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Proposal in Paris...

Hi guys,

Even though my name looks French, it is not, I'm from England! :)

Next Wednesday I will be proposing in Paris and an struggling to find somewhere to eat.

The central problem as I see it is that I cannot at this time afford the truly luxurious, Ducasse etc, etc where it will cost 200 euro a head minimum. But at the same time, however good a Bistro might be, the atmosphere seems inappropriate...

Thats the first question: Is a Bistro an inappropriate atmosphere, do you think?

The second question presents an alternative way of answering the same predicament, and it goes like this. Last year, in Montpellier, our most memorable meals were not eating La Compagnie des Comptoirs (the Bistro of the very famous Le Jardin des Sens), but was instead the family run restaurant of Castel Ronceray or perhaps Le Petit Jardin, found down the brilliantly atmospheric and old Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau. Remebering us holding hands down that street as we walked home is a lovely memory...

Thus, is bistro style the answer? Is the quaint, interesting little memorable place the answer, regardless of whether it is quiet, exclusive or private enugh?

Here were some of my ideas:

First, non traditional bistros, in the same vein as Compagnie des Comptoirs

http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/franca... or

In this list, I suppose we could consider Ducasse's bistros too.

Here is the other extreme, this unusual little place I came across looks adorable:


Or here:


The middle ground might be this restaurant, which seems to me to be great value for a Michelen Starr in a quiet, but also cosy and memorable envrionement:


Can anyone offer any advice? Obviously, it is getting close to the date, which would suggest that anywhere hard to get a table for is not a possibility... I have read so much now and I am saturated - I don't know what to do!

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  1. The final thing I forgot to mention is that my partner does prefer lighter food, as do I really, so some of the traditional heart attack inducing bistros are less appealing.. And it is why some of the seafood specialists above seem like a good option... but then there is the problem of them not being memorable enough as suggested...

    2 Replies
    1. re: PaulMichel

      One final thing I also forgot to say is that, essentially, I think I'd like some sort of haute cusine (and by that I use the term loosely, I merely mean, modern food, smaller portions and weird and wonderful layouts, rather than just pigs heads...) But probably in a memorable environment...

      1. re: PaulMichel

        The problem with Paris restaurants is that table space is usually pretty limited so in many restaurants you can be "elbow to elbow" with your neighbours. I really like both "Gaya" and " Chez l'Ami Jean" but both are quite small and usually crowded so less than ideal for a proposal.

        One idea - why not try Les Ombres (http://www.lesombres-restaurant.com/) - this restaurant sits on top of the Quai Branley museum so has a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

        I haven't been, but it looks spacious, and the food has been well reviewed (there is a menu on the site). It should give he right combination of style, space, food and a memorable view.

      1. re: intrepid

        There was a fairly long thread on the San Francisco board a little while ago about popping the question in a restaurant and there were tons of opinions on there about doing that...might want to check that out.....that being said you are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world why not spend the day putting togeher a picnic and use the cities scenery as your backdrop?? Find a park or bridge and do it there? Either way by very best to you and your partner for a wonderful evening! Good luck!

        1. re: bubbles4me

          Forecast for Wednesday is 8 degrees (46 Fahrenheit) and rain... picnic may not work.

          1. re: PhilD

            wow I didnt think about the weather, (SoCal girl so it is rarely an issue and I was just in Paris at the end of January and it was chilly but nice...short sighted on my part!). I guess chattering teeth and being pelted by rain is not too romantic. What about stringing the ring box to the inside of the umbrella....when you open it the ring drops down? Let us know how it went!

      2. We ate at Ze Kitchen Galerie about a month ago, and it probably has the sort of light food you might be looking for. It's modern and chic, too. But the tables *are* quite close together. Personally, I'd opt for the proposal to be outdoors and in private. There is a wonderful lookout up in Montmartre. It overlooks all of Paris and we even heard an accordian playing, but that was about 10 years ago. It's a fabulous site for a proposal and more memorable than a restaurant. You can go eat and celebrate afterwards! Be romantic.. let your imagination wander.

        3 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          zuriga 1, did you also eat at les bouquinestes or not? im interested to hear your opinion if you did, a while ago we all were in discussions about it..thanks

          1. re: intrepid

            You can just call me zuriga for short. :-) No, we didn't eat at Les Bouquinestes. We were just in Paris for two days, one night and the other will maybe have to wait for another visit. I only have about 20 places on my list! I wasn't bowled over by ZKG, although we had a good time. We ate in a French place closer to home here in England on Friday, and it was about as good as anything I've had in Paris in the past 10 years, although I rarely go to the best Paris has to offer. You can read about it over in UK/Ireland,

            1. re: zuriga1

              zuriga, we also ate at ZKG, we liked it, but like you was not bowled over.

        2. Lasserre, a two star, has prix-fixe lunch for 75E. Tables are widely spaced etc. Wife says this is her favorite Parisian resaurant. And please take Le Coupe Chou off your list.

          1. Laperouse has private rooms that are very romantic. http://www.restaurantlaperouse.com/

            A little over 5 years ago, I made the call to reserve for a friend who was proposing to his girlfriend on their first trip to Paris. The person who took my call and reservation request was extremely nice; the couple had a wonderful experience (and yes they became engaged there). Since then I've read about some not great experiences so I hesitated to suggest this now more than I would have 5 years ago. Perhaps people with more recent experiences can comment?

            1. Consider L'Oulette. http://www.l-oulette.com/restaurant-o... This is a great special occasion place with a price tag well below the multi-starred palaces. A great dinner for two would be 150-200 Euros. Part of the reason they can do this is the location, which is off the beaten path in Bercy, near the soccer arena. It's a short walk from the Metro station to the restaurant, but it can be a longish Metro or taxi ride depending on your point of origin.

              I have been to this restaurant a number of times and recommended it to many people who are always happy there. While they specialize in food from the southwest part of France which is not known for being light, the menu also includes a number of excellent lighter fish options.

              You will not feel crowded here, so you'll have the privacy at your table that you no doubt want for this special occasion. (Take a look at the photos on the website to check out the atmosphere.) I am positive that if you tell the restaurant at the time you book that you are planning to propose during this meal, they will do something special for you. The owner/host is a lovely man who personally tends to his guests. Based on my prior experiences there, I expect they will give you champagne or something else festive.

              I have to mention that if you don't want dessert, you can have a flight of Armagnac, and they bring you a plate of mignardises anyhow (chocolates and sugared almonds).

              15, place Lachambeaudie, 12th arrondissement

              10 Replies
              1. re: purplescout

                Thanks ever so much everybody so far.

                Just a point of clarification, I intend to propose on one oft he bridges over the river (or anywhere else where it feels the time is right). The restaurant situation I am agonising over is simply where to eat afterward...

                I have just booked up for Laperouse, and managed to get one of the private dining rooms! :) I think its the best combination of value, uniqueness and good food.

                My plan now is to go somewhere really ace for lunch:

                Tallivent, laserre seem good value - where else?

                1. re: PaulMichel

                  I hope you have at least as nice a time at Laperouse as my friends did!

                  souphie's posts have convinced me to try for Les Elysees du Vernet for a lunch the next time I am in Paris. Here are a couple of threads to check out:

                  1. re: souvenir

                    I need some quick clarification. Here is the menu:


                    I am confused as to how it is priced, does this mean that it is 120 euro a head, whatever the combination of food you have?

                    I am really worried that the cost of 120 euro is just for the room! Please help, as I may need to quickly cancel it...

                    1. re: PaulMichel

                      As I read it, you are paying 15E more per person for the prix-fixe meal when you dine in a private room. Seems reasonable to me.

                      1. re: Oakglen

                        I also cannot work out if there is a dress code, or cancellation charge. As I am thinking about moving somewhere a little cheaper - it seems expensive to me given that I don't exactl want all those courses and could simply eat less at somewhere like Lasserre

                        1. re: PaulMichel

                          I am a bit confused, you cited the dinner price for Laperouse; their lunch menu is much cheaper. The prix-fixe price for Lassere is only for lunch; dinner would much more expensive. Of course the food would also be much better, IMO. I suggest a coat and tie at either place.

                          1. re: Oakglen

                            I've canceled. I am a student and thus do not have the cash flow for the place.. I think I might have found a little gem here, though, where I have now booked up for:

                            La Méditerranée
                            With a splendid terrace looking onto the Theatre de l'Odéon, and chef Denis Rippa from L'Ambroisie, this fish restaurant has what it needs to become a Parisian great. (according to the Guardian).


                            1. re: PaulMichel

                              It has been a while since I was at Mediterranee but I did like it quite a bit. The dining room is quite nice, original paintings by Jean Cocteau, among others, on display.

                              1. re: PaulMichel

                                La Mediteranee is very nice. We stay right next to the theatre and pass it all the time. I once ate there years ago, and it doesn't seem to have changed one bit. I'll try to attach a photo I took about a month ago while we were there, and you can see the courtyard of the theatre. Bon chance!

                          2. re: Oakglen

                            That is the way I read it too. I don't remember being told about a fee when I made the reservation 5 years ago, nor the friends mentioning it afterwards. Given the additional service involved, It also doesn't surprise me that there is now some surcharge for it. It sounds like they are making sure people who reserve the rooms commit to a full meal.

                            Looking through the rest of the menu- they have the same footnote for their tasting menu (menu degustation): 105E per person in dining room; 145E with wine pairing; 120E per person in private rooms and 160E with wine pairing.

                            You can always call them to completely assure yourself.

                  2. You could stick with tradition at go to the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower. The Jules Vernes is in the very expensive category but the other restaurant - Altitude 95 is much more reasonable. OR you could do the Bateaux Mouches dinner cruise. That is very romantic.

                    IMO the bridges, while beautiful, are not all that romantic---too many cars and tourists. The Pont des Arts is the only one that might work. It is traffic free, but plenty of foot traffic. A better spot is the very tippy tip of the Ile de la Cite. It is a little park-like area, the Seine flowing around you on both sides, and when I've been there, no one else was around.

                    Pierre Gagnaire and Laserre are both really expensive and will easily set you back 200 per head. There is really no way to economize at those type of places unless you go for lunch.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Brunella

                      The park under the Pont Neuf is a good spot, too. I fondly remember spending the better part of a very romantic evening with a handsome companion and a box of strawberries during my student backpacking days. Ah, memories.

                      1. re: purplescout

                        Good luck tonight, PaulMichel.

                        And keep us informed about the proposal spot and the dinner. :o)