Paris!

                  One warning however: the food is NOT the reason to go. The company, absolutely. When we ate at Jim's house, he prepared a vegetable curry. I have to admit that it was better than the Indian restaurants in Paris we've eaten at, but that may be damning with faint praise. For NYE the party was in a bar, and the food was stuff that is easily transportable and could be served cold: salads, bread, sliced ham, etc. Certainly edible but again, not the reason to go......

                  Go and enjoy!! You'll fit right in: most of the guests are in your age group (or older), and you won't be the only one who came alone. Also, you'll meet interesting people from literally all over the world. DH and I have decided that when we finally retire we are going to host Sunday night suppers like Jim does.....

                  1. re: janetofreno

                    here's the website - - click on "Sunday dinner parties". Which is pretty much what it is - a dinner party at this guy's house.

                2. Should you desire a meal of the "high-end" variety... the difinitive spot in Paris (and the few other cities he has opened this concept) is L'Atelier by the world renowned chef Joel Robuchon. Just look at his web site and enjoy. After looking at the amazing dishes and realizing that you dine at a counter... how can you pass up this opportunity. Its the perfect spot for haut cuisine for the solo diner in Paris. If you're into food I predict you'll go more than once. Oh yeah, reservations are very tough.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: WineTravel

                    I was just in Paris in April on a solo adventure. I was there for the weekend and had no problems dining alone. I had dinner at Liza in the 1st arr., preceded by a glass of wine at Willy's Wine Bar. A lot of the staff there is from the UK and they're super helpful if you need advice on wine. I had my 2nd dinner at Le Comptoir in St. Germaine/6th arr. In general you need reservations at least two months in advance there, UNLESS you go on Sunday. Dining alone, I was bumped to the top of the list for some reason and scored a table outside. The Nicoise salad and rack of lamb were among the most simple, elegant and perfectly executed I've ever had. My last night in Paris, I had dinner at l'atelier du Joel Robuchon. Do not miss this and treat yourself to a splurge. They only take reservations for their first seating, then they take names for their waitlist. I arrived at 7, put my name on the list, and was told to come back at 10:15. (I went for a walk (there is not much AT ALL for blocks) but if you go far enough on Boulevard Saint Germaine heading east (like 20 minutes on foot), you'll eventually come across lots of shops that are open late.) I returned at 9:45pm and was seated right away. I got the tasting menu and paired my own wine from the glass pour offers. Absolutely amazing in terms of creativity, uniqueness, presentation, flavor and texture. Expensive, but worth every penny. Have a blast!

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